Most Irish history is presented in high-brow tomes written by earnest historians. Such books overlook light-hearted, lesser-told and entertaining parts of history. While most people know the shamrock is the symbol of Ireland's patron saint, who was a Welshman, most are not aware it is also the name of a bizarre misfiring make of car that became both a Kerry joke and a prized collector's item. Newly independent Ireland had two National Anthems because no one would chose between them, while two of the most famous Irish songs, 'Danny Boy' and 'It's A Long Way To Tipperary', were penned by Englishmen. Clery's Clock became an iconic meeting place after Clery's began paying the train fares of rural types who spent more than a fiver in the store. Ireland's first film censor said: 'I know nothing about film but I know my Bible.' These are just some of the surprising truths revealed in this snapshot of Ireland. Each 'oddment' tells a fascinating, often humorous, story, from the invention of the world's first cheese & onion crisp in a Dublin kitchen, to the knitting pattern on the bainIn jumper, supposedly designed to help identify the bodies of drowned fishermen.
From the high nelly to the old school Catholic catechism, and from Daniel O'Connell's duelling pistol to the abominable musical bus of the 1970s, this is a hugely entertaining ramble through the history of Ireland.