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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 9 December 2021

7 ways Ireland punches above its weight

Ah, we’re a grand country all the same.

WHEN PEOPLE THINK of Ireland, what’s the first thing that springs to mind?

The rain? The greenness? The sad, sad songs? Or is it the fact that on the world stage Ireland more than represents for a nation of its size?

From sports to business to the arts, Ireland has been punching above its weight in many areas – here are just seven of them.

1. Conquering Hollywood

PastedImage-78220 Source: Allstar/Lionsgate

Ireland did really well at the 2016 Oscars, with two Irish films nominated for Best Picture as well as Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress. On the night itself, Ben Cleary won Best Live Action Short with his film, Stutterer. Not too shabby for a nation competing with the mighty Hollywood.

2. Experiments to write home about

Source: Giphy

Did you know that Kelvins, the unit of measuring temperature, is named after Lord Kelvin, an Irishman? Or that Ellen Hutchins, Ireland’s first female botanist collected and identified hundreds of specimens of new species and rare plants and has numerous species of plants named after her? From discovering a cure for leprosy (Vincent Barry) to the invention of colour photography (John Joly), it’s safe to say Irish scientists have influenced the world.

3. Trying for all the tries


Irish rugby has definitely had its moment in the sun for quite some time now, but it’s not the only sport that we’re wiping the international floor with. Carl Frampton is the world boxing champion the whole