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"Cemetery Sunday" is a lesser-known tradition still practiced around Ireland, although it seems to take place on whatever date is most convenient for local church leaders. A mass is celebrated for families of those buried in the local church graveyard, after which an effort is made over several days to clean up the churchyard. Special attention is traditionally given to the graves of those who have no one left among the living to remember them.

In olden days, a pig was often allowed to live in the house with the family on an Irish farm. He (or she) was commonly referred to as "the gentleman who pays the rent."

A single day of good weather that pops up in a long stretch of bad days is known in Ireland as a "pet day."

IRELAND FACT: CRYING AT FUNERALS..."Keening" is the Irish version of loud crying at wakes practiced in several European cultures (Italy in particular). It involves wailing and expressing endearments in Gaelic to the deceased. At some wakes, the Keening goes on for hours, with many participants.

Famous wit Oscar Wilde was born Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde in Dublin in 1854.

Bram Stoker was working as a civil servant in Dublin when he wrote "Dracula" in 1897.

In 1859, Irish scientist John Tyndall was the first to correctly explain why the sky is blue. The explanation may surprise you. The sun puts out a full spectrum of light colors but your eyes are most sensitive to blue and red/purple colors. Molecules in the air scatter the sun's blue light faster than they scatter its red light. A day-time sky without clouds looks blue because the sun is close to you, and relatively little of the blue light has been scattered. You see red and orange colors at sunset because the light must travel a greater distance to you, and all the blue light has been refracted away from your line of sight by the time the sun's light hits you; not because of dust or other particles in the air as is widely believed.

Dublin was originally called "Dubh Linn," which means "Black Pool." The name refers to an ancient treacle lake in the city, which is now part of a penguin enclosure at the Dublin City Zoo.

A small number of devotees still go to holy wells in Ireland to "pay rounds," by circling a well three times and making a sign of the cross over it with a pebble. All ceremonies at holy wells were once frowned upon by The Church, which saw them as holdovers from Ireland's pagan era.

The Vikings founded Dublin in 988.

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