1- IRELAND, THE COUNTRY
Ireland was once a single country, but today it is divided into two countries: The Republic of Ireland (in the south) and Northern Ireland (in the north). There were conflicts between the Protestants and the Catholics.
This is the flag of the Republic of Ireland. It is an independent state. The Irish name of that country is EIRE. The capital city of Ireland is Dublin. The majority of the population in the Republic is Catholic.
The flag of the Republic of Ireland has three colours: green represents the Irish Catholics, orange represents the Irish Protestants, white represents the hope for peace between the two communities.
This is the flag of Northern Ireland. It is part of the UK (United Kingdom). The other name of that part is Ulster. The capital city of Ulster is Belfast. The majority of the population in Northern Ireland is Protestant.
In Ireland, the climate is mild : it isn’t very hot and it isn’t very cold. It rains a lot.
2- Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was a religious man. He was born in 385 AD (after Jesus Christ), at the end of the Roman Empire, probably in northern England or in Wales. So he wasn’t Irish. When he was 16, he was captured by Irish pirates. He was sold as a slave to an Irish farmer. Then he was a shepherd and one day he had a vision of God and converted the Irish population to Christianity. He died in 461 AD on March 17th. VOCABULARY : to be sold=être vendu A slave A shepherd
3- THE LEGEND OF THE SNAKES Click here to listen and read
This is a famous Irish legend. Ireland is an island in the Atlantic Ocean. A long time ago there lived a priest in Ireland. His name was Patrick. In Ireland there lived many snakes, too. People were afraid of snakes.
Patrick wanted to help. How could they get rid of the snakes? He took a drum and played it loudly – and all the snakes slid away. Patrick walked all over the island, until the last snake was gone.
The people were very happy. They called Patrick a saint. Today you can’t find any snakes in Ireland.
4- SAINT PATRICK’S DAY
Saint Patrick’s day is a celebration. It is on March 17th. To honour their saint, The Irish people parade in the streets and wear green, the colour of Ireland and also the colour of spring. Spring starts 4 days after Saint Patrick’s Day, on March 21st. The Irish people drink beer, sing and dance. They are very happy on that day.
5- IRISH SYMBOLS
The shamrock is a three-leafed clover that grows in Ireland. The legend: Saint Patrick used the shamrock to symbolize the trinity when he introduced Christianity to Ireland.
Leprechauns are little elfs. They are part of Irish mythology. They are very small old men. They are represented as shoe-makers. They hide treasures of gold. People believe that if you catch a Leprechaun, it will tell you where gold is.
Irish dance Irish music