Ireland for Kids
Our pages Ireland for Kids provides interesting and fun facts about Ireland, its geography, its landmarks and attractions.
Ross Castle - Green Pastures - Dublin Ha'penny Bridge
Here are some interesting Ireland Facts which were choosen and researched by kids especially for kids.
Ireland is the third largest island of Europe and the second largest island of the British isles - Great Britain is the largest.
Here we will refer to the Republic of Ireland as Ireland, as this is the name also commonly used for the country to the west of the Great Britain and to the south of Northern Ireland.
Ireland Facts for Kids
Ireland for Kids
- Population: about 5.2 million people live in the Republic of Ireland (2021)
- Capital: Dublin with 1.2 million inhabitants
- Name: Ireland (or Éire in Gaelic)
- Nickname: Emerald Isle
- Government: Parliamentary Republic
- Languages: English, Irish Gaelic
- Religion: mainly Christians, 78% are Roman Catholics
- Currency: 1 Euro = 100 cents
- National Anthem: 'Amrán na bhFiann' (The Soldier’s Song)
- National Holiday: 17 March - Saint Patrick's Day
- National Symbol: harp, shamrock (young clover leaf), blue and green (national colours)
- History: Celtic tribes settled on the island of Ireland from 600 BC. Later Normans invaded the island in the 12th century. The big famine (hunger) in Ireland led many people to emigrate. Ireland was neutral in World War II. Independence from the UK was gained in 1921, then the republic became part of the Irish Free State. Since 1949 Republic of Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is part of the EU (European Union).
Irish Landscape in West Cork
Ireland for Kids | Geography
- The Republic of Ireland is a country in Western Europe and located on the island of Ireland.
- The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland that belongs to the UK share the island of Ireland which is situated in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Map of Ireland
- The Republic of Ireland shares a border with Northern Ireland, that belongs to the UK.
- The border between the two countries is about 490 km/ 304 miles long. Take note that Northern Ireland’s land area is about five times smaller than that of the Republic of Ireland.
- Ireland is well known for its green pastures, the many medieval monuments and castles such as Kilkenny Castle, the shamrock, a young clover leaf, which is one of the national symbols and Saint Patrick, the national patron saint.
- Ireland's nickname is 'Emerald Isle' due to the lush vegetation, green pastures and soft rolling hills.
Ireland - 'Emerald Isle'
- Ireland's name 'Éire' comes from the Gaelic language. 'Eriu' is the name of the goddess of the country.
Ireland for Kids | Ireland Facts
- The island is 486 km/ 302 miles long and 275 km/ 171 miles wide.
- Ireland is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia/ USA and slightly bigger than the countries of Georgia or Sri Lanka.
- The landscape is dominated by rolling plains and rugged cliffs on the country’s western coast. The western part of the country has many mountains and poorer soil conditions.
- The climate is temperate but humid, with mild winters and cool summers.
Ireland for Kids | Geography Superlatives
- Ireland's highest mountain is called Carrauntoohill. Ireland's highest peak measures 1,038 m/ 3,407 ft in height. The mountain is located in Country Kerry in southwestern Ireland.
Carrauntoohill is Ireland's highest mountain
- The longest river of Ireland is the Shannon River. It travels across the island over 350 km/ 224 miles. The river runs through Limerick. The river is often quite shallow, but navigable.
- The largest lake in the Republic of Ireland is Lough Corrib which is also the second largest lake of the island and the deepest lake of the island. The island's largest lake is Lough Neagh which is located in Northern Ireland! Lough is the Irish word for 'lake'.
- Achill Island off the country's west coast is the largest of the Irish isles. The first human settlement on this island dates back to 3,000 BC! The island is known for the third highest sea cliffs in Europe and nearby Keem Bay is popular for its beautiful beach.
Ireland for Kids | Landmarks and Attractions in Ireland
- Dublin: Ireland's capital city houses many fine attractions. Among them are the famous Liffey Bridge, also called 'Ha'Penny Bridge' by the locals. This bridge that was built in 1826 and replaced the old ferry. Then when crossing the bridge one had to pay toll - with exactly the same amount as a ferry crossing would have cost! Today one of the most famous bridges of the city is the Samuel Beckett Bridge, which is also referred to as 'Harp Bridge' due to its shape. The harp is one of Ireland's national symbols.
Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin looks like a huge harp
- Trinity College: Ireland's oldest university near Dublin was founded by Queen Elizabeth I and established in 1528. Trinity College is one of the most prestigious university colleges in Europe. The Campanile (or clocktower) in Parliament Square is one of the landmarks of Ireland.
Campanile of Trinity College Dublin
- Limerick: This is an old medieval city at the Shannon River, Ireland's longest river. The city is known for its Georgian architecture. St Mary's Cathedral founded in 1138 is the oldest building of the city. The 800-year-old St John's Castle and the buzzing market life at the Milk Market are among other popular attractions of this city.
Limerick and St Mary's Cathedral
- Cliffs of Moher: The Cliffs of Moher in the west of the country are among the most visited sites in Ireland. The cliffs are about 14 km/ 9miles long. More than 1.5 million people visit this famous landmark of Ireland every year!
