Top ten things you didn't know about Ireland - interesting facts on sport, history, and more
Surprising facts and misperceptions about U2, drinking and heroic Irishmen
1. Technically, it is an offense to be drunk in public in Ireland
Regulations introduced last year allow the police to issue on-the-spot fines for anyone caught being drunk in a public place in Ireland.
2. An Irishman founded the Argentinean Navy
Irishman William Brown (known in Spanish as “Guillermo Brown”) is one of Argentina’s national heroes. He is commonly known as the “father of the Argentine navy” and was an important leader in the Argentinean struggle for independence from Spain.
Brown’s family left Foxford in Co. Mayo for Philadelphia in 1786 when he was aged 9 and his father died of yellow fever soon after they arrived in the U.S.
He led an adventurous early life: he fought in the Napoleonic wars, was taken prisoner-of-war, escaped to Germany, before somehow ending up in Uruguay, where he became a sea trader. He then founded the Argentinean navy, when it was at war with Spain.
Today there is a statute of Brown in his hometown of Foxford, Co. Mayo, which was unveiled in 2007, the 150th anniversary of his death. in Argentina, there are 1,200 streets, 500 statues, two towns, one city and a few football clubs named after him.
3. Only two members of U2 were born in Ireland
David Howell Evans, more commonly known as The Edge, was born in London, to Welsh parents. Garvin and Gwenda Evans moved to Malahide in Dublin when The Edge was aged 1. Adam Clayton, U2's bassist, was born in Oxfordshire, England. His family moved to Malahide in Dublin when he was 5, and he soon became friends with The Edge.
Only Bono and Larry Mullen Jr. were actually born in Ireland.
4. The British Embassy in Tehran is on a street named after an Irishman
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."
British Embassy Staff were then forced to route everything through a side door in the building to avoid showing their address as The British Embassy, Bobby Sands Street, Tehran.
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.