Question: Sorry, Switzerland: What country not known for its sweet tooth actually is neck-and-neck for highest chocolate consumption in the world?
A Surprise Sweet Tooth
When the Food From Britain export agency released a report several years ago claiming that Ireland was the country with the highest per capita consumption of chocolate in the world, it set off a furor. Switzerland and Germany have typically duked it out for the distinction of being the planet’s biggest chocolate fiends, and suddenly a country better known for its pints of Guinness and “bangers and mash” was a contender.
The report, published in the Irish Examiner, claimed that residents of the Emerald Isle eat nearly 25 pounds of chocolate a year. Confectionary News countered that Ireland’s consumption is closer to 19 pounds, but even if that’s true, this means that the average Irish person is still eating the equivalent of 3.5 Hershey’s bars every week all year long. And that’s only one of Ireland’s many surprises.
10 Fun Facts about Irish Life & Lore
- Ireland’s Newgrange Passage Tomb is 600 years older than the Pyramids of Giza and 1,000 years older than Stonehenge.
- Ireland’s Tailteaan Games—which included long jump, high jump, running, hurling, spear throwing, boxing, archery, wrestling, swimming, and chariot races—predate the Olympics by 800 years.
- 90% of the Irish identify as Catholic, but only one in three of those who do actually attend church.
- Forget the Irish setter or Irish wolfhound: Cats account for two of every three house pets in Ireland.
- There is one pub per every 100 residents in Dublin- but this doesn’t even earn the nation's capital a spot on the Top Ten list of Ireland’s booziest cities. Licannor, of County Clare, takes the top spot with one bar for every 26 residents.
- Ireland is the only country on earth in which two women successively served as head of state: the first female President, Mary Robinson, was followed by Mary McAleese.
- There are more cell phones than citizens (at a roughly five to four ratio) in Ireland, which boasts the highest cell phone usage of any nation in the western world.
- Ireland refused to honor European Economic Community standards for equal pay of the sexes until 1976, when it created the post of Equal Pay Enforcement Officer—a seemingly noble gesture, until candidates saw different salaries by gender on the application.
- More people in Ireland speak Polish than Gaelic.
- The Irish birthday greeting for children is to hold the child upside-down and bump his or her head on the floor once for each year of life—it’s supposed to be good luck (though it might not feel that way in the moment).
Let the Enchanted Isle surprise and delight you when you join Grand Circle Travel for Ireland in Depth.