Cliffs of Moher
- Newgrange: Part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO world heritage sites, Newgrange is one of three prehistoric sites in Ireland. A neolithic passage tomb from about 3,200 BC was discovered in a huge circular mount. Ancient fossil bones and tools were discovered here. The Newgrange tomb is older than Stonehenge or the Egyptian Pyramids! Many of the stones there show megalithic art.
- Glendalough is known for an early medieval monastery. Glendalough is a glacial valley and the cathedral is one of the famous medieval ruins in the valley. Other monuments in the Lower Glen include the Round Tower and the Gateway.
Ireland for Kids | Irish People
Dublin was settled by various ethnic groups already over 9,000 years ago. Among the earliest settlers in Ireland were the Corcu Loígde, Dál Riada and Iverni people. Later Vikings, Normans, Welsh and Flemish groups settled in the region.
Today Ireland is a multicultural country, however, the vast majority of the people are Irish (82%). About 40% of the Irish speak Gaelic and 78% of the people in the republic are Roman Catholics.
Ireland is known for its Irish Celtic music and Irish dance. Famous dance companies such as 'Riverdance' or 'Lord of the Dance' tour the world and fascinate people everywhere with their Irish dance programmes.
Irish dance performed by children - image by Konmac
Most of the people live in the eastern part of the country, mainly around the capital city Dublin. About 40% of the population in the Republic of Ireland live in and around Dublin.
The biggest cities of Ireland are Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. Dublin is the only city with more than one million inhabitants.
Ireland Facts for Kids | Economy
- Natural resources in Ireland include natural gas, copper, zinc, peat (also called turf) and limestone.
- Most of the land is used for agriculture (66%), mainly for growing potatoes, wheat and barley.
Ireland's green and lush pastures
- About 10% of the country are covered by forests.
- The main trade partners of Ireland are the UK and the USA, Belgium and Germany.
- Ireland is located on the major air and sea routes between Europe and North America. The main sea ports in the Republic of Ireland are Dublin and Cork.
Ireland for Kids | Irish Food
Ireland's cuisine is known for quite hearty dishes which often contain root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots or grains such as barley and wheat.
Fish including salmon is caught in Ireland's longest river Shannon while oysters can be found along the country's West Coast, especially around Galway. The most commonly eaten meats include pork, beef and lamb.
Irish Breakfast: Boxty (Potato fritters) with onions and sour cream
Popular food in Ireland are:
- Boxty: These potato fritters are usually served for breakfast. The fried raw potato cakes are eaten with sour cream and onion pickle
- Bacon and Cabbage: slices of boiled bacon are served with cabbage and potatoes
- Colcannon: This is a traditional Irish dish and simply is made with mashed potatoes that have been mixed with shredded kale. The four main ingredients are: potatoes, butter, milk and kale.
- Irish Stew: the typical Irish stew is mainly made with either lamb or beef meat. Irish stew consists of a thick soup made with onions, carrots and potatoes, fresh herbs and spices.
- Soda bread: The typical Irish bread is prepared with baking soda instead of yeast. The soda bread has a cross cut on top - whether people believe this is to let the devil or the fairies out, it is helping the dough to rise during the baking process.
- Barmbrack: Traditional Irish bread or cake made with yeast and filled with raisins and sultanas.
Typical Irish Food Shared on Halloween
Barmbrack is usually shared at Halloween. The bread or cake will then contain a ring, a coin and a piece of cloth, these three items will symbolise love, wealth and bad luck.
Ireland for Kids | Animals
In the coastal waters around Ireland, there are bottlenose dolphins, orca whales and sea turtles, even giant squid have been spotted.
On land, there are only 26 species of mammals native to the island. Red foxes, hedgehogs, badgers and otters can be encountered, whereas the Irish hare or the red deer are more elusive and mainly encountered in nature reserves.
The black cow is a native Kerry cow
There are about 80,000 farms in Ireland. Many farmers raise cattle or sheep. About seven million cattle are raised in Ireland. The most famous dairy cattle is the Kerry cattle which is native to Ireland. County Kerry is famous for its superior butter and milk as dairy cattle here graze on lush pastures. You probably have seen 'Kerrygold' butter in the shops, now you know where this butter comes from!
There are about four million sheep in Ireland, although there is an old saying that there are more sheep in Ireland than people.
Sheep in Ireland
There are more than 400 species of birds in Ireland. Robins, blackbirds and wrens are amongst the most common birds. Robins are known for their red breast feathers.
Ireland for Kids | Useful Resources
For this Ireland for Kids page we used the following resources:
- Central Statistics Office. "Population and Migration Estimates." CSO Irland. Last accessed 23 June 2021
- UNESCO. "Brú na Boínne - Gallery." WorldHeritageSites. Last accessed 21 June 2021
- Central Intelligence Agency. "Ireland". CIA World Fact Book. Last updated 8 June 2021. Last accessed 23 June 2021
- Tourism Ireland. "Flavours of Ireland." Ireland.com. Last accessed 23 June 2021
- Official Ireland Tourism. "Island of Ireland - 2018". TourismIreland. Last accessed 30 July 2019. Last accessed 23 June 2021
Image Credits on Ireland for Kids page: Shutterstock.com and wikipedia commons
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