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Michael Collins’ father was 74 when his son was born. Photo by: National Library of Ireland.

Surprising facts about Ireland and the Irish revealed

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Michael Collins’ father was 74 when his son was born. Photo by: National Library of Ireland.

Think you know your Irish history and geography? Think again! here are some fascinating facts and figures.

1.   Irish patriot Michael Collins’ father was 74 when his son was born. Michael Collins senior married a woman 37 years younger than him.

2.  The Shannon is the longest river in both Britain or Ireland.

3. Ireland's longest serving leader Eamon De Valera was born out of wedlock in New York to a Cuban immigrant and an Irish woman, Kate Coll. On De Valera's original birth certificate, his name is given as George De Valero.

4. The entire size of Ireland would fit neatly into Indiana. Both populations are similar at 6 million.

5. There was a pogrom against Jews in 1904 in Limerick. It was instigated by a Redemptorist priest, Father John Creagh. Eighty Jews were driven from their homes.  Later, Dublin elected one of Europe's first Jewish Lord Mayors.

6. Ireland's first president Douglas Hyde was a Protestant, as was President Erskine Childers.

7. Edward Carson, who did more to keep Northern Ireland separate from the Republic than anyone, he was born in Dublin.

8. Ireland once had Europe’s biggest brothel. It was called Monto located in north inner city Dublin and 1,600 hookers plied their trade there in the first part of the century. British troops were a large part of the clientele.

9. Phoenix Park is one of the biggest urban parks in Europe.

10. The Duke of Wellington, Napoleons conqueror at Waterloo, was born in Ireland at the site of the current Merrion Hotel. He is the only Irish-born Prime Minister of Britain.

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