10 surprising facts about Ireland
Bet you never heard these before!
In 1981, shortly after the death of IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands, the Iranian government changed the name of the street where the British Embassy is located from "Churchill Boulevard" (after the British Prime Minister) to "Bobby Sands Street."
5. Up until around the early 1990s, Ireland had a low per capita consumption of alcohol
When the word "Irish" comes up, "drinking" is never far behind. And today, Ireland alcohol's consumption is very high by international standards. A 2006 survey found that the Irish spend a higher proportion of their income on alcohol than anyone else in Europe. It also found that the Irish were the worst binge drinkers in Europe. So the recent evidence supports the old Irish drunkard stereotype.
But Ireland's alcohol consumption per population was moderate for much of the 20th century. There was a high level of alcohol abstinence in the country – something usually more associated with Protestantism – which was promoted by the Catholic Church.
As the Church's moral authority declined, however, and as the country became wealthier, the Irish started to drink a lot more - finally earning themselves that old heavy-drinking stereotype.
6. A Belfast hospital is a world leader in kneecap reconstruction
During the Troubles, the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast had one of the top trauma units in Europe. At one point as many as 100 victims of "limb executions" were being treated by the hospital every year, whose advances included external “limb scaffolding" that enables partial healing for bone damage too severe for reconstruction.