How Much Do You Know About…Ireland?


February 17, 2020

Ireland1. The Republic of Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. True or False?

Answer: False. While Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, or the southern part of the country, is not part of the union. In the early 20th century, there were violent uprisings that lead to independence of the Republic of Ireland, and, for some, all Ireland independence remains a rather touchy subject.

2. Try and guess what these Irish slang words mean:
A. Locked
B. Gaff
C. The Jacks
D. Yoke

  1. Answer: A. Locked, mouldy, ossified, polluted, twisted, and langers all mean drunk.
    B. Gaff means house. The term “free gaff” is often used by teenagers to describe the situation when their parents go away for a night, usually meaning there will be a party.
    C. The Jacks means toilet, most commonly used to refer to public bathrooms. Every Irish person knows what this term means, but few know why they use it. Some believe it to be derived from the Tudor English term ‘jakes’, first used in the 16th century.
    D. Yoke doesn’t have anything to do with eggs. Instead, it’s another way of saying ‘thing’. So if someone in Ireland sees an object they’ve never seen before, they will commonly be heard to ask, “What’s that yoke there?”
  1. The patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, banished snakes from the Island making Ireland a snake-free island. True or False?

Answer: True and False. The truth is that there have never been wild snakes on the island of Ireland—since snakes inhabiting England were never able to make it across the water. In addition, the Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, was not actually from Ireland. Born in Wales around 386 AD, he was captured by the Irish and sold into slavery, working as a shepherd in the West of Ireland. Later in life, he returned to Ireland as a missionary, helping to spread Christianity to Ireland.

4. Which of these people is not Irish?
A. Bram Stoker
B. William Butler Yeats
C. Oscar Wilde
D. Sean Connery
E. Bono

Answer: D. Sean Connery. Actor Sean Connery is from Scotland. Irishman Bram Stoker is the author of the Gothic horror novel Dracula. William Butler Yeats is considered to be the poet of Ireland. Oscar Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. And, Dublin native Paul David Hewson, Bono, is a philanthropist and lead singer of the rock band U2.

5. What is the national symbol of Ireland?
A. Celtic Cross
B. The Shamrock
C. The Harp
D. A Leprechaun

Answer: C. The Harp. While the shamrock is recognized around the world as a symbol of all things Irish, the harp is actually the official National Symbol of Ireland. The real harp on which the symbol is based can be seen in the Trinity College library, which dates back to the 15th century.

6. How many Americans trace their ancestry to Ireland?
A. 25 million
B. 10 million
C. 40 million
D. 18 million

Answer: C. 40 million. Dependent on agriculture, Ireland was long among Europe’s poorest regions, a principal cause of mass migration from Ireland, especially during the famine in the 19th century. Some 40 million Americans trace their ancestry to Ireland as a result of that traumatic exodus, as do millions of others throughout the world. In fact, more Irish live outside of Ireland than in.

Ireland: Four Weddings and Two Funerals begins on Monday, March 23 at 1:30.