- Bilingual society 5. The meaning of colours
- The creator of the famous building 6. Was it a real story?
- The dominant colour of the island 7. In the heart of Dublin
- The origin of the international word 8. Two things associated with the country
A. One of the informal names of Ireland is ‘the Emerald Isle’. This is because of its lush greenery and rolling hills. The country receives a lot of rain each year, which keeps the grass green and the plants blooming. Experts argue that the flora of Ireland demonstrates more than forty shades of green. The famous country singer Johnny Cash even wrote a song about it ‘40 Shades of Green’.
B. The most famous symbol of Ireland is undoubtedly the shamrock clover. However, the official emblem of the country is the Celtic harp. Ireland is the only country in the world to have a musical instrument as its national symbol. The harp has become Ireland’s national symbol not because it was created there but due to the collection of the oldest harps in the world which now can be seen in the museum at Trinity College in Dublin.
C. The national flag of the Republic of Ireland is a tricolour of green, white and orange vertical stripes. The flag was designed to reflect the country’s political situation. Created in 1848, the orange stripe represents Irish Protestants. Green is for Irish Catholics and white is for the hope that peace might eventually be reached between them.
D. According to the Constitution, Irish (Gaelic) is a national language of the Republic of Ireland. It used to be the primary language that was used on the island. Though at school children are still taught Irish, the language is losing its importance. Nowadays, most people speak English which is the second official language of the country. At the same time, many families who have lived in Ireland for generations understand and speak Irish.
E. The story about the world-famous vampire Count Dracula was written in 1897 by Bram Stoker, from Dublin. Count Dracula started the period of 20 years of vampire stories in Victorian literature. People believe that the author gathered inspiration from real life events of a Romanian ruler, called Vlad the Impaler. But Vlad the Impaler lived almost 400 years before Bram Stoker, so nobody actually knows whether it is true or not.
F. The White House, the official residence of the US President, was designed by an Irishman. James Hoban was born in Ireland and studied architecture in his homeland. In 1792, James Hoban won the competition for the construction of the President’s house in America. He spent nine years supervising the building process. When in 1814 The White House was destroyed, James Hoban had to redesign the building.
G. The widely used word ‘boycott’ originated in Ireland. In 1880, a campaign of isolation against Charles Boycott, a land agent, was started. He threw out the farmers from his land when they complained that the rents were too high. After that, the local shops refused to serve him, his servants left and the boy who delivered his mail disappeared too. The surname of the land agent became a word which means silently ignoring. The word was adopted in English, French, Dutch, German, Russian etc.