Ireland is west of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales). Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. Ireland is across the Atlantic Ocean from the U. S. (Photos from http://www.worldatlas.com)
It rains a lot in Ireland, making everything very green. It is often called “The Emerald Isle.” Photo by David Holmes: http://www.charm.net
The flag of Ireland is green, white and orange. The green represents Catholics, the orange is for Protestants, and the white symbolizes the hope for peace between the two groups .
The National Holiday is March 17, St. Patrick’s Day , named after the Patron Saint of Ireland. (Photo from:http://www.irishhungermartyrs.org/)
Most people in Ireland speak English, but a few still speak Gaelic. You might hear someone say “Erin go bragh” on St. Patrick’s Day, which is Gaelic for “Ireland forever.” (Sound file from: http://www.irish-sayings.com/)
The harp is a symbol of Ireland. It can be seen on the presidential flag and on the back of the Irish Euro coin. A Euro is worth about $1.32. (Photos from: http://www.eurocoins.co.uk/ireland.html) (Photo from: http://www.publicmuseum.oshkosh.net/Exhibits/Communities/communities.html)
The shamrock is another symbol of Ireland. It is always worn on St. Patrick’s Day.
The Giant’s Causeway is a mass of stone columns that extend from a cliff in Northern Ireland and disappear under the sea towards Scotland. They were formed by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. However, the ancients believed it to be the work of a giant named Fin M’Coul. (Photo from: http://www.geographia.com/northern-ireland/ukiant01.htm)
The Celts, warriors from western Europe, controlled Ireland for 1000 years. Today the term “celtic” is often used to refer to anything traditionally Irish, such as celtic music and celtic dance. Dance, music, holidays, and traditions are all part of a people’s culture.
Celtic music uses traditional instruments such as the fiddle, tin whistle, and bodhran (Irish drum). (Animated photo from: http://www.drumdojo.com/world/ireland/bodhranintro.htm)
Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day ? <ul><ul><li>It’s fun to celebrate holidays from around the world. Even if you’re not Irish, you can enjoy celebrating the holiday by wearing green, which is also a sign of spring. </li></ul></ul>