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factoids:
The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia, in County Galway

An odd Irish birthday tradition is to lift the birthday child upside down and give his head a few gentle bumps on the floor for good luck. The number of bumps should allegedly correspond to the child's age plus one.

So long paddy wacker. Wooden truncheons, which have been carried by Irish police since the 1800s, will finally be phased out this year, and replaced by lightweight retractable batons. The truncheons, with notches, fancy carvings and names cut into them, were often passed down generations of gardai.

The original Guinness Brewery in Dublin has a 9,000 year lease on it's property, at a perpetual rate of 45 Irish pounds per year.

IRELAND FACT: A ROUGH HANGOVER CURE...I'll just take the hangover, thanks: One traditional Irish cure for a hangover was to be buried up to the neck in moist river sand.

The island of Montserrat is sometimes called "The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean," and has a shamrock carved above the door of the governor's home, areas called Cork and Kinsale, and people with names like O'Garra and Riley. This is because the island was originally settled in 1633 by Irish-Catholics, who came from the nearby island of St. Kitts. (After a major volcanic eruption from 1995 - 2003, Montserrat is now partially open to tourism again.)

IRELAND FACTS: HANDMADE GOLF COURSE...County Mayo's Carne Golf Links, which was built between 1987 and 1993, was constructed mainly by farmers using hand spades and rakes. Read "Carne, A Northwestern Gem"

Celtic rock group the Pogues were originally called "Pogue Mahone," which translates into "kiss my a**" in Gaelic.

The "Oscar" statuette handed out at the Academy Awards was designed by Cedric Gibbons, who was born in Dublin in 1823. Gibbons emigrated to the US, and was considered MGM's top set designer from the twenties right on through the fifties, working on over 1,500 films. Besides designing the coveted prize, Mr. Gibbons managed to win a dozen of them himself.

The Irish Academy of Engineers has recommended that a tunnel be built under the sea linking Ireland and Wales. The IAE has offered a futuristic vision of trains running at speeds of 150 mph between Rosslare and Fishguard, Wales. Currently, there is no financial backer for such a project.

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