From ghost pirate romance sagas to singing donkeys, it’s been a weird and wonderful year for Irish news.
Let’s dive right into all the strange and the magic with a look back at our five favorites of 2018.
For this half human, half ghost couple, it was hard to keep the love alive. In January, Irish woman Amanda Teague, who fittingly works as a “Pirates of the Caribbean” Jack Sparrow impersonator, traveled with her wedding party to international waters for a legal ceremony binding her to the 300-year-old ghost of a Haitian pirate Jack Teague, whom she had been dating for a few years. The 45-year-old from County Louth greeted the widespread interest in her otherworldly union with equanimity, openly explaining how they “make it work.”
Meet the Woman Who Married a Ghost Pirate
"There is no more evidence to support god's existence than there is my ghost pirate husband's existence." Forget ghosting, meet the woman who has passed up mortal men to marry an actual 300 year old ghost.Publiée par VICE sur Mercredi 14 février 2018
Sadly, at the start of December, Teague announced that she and her husband had parted ways, sharing on Facebook “So I feel it’s time to let everyone know that my marriage is over,”
“I will explain all in due course but for now all I want to say is be VERY careful when dabbling in spirituality, it’s not something to mess with...”
File this under news we never thought we’d be happy to share: As of May 2018, it finally became legal to sell Kerrygold Butter in the state of Wisconsin. If you're wondering what exactly we're going on about, allow me to refresh you on one of the biggest Irish culinary export stories of 2017: Kerrygold butter was illegal in Wisconsin.
According to a state-wide regulation that dates back to 1970, all butter sold in Wisconsin must bear either a federal or Wisconsin grade mark. Kerrygold, which is processed, packaged and graded in Ireland, did not. While Kerrygold had been sold in the state in the past, authorities began enforcing the law more stringently in recent years, seeing the Irish butter cleared from the supermarket shelves. In early 2017, it emerged that shop owners who broke the law could face $1,000 in fines or up to six months in prison.
There were widespread protests, petitions, and even a lawsuit in Wisconsin. The matter was finally resolved when Kerrygold’s parent company Ornua agreed to comply with Wisconsin's special grading test.
It’s not every day that you stumble upon a donkey singing arias, now is it? Irish man Martin Stanton is lucky to be neighbors with Harriet, a very talented donkey, and generously decided to share the above video with the world. It went viral, with the original video getting nearly 1 million views and Harriet landing some airtime on news stations in Ireland and the US.
Speaking with ABC News Stanton said, “She [Harriet] lives about 20 minutes away from me in Toureen, Connemara.”
“I know the family who own her and I bring carrots, bread, and ginger nut biscuits. She never hew-haws like other donkeys.”
Stanton noted that he originally called Harriet Harrison before realizing the donkey was indeed a female.
“I try to visit whenever I can because she is adorable, so friendly and gentle. I found the video funny so I just posted it. I didn't think it would go viral.”
4) Heatwave exposes Ireland’s ancient history
The heatwave that hit Ireland this summer was unusual enough to begin with, then the ancient monuments started appearing. The series of extraordinary finds started in July when Anthony Murphy, founder of Mythical Ireland, used drones around the Brú na Bóinne area in County Meath and was shocked to see a previously hidden circle henge emerge thanks to the unusually dry weather conditions. The discovery, potentially 4,500 years old, added an additional site of interest to Newgrange, which is already a UNESCO world heritage site.
Next, the Friends of Knock Iveagh community group in Co. Down called for an immediate stop to local construction work as aerial photos taken of the land nearby showed “miracle markings” that could outline a potential Neolithic site buried beneath. “The recent drought has been a rare opportunity to capture glimpses of our past and aerial images only confirm the immense scale and archaeological potential of the entire Knock Iveagh landscape,” Banbridge native and Trinity College Dublin research fellow Dr. Gavin Hughes said.
Then, another amazing archeological find was made in Duleek, Co Meath, where aerial surveys, aided by the dry-weather and drought-like conditions, revealed a Bronze Age barrow cemetery and settlement. The discovery was made by Noel Meehan of Copter View Aerial Productions, who had been conducting surveys of the area over the past two years in the hopes of making a find.
Only in Ireland! The quiet town of Ennis, Co. Clare was taken over by a gang of feral goats “procreating like there’s no tomorrow” and causing chaos for motorists and pedestrians alike, wandering along roads and even into parking lots.
The goat herd, which included two large pucks (male goats) and a half dozen kids (baby goats), was been seen wandering the densely populated and heavily trafficked area of "Rocky Road", Clonroadmore, Kilrush road, Cahercalla and Ballybeg areas of Ennis. Other reports cited a wandering herd of 22 goats.
The council elected to erect signs warning motorists of the goat population in order to reduce the risk of accidents.
What was your favorite weird Irish news story of 2018? Tell us in the comment section or on Facebook.