Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of England. The island of Ireland is composed of two countries: The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ireland’s capital is Dublin.
Celtic tribes first settled on the island in 4th century B.C. Since Ireland has beautiful landscapes, it is called the Emerald Isle. Ireland’s terrain is mainly made up of hills and low mountains. The traditional Irish language, Gaelic, is hardly spoken anymore. The reason for this is, when the British took control of Ireland, they outlawed the speaking of Gaelic. Once these laws where lifted, Gaelic wasn’t spoken as often. One of the places Gaelic is spoken is along the Western seaboard. The traditional Gaelic alphabet has only 18 letters (abcdefghilmnoprstu).
One of the greatest tragedies in Ireland’s history is the potato famine. In 1845, blight infected the potatoes. Poorer people were left with virtually nothing to eat. Some people ate grass or weeds to survive. Many that didn’t starve moved to America or, as they called it, the New World. Today, over 70 million people worldwide claim to have Irish ancestry.
The Irish have much folklore. This includes the Leprechaun, the Blarney stone, and the Shamrock. The Leprechaun is said to be a small old man who leads you, if you caught him, to a pot of gold. The Blarney stone is a stone set in the wall of Castle Blarney. It is said that the stone has magical powers that was a reward to the king for saving a witch from drowning. According to the legend, if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you are granted the ability to speak convincingly. The Shamrock is a four-leaf clover that is supposed to bring good luck.