Come with us as we take a virtual trip around Ireland, and give you some tips on places you might like to visit and places you should definitely not miss if you’re lucky enough to go to this beautiful country.
Email from Josep from Barcelona
Hi Reza and Craig!
I started listening to your podcast in the summer, and I’m enjoying it because it is easy to understand and you’re so funny! A couple of days ago I became Patreon to help us and to do my one’s bit (In Spanish, it is ”poner mi granito de arena’‘, I don’t know if it is correct).
Finally, I wanted to ask you for a new topic for your podcast. It is about Ireland. Me and my partner are going to Ireland next year (I hope in February) if coronavirus allows us. The aim is to take our English to the next level (we are B1-B2 now), live abroad, work in another country, etc. We’ve finished our degree now and it is the perfect moment in our lives to do this. So, I know that Reza is from Northern Ireland so I think you could do a Podcast talking about Ireland (Places we must go, a little bit of Irish slang, customs, etc.)
Voice message from Alberto from Australia
What did we do on St. Patrick’s Day?
How do Irish people celebrate the day?
What’s the most traditional meal? (American Irish eat corned beef and cabbage)
When did the Irish start to celebrate it? (Boston held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737, followed by New York City in 1762.)
Ireland = Éire = Erin = The Emerald Isle
Politically it was divided into two parts in 1921: the Irish Free State, later renamed the Republic of Ireland (southern Ireland), and Northern Ireland. The Republic, as the name suggests, is independent of the United Kingdom and has an almost exclusively Catholic population, whereas Northern Ireland, with a slight majority of Protestants compared to Catholics, remains part of the UK. Up to the partition, it had been one country under English then British rule for centuries. But long before the English first arrived it was a purely Celtic country with an ancient system of clans, something similar to Scotland.
It’s on the western fringe of northern Europe. So, if you were to travel due west from Ireland, you’d cross the Atlantic before coming to the first piece of land – Canada. Due north there’s open sea up to the North Pole, south more open sea until you reach the north coast of Spain, and east is the smaller Irish Sea separating Ireland from Britain.
There’s a good reason why it’s known as “the emerald isle” – it is very, very green. Hardly surprising since it seems to rain every other day of the week all year round!
There aren’t many high mountains, but the countryside is really hilly.
The main industries are agriculture & fishing, tourism and computer software & hardware development.
Google, Microsoft, Apple, Dell and Facebook, among other tech giants, have their European headquarters in Ireland.
As well as English, Irish (Gaelic) is also an official language in Ireland. Indeed, it was still the main language until about 1800. However, these days virtually nobody speaks it as a first language, though it serves as a second language for some. The Irish word for Dublin is Baile Átha Cliath!
The Blarney Stone, Co. Cork
According to the old Irish legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the ‘gift of the gab’. Blarney Castle, about five miles outside Cork City. The stone was put into the tower at the castle in 1446.
If you’re a hiker, go to Carrauntoohil, Co. Kerry
Carrauntoohil is the highest peak in Ireland (1,038 metres). The scenery in the area is breathtaking.
Guinness Storehouse, Co. Dublin
Guinness is one of the most famous beer brands worldwide and, undoubtedly, Ireland’s most famous export. Curiously, however, the country where most Guinness is drunk in the world is the UK, followed by Nigeria. Ireland comes third.
The Guinness Storehouse is Ireland’s most-visited tourist destination annually. You can learn to pour the perfect pint and taste a few as well!
The Book of Kells, Trinity College, Dublin
An ancient and carefully preserved manuscript created around 800 AD by monks. Now held in the beautiful Long Room library of Ireland’s most famous university.
If you’re staying in Dublin and your hangover’s not too bad, you could do a day trip to
Glendalough, Co. Wicklow to the Wicklow Mountains.
The lake of Glendalough is one of Ireland’s most beautiful lakes! The area is home to monasteries dating back to the 6th century.
Slieve League Cliffs, Co. Donegal
609m high, making them some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. (Slieve is Irish for mountain or mount)
Titanic Belfast is the definitive visitor centre, if you want to know all about the ill-fated liner RMS Titanic, which was built in the shipyard in Belfast. The city is proud of its long history of shipbuilding, sadly gone now, which made it the natural choice to build the Titanic as a state-of-the-art shipbuilder with a huge capacity in its day.
Things to do in Belfast: https://www.inglespodcast.com/281
The Giant’s Causeway
A unique geological formation of mainly hexagonal columns, set on the scenic north coast. It’s said to have been built by a Celtic giant, according to legend.
Dingle, Co. Kerry
On Ireland’s southwest Atlantic coast, you will find a beautiful area of beautiful sandy beaches, jagged cliffs, and beautiful green hills.
This area is called the Dingle Peninsula, and it is one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland.
The Ring of Kerry, Co. Kerry
If you’re touring in a hire car, don’t miss the 179 km drive through seaside villages and the rugged coastline.
The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare
These cliffs are Ireland’s most-visited natural attraction.
Standing at an impressive 214 metres at their highest point, they stretch for 8 kilometres along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland.
On a clear day, from these impressive cliffs, you can see as far as the Aran Islands and Galway Bay.
It is one of the best things to do in Ireland if you enjoy scenic walks and incredible natural beauty!
When visiting Ireland
Expect to be offered lots of tea. The Irish actually drink more tea per head than the English.
Buy rounds in pubs
Expect to be asked lots of questions – the Irish are very friendly
Be prepared for rain
You can tip in restaurants, bar staff do not expect a tip
Practice your weather vocabulary, The Irish like to talk about the weather
Expect to have good craic – fun, entertainment.
Some famous Irish people
James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Becket, WB Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Bram Stoker, and many other writers and poets.
U2, Van Morrison, Thin Lizzy, Sinéad O’Connor, Enya, The Corrs, Snow Patrol, Rory Gallagher, Daniel O’Donnell, Gary Moore, Bob Geldof, The Pogues, Stiff Little Fingers (one of Reza’s adolescent favourites), Westlife, The Divine Comedy, and many more musicians
Liam Neeson, Kenneth Branagh, Richard Harris, Colin Farrell, Maureen O’Hara, Pierce Brosnan, Brendan Gleeson, Saoirse Ronan, Gabriel Byrne, Peter O’Toole, Michael Fassbender, Stephen Rea, Com Meaney, and others.
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English.
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Jorge Prado de la Cruz
On next week’s episode: Episode 400! The podcast – past, present and future
The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’