Tourism Ireland’s Media Coverage Materials Helping you to bring a touch of Ireland to your readers on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.
Here you will find all the facts about Ireland and St. Patrick, his life and indeed the legends. Traditional and new Irish recipes to share with your audience.
There are lots of quiz materials and trivia in the "Do you knowyour Irish?" section and an entire section dedicated to the Irish American connection. For radio shows we can even provide an Irish guest for you! Visit the website for more information.
Every year Ireland, with a population of 3.9 million, attracts more than 6 million visitors, more than half coming from Britain. The country’s scenery is, in a word, stunning, its beauty imbued with history and the stuff of legend. Every corner has its myth, every mountain its fantastic story. Even a short journey in Ireland allows you to follow the course of history - from ancient Neolithic dolmens to early Celtic crosses, from medieval monasteries to grand stately homes with manicured gardens. History, myth and legend are interwoven to produce a unique cultural tapestry that is at once Ireland’s past and its present.
Where is it?
If you head northeast from the tip of Manhattan 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean you will end up in Ireland. Ireland is an island on the northwest coast of Europe next to Britain. It is about the size of the State of Maine, 302 miles long and 171 miles wide. Because it is so indented, the Irish coastline is 2,000 miles in length.
Closest to America!
Before the jet age, Ireland was the first stop for planes from the U.S. and Canada. In order to facilitate them, the Irish Government built Shannon International Airport primarily as a re-fueling stop. In order to encourage trade, the world’s first duty free shop, which still flourishes, was established.
Aviation buffs will enjoy a visit to Foynes, near Shannon, the point of arrival and departure of the Clipper Flying Boats which crossed the Atlantic in the 1930’s. An exceptional Aviation Museum occupies the old terminal building. It was in this building that Irish Coffee was born, as a pick-me up for weary travellers.
First Transatlantic Flight
Alcock and Brown touched down near Clifden, County Galway, in June 1919 after a 16-hour flight from Newfoundland, Canada. The site is marked with an imposing monument. Stay at the Alcock and Brown Hotel in Clifden.
Weather or Not
It doesn’t rain all the time in Ireland, despite rumors to the contrary. Ireland has a mild temperate climate with average summer temperatures of 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the warm Gulf Stream, the climate is milder than usual for the latitude, which is the same as Nova Scotia. In fact, palm trees flourish in Ireland; however, the coconut crop is non-existent! There is no rainy season and the average yearly rainfall is 30-60 inches.
At the Botanic Garden in Belfast the Palm House features the finest example of carved glass & ironwork in Europe. Built between 1839 – 1852 it is one of the earliest greenhouses. Don’t miss the tropical ravine filled with exotic plants.
Likewise, the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin, founded in 1795, has an impressive array of Victorian glasshouses with tropical water plants, palms, and orchids. Yes, palms and orchids in Ireland!
The sea, oh the sea!
Surrounded by ocean, Ireland has a strong maritime tradition. Fishing is a major industry and one of the main pastimes. Superb sea, river and lake fishing is available all over Ireland, and the beaches are among the best and cleanest in the world.
Mountains of Mourne
The popular song by Percy French made these mountains in County Down the most famous in Ireland. And other Irish classics include the infamous "Danny Boy", "Rose of Tralee" and "Its a long way to Tipperary".
# Trip Tip
Mark your calendar for the Oul’ Lammas Fair in Ballycastle in August, one of the oldest gatherings where people come to sell their wares, listen to music and socialize.
Popular Irish Performers
Van Morrison’s Roots in Belfast are “very close to my soul” according to the man himself. Many of the lyrics that have made him a legendary singer/songwriter relate to his East Belfast childhood. U2 continues its reign among the top rock groups with its recordings and tours attracting millions of fans around the globe. In a classical vein, Belfast-born James Galway is widely recognized as one of the world’s top flautists, while great tenors include Kilkenny native Dr. Ronan Tynan.
Ireland enjoys an international profile in the field of movies. Hollywood greats like John Ford and John Huston had a natural affinity for Ireland (Huston lived in County Galway). ‘The Quiet Man’ remains one of the most popular films ever made starring John Wayne and Irish born Maureen O’Hara.
Other notable movies shot in Ireland include: Orson Welles’ ‘Othello’; James Mason’s ‘Odd Man Out’; Huston’s ‘Moby Dick’ and David Lean’s ‘Ryan’s Daughter.’
# Trip Tip
Stay at the Clarence Hotel in Dublin, as it is now owned by the famed U2. Other well known Irish musicians and singers include the Cranberries, Enya, The Chieftains, Phil Coulter, James Galway, and more recently – The Corrs.
The current generation of Irish filmmakers is providing movies of the highest quality. When Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan brought home the Oscar for ‘My Left Foot,’ Irish film was launched on an unsuspecting world. This team and writer Terry George have gone on to produce ‘The Crying Game,’ ‘In the Name of the Father,’ ‘Some Mother’s Son,’ ‘The Boxer’ and ‘Michael Collins.’
Other releases with an Irish flavor include the movie version of Brian Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa”, “The Field” which merited Richard Harris an Oscar nomination, “The Matchmaker”, and the hilarious “Waking Ned Devine”. Even Oscar winner “Saving Private Ryan” has an Irish connection. The Normandy landing scenes were shot on the famous beaches of County Wexford.
Hollywood stars from Ireland include Liam Neeson, Peter O’Toole, Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, Brenda Fricker, Gabriel Byrne, the late Richard Harris, Pierce Brosnan and Roma Downey–not forgetting Maureen O’ Hara.
The Irish are passionate about sports, and the visitor will find a very wide variety to choose from, either as a participant or spectator. Horse racing is extremely popular year round. Gaelic Football and Hurling (a fast game played with a ball and sticks) are the national sports, but Soccer, Rugby and Golf all have large followings.
In 2006, the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament between The United States and Europe will be staged in Ireland at the prestigious Kildare Hotel and Country Club with it’s Arnold Palmer designed golf course.