If we look carefully, we can see the effects of history in the culture all around us. Can you think of any historical reasons for the following things that you might notice in Ireland today?
Read through the questions and then click the link below to see some suggested answers.
1. Ireland is an island surrounded by seas full of some of the best fishing in the world… Why don’t the Irish eat a lot of fish?
2. The west of Ireland is famous for its stone walls which are seen as a beautiful part of the countryside… Who built them in the 19th century and why?
3. Over 7 million people visit Ireland every year. In surveys, Ireland often comes in the Top 10 countries in the world for friendliness and being welcoming to strangers… Why are the Irish generally seen as so friendly and welcoming to visitors?
4. There are no snakes in Ireland. Legend says that Saint Patrick forced them to leave… What geological reasons can you think of for Ireland’s lack of snakes?
5. In international football, your country might play against either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. However, in rugby, you would only play against Ireland… Why do you think the island of Ireland has two football teams but only one rugby team?
6. In 1840, the population of the island of Ireland was about 8.5 million. By the end of the 20th century, it had dropped to about 5.5 million. At present, it is rising again to nearly 6.5 million… Why did Ireland’s population fall so much from 1840 to 2000? And why does Ireland have a much higher birthrate than most of the rest of Europe now?
7. Gránuaile (Grace O’Malley) was a pirate queen in the 16th century in the west of Ireland. She was the most famous, powerful leader in the history of the O’Malley clan… What historical/cultural reasons can you think of for why Irish women have traditionally been very independent and had strong roles in society?
8. An Irish passport is ranked in the Top 10 in the world… What reasons can you think of for why an Irish passport is such a good one to have?
9. Lots of American multinational companies have their European base and headquarters in Ireland… Why is Ireland an attractive location for so many American multinational companies?
10. You will sometimes see Irish people on holiday with very red skin from the sun… Why do Irish people sometimes stay out too long in the sun on holiday? How might the Irish weather make people good at living in the moment but bad at planning?
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