5 Fascinating Facts You Might Not Know About Ireland

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, people around the world are celebrating their Irish heritage (or they're pretending to be Irish at the moment).  Rivers are being dyed green, parades are filling city streets, and Irish music and dancing are entertaining the masses.  To help you get in the spirit, I'd like to share some fascinating facts you may not know about Ireland.   


1.  The highest mountain range in Ireland has the coolest name - Macgillycuddy's Reeks!


2.  There are no snakes in Ireland.  Legend has it that St. Patrick drove them out of the country.


3.  Ireland's population before the potato famine of the 1840s was larger than the country's population is today (it was around 8 million back then, and it's around 5 million now).


4.  During the 16th century, a legendary female pirate named Grace O'Malley ran raids off the west coast of Ireland.


5.  My sixth grade students love learning about one of Ireland's most popular sports, Gaelic football.  It is a blend of soccer, basketball, and rugby.  Here's a video that shows you what the game looks like - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEAbWrdB9XU