Ireland & the Irish

A hodge podge of general information about Ireland and the people who live here, from our history to the names of people and places, what we eat now and ate in the past, how we organise our society (or fail to) and how we think about the place we live and the ways it it changing.

Some of these articles bust common myths about Ireland, others provide a little background to things that are commonly believed but perhaps not quite true. Of course many things have more nuance than can be encompassed in a short article or are subject to controversy and differences of opinion. You are more than welcome to express another view – or to disagree completely – in the comments section!

Hawkins St and the Theatre Royal

If there was ever a place that 'progress' did nothing to improve, it has to be Hawkins St, and in particular the site of the lamented Theatre Royal in …

Tivoli Theatre

At various times housing a political movement, piles of grain, a variety theatre, one of the first cinemas in Dublin and a now defunct newspaper, this …

Clifden: Not changed at all?

At first glance Clifden seems to have changed little since the 1960s, but looks a little closer and there has been a transformation

Copper Mining

Once a flourishing industry copper mining is consigned to history in Ireland now.

Horse Racing at the Curragh

The Curragh, in Co Kildare, might have been designed for racing horses and is the home of the Irish racing world.

Elephants at Dublin Zoo

Being an elephant in Dublin Zoo in the past was not much fun, confined for life to a tiny concrete enclosure, but things have improved considerably.

Dublin’s Trams

Dublin's original tram system ceased to be in 1959 but now trams are again on the streets and are hugely popular with commuters and visitors alike.

Coach Tours

Coach tours around the Ring of Kerry have been an essential part of a visit to Ireland for many years.

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Main St, Belturbet

Irish towns have changed a lot in the last century, but in some ways they've stayed remarkably the same.

The Quays, Waterford

Once busy Irish ports have changed since the days when they were all about trade and transport.

Blossom Gate, Kilmallock

Few Medieval towns in Ireland have retained their surrounding outer walls.

Kissing the Blarney Stone

People flock still to kiss the famous stone and, allegedly, gain the gift of loquaciousness.

Kilkenny Courthouse

Many Irish public building have changed little in outward appearance over the centuries.

Irish Place Names: R-T

You may know the song 'The Valley of Sleivenamon' but what does the name mean? And what about Tobercurry, is it anything to do with spicy food?

Irish Place Names: M-O

If you lived in Moneygall would it mean you'd be rich? Sadly no.

Irish Place Names: K-L

Place names beginning with Kil- are among the most common in Ireland, but it can take a bit of detective work to find out what the Kil means.

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