With Cheltenham Festival just around the corner, when the British and Irish go head-to-head for the Prestbury Cup, we thought it only fitting to spoil you with some fun facts about Ireland (other than their notable expertise in horse training and breeding).
If that reference went straight over your head, don’t worry, it was news to me too. Cheltenham is famously where Great Britain and Ireland go head-to-head, racing their best mares for the Prestbury Cup.
This got me thinking, what else is Ireland famous for? Here’s my top 5, for anyone moving to Ireland to brush up on…
I’m not sure about you, but one thing I look forward to the most when I visit Ireland is the green spaces. It’s a country of great beauty with rolling hills, verdant countrysides and farmlands.
In fact, it’s so beautiful, Ireland is a popular hotspot for lots of your favourite TV shows and films.
Recent BAFTA winner, The Banshees of Isherin showcases the best of the western coast of Ireland. Game of Thrones was filmed in multiple locations from County Antrim too.
Other projects shot in Ireland include Netflix’ Vikings: Valhalla, Cocaine Bear and Kin.
Sport is hugely popular in Ireland with most young people specialising in at least one sport at school. Popular sports include gaelic football, football, rugby, athletics, golf, hurling and camogie.
Most Irish towns support their local teams in gaelic football, hurling or camogie – the three most popular traditional sports in Ireland. So, if you’re looking for an authentic life in Ireland, join the locals on a Saturday with a walk down to the local club to support your town’s team.
Golf is hugely popular with expats in Ireland, and it’s no wonder why. There are over 300 golf courses across Ireland. That includes the renowned K Club in County Kildate and Strandhill in County Sligo.
Learn more about golfing in Ireland here
Pubs, pubs and more pubs
There’s nowhere more homely than an Irish pub. An Ireland pub always feels like a home away from home to me. That’s due to the friendly locals and welcoming staff. They’re always open to hearing your stories and sharing their own.
Irish pubs are often filled with music, dance and beer, of course. Did you know that Ireland was ranked seventh in the world beer consumption by capita report? That’s quite impressive when you consider its size compared to its competitors.
If you’re curious, Czech Republic took the top spot.
Before Ed Sheeran took to singing about Galway Girls, folk music was what brought tourists to Ireland. Rumours of melodic sound and cheeky chappies brought people from all over to viist the Emerald Isle. Also known as trad, traditional Irish folk music has a sentimental but upbeat style. In A History of Irish Music, by W.H. Grattan Flood, the writer said, “there were at least ten instruments in general use.”
There are many other Celtic traditions, but one of note is Irish dancing. Ceili, pronounced kay-lee, is a traditional dance form performed to Irish music. It often consists of quadrilles, jigs and reels. It’s now a famous style of dancing all over the world and people travel from all over Ireland every year to compete in the All-Ireland Irish Dance Competition.
If you’re moving to Ireland or are part Irish, you’re expected to have an opinion on Guinness. And I’ll tell you one thing from experience – it tastes A LOT better in Ireland.
Guinness’ Storehouse in Dublin is where you can experience the making and history of Ireland’s most iconic beer. It’s where Guinness was made, stored, fermented and brewed. Plus, you get to taste a fresh pint on the tour – definitely one for you viewing trip?
Speaking of Guinness, it’s a drink that’s readily available in most, if not all, Irish establishments. There is a similar brand called McCaffrey’s that, in my humble opinion, is just as good. But there are some strong opinions on this, so I tend to keep that to myself.
If Guinness isn’t your cup of tea, there’s a lot of Irish whiskey to be enjoyed. It’s a bit of a stereotype that the Irish like to eat, drink and be merry, but the island does have a large following of serious whiskey connoisseurs.