Throughout the centuries Ireland has produced many great authors, playwrights and poets, Irish Literature has become recognised for its quality all over the world. Among our most famous contributors are James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, W B Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Brendan Behan, and in more recent times Brian Friel, John Banville and Roddy Doyle. Four Irish writers received the Nobel Prize for Literature in the 20th century.
There is a rich tradition of music in Ireland, both traditional and current. Comhaltas Ceoltori Eireann [Fellowship of Irish musicians] has done much to preserve and promote traditional Irish music, both at home and abroad, the Chieftans, one of our best know traditional groups have done much to bring this heritage to international audiences.
Today the likes of U2, Van Morrision, Sinead O Connor, and Westlife, very much keep Ireland on the musical map. Riverdance, which has become an international phenomenon, played a major role in ‘exporting’ the rich culture of traditional Irish music song and dance to a world-wide audience.
The President is elected by direct vote of the people for a term of 7 years. While the President does not have any executive powers, the role is more than a ceremonial one. The President has certain powers which essentially make him or her a guardian of the Constitution. The current President of Ireland is Michael D. Higgins.
St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, celebrated by Irish Communities all over the world.
Ireland’s National Anthem is ”Amhran na bhFiann” [The Soldier’s Song], written in 1907 by Peadar Kearney and Patrick Heeney.
In 1923 the first government of the Irish Free State was led by William T. Cosgrove. Their chief aim was to establish infrastructure and administration for the new state.
It is normal practice for hotels and restaurants to add 10-15% to the bill, especially for large parties. Tipping in pubs is not expected, unless for table service. In the case of taxis the fare is usually rounded up, incorporating a small tip.
There are two currencies, the Euro in the Republic of Ireland and Sterling in Northern Ireland. Foreign exchange bureau are available throughout the country in banks, tourist information offices, airports, some shops and many towns and cities.
The climate in Ireland is mild and temperate. The average temperatures range from 4C in the Winter to 20 C in the Summer months. Ireland has an average monthly rainfall of between 2 and 3 inches, with the daily sunshine averaging from 6 hours in June to 2 hours in December.
The main languages are English and Irish, most signposts in Ireland are bilingual. English is spoken by everyone, while Irish is generally confined to certain regions in the south-west, west, and north-west coastal areas.