Ireland is a land of myths and legends and the Irish nation is among the oldest in Europe, dating back millennia. One traditional story has St. Patrick ridding the land of wild snakes, but there have never been any snakes in Ireland. Apart from red deer, squirrels, and badgers, bats make up almost one quarter of all land mammals in Ireland. Perhaps this is where Bram Stoker got some of his inspiration for Dracula! Born in Ireland and raised in Dublin, he had never even been to Eastern Europe in his life. There is a legend of an Irish wizard and chieftain who was said to be a vampire king, so giving him the form of a bat could be how the story was born.
There is so much more to Ireland however, and it boasts a rich heritage dating back centuries. At the Céide Fields, preserved beneath a blanket of peat in present-day County Mayo, is an extensive field system, arguably the oldest in the world. Consisting of small divisions separated by dry-stone walls, the fields were farmed for several centuries between 3,500 and 3,000 BC. The Earls of Rosse were great inventors and in their castle studied things such as photography and engineering. Most famous, however, is the Rosse Telescope, which was built in the 1800s by one of the Earls and held the record for largest telescope in the entire world for the better part of a century.
Nowadays one of Ireland’s great claims to fame is Guinness, and Ireland is ranked 4th in a list of the world’s biggest consumers of beer per person! This popular dry stout is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, and as the original Guinness Brewery in Dublin has a 9,000 year lease on its property, there should be plenty of this famous brew to satisfy its devoted followers.
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