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  • Kristan Higgins

Fun Facts about Ireland

Updated: May 5, 2022

To honor an Irish saying—never let the truth get in the way of a good story—here are a few anecdotes from my befuddled, jet-lagged, Ireland-saturated brain about the past week.

spire of london

The Spire of Dublin is a newer monument, bucking the tradition of statues of Irish heroes. Nicknames for the Spire include Stiffy on the Liffey, Stiletto in the Ghetto, Monument to Nothing, Erection at the Intersection and the biggest waste of $5 dollars in European history. McIrish and I found it to be, well…tall.

highway sign

Street signs in Dublin are optional. When they appear, they’re usually on the building, and at night, no light shines on them, so best of luck getting where you’re going and God bless.

Highway signs are in Irish and English. The Irish comes first. Gaeilge, which is the official term for Irish Gaelic, has many silent letters. I think the Irish did that to confuse the rest of us. “Let’s put in five extra vowels, all silent, and four consonants that sound like V,” I picture them saying. “The English eejits will never figure it out.” ‘Twas true. Sligeach… “Slig…each?” I’d attempt. (It was Sligo, for the love of God!) Cill Chainnigh…“Sill…chain…ig?” (Killkenny) Some navigator I was. Hey! You try reading that at 120 km per hour! My iPhone similarly struggled, and so we ended up in towns we still cannot pronounce.

brown bread

Once, I pictured Irish people eating brown bread for their tea and felt very sorry for them. The tragedy of it, having only bread to eat! Now, I realize Irish brown bread is the best-kept secret in the culinary world, and am devoting my life to perfecting it here in the States. (Picture and my first recipe attempt is from here:

Storytelling is a way of life. From shopkeepers to aunties to restaurant servers, everyone had time to chat, tell you you were grand, make you smile, and say, “Tanks a million,” as you left. “Come back and see us again, won’t you? Elsewise, you’ll break my heart.”

the mckeevers

My beloved mother-in-law, first row, second from the left, and 12 of her 13 siblings.

Thank you, Ireland, and especially McIrish’s family! Go raibh maith agat! I have no idea how to say it, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart. We’ll be back to see you again, and you’ve always got a warm bed and a good cuppa tea waiting for you here.


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