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Ireland has virtually no coal deposits, even though it's just 60 miles from Wales, one of the world's richest coal fields.

Muhammad Ali has some Irish heritage. His great grandfather was born in Ennis, County Clare, and emigrated to Kentucky in the 1860s. There, he married an African-American woman. A son born to this couple also married and African-American woman, who gave birth to Ali's mother, Odessa Grady. She married a man named Cassius Clay, and the two moved to Louisville, where the future champ was born.

Baileys Irish Cream which was launched in Ireland in the early seventies, is now the most popular liqueur in the world.

Louth is the smallest county in Ireland; Cork is the largest.

About 30% of the people in Australia are of Irish descent.

It's not the custom in Ireland to wear green ties, hats or other green clothes on St Patrick's Day. A sprig of shamrock in the coat lapel is the preferred display.

One old Irish superstition holds that May is an unlucky month to get married in, because of its association with the Virgin Mary. This superstition seems to have lost its power, however, since May is now one of the most popular wedding months for Irish people.

The Irish tricolor flag, created in 1848, was designed to reflect the country's political realities. Orange stands for Irish Protestants, green for Irish Catholics and the white stripe for the hope that peace might eventually be reached between them.

Actor Kenneth Branagh hails from Belfast.

Ireland's highest mountain is Carrantouhill, in County Kerry (3,445 feet).

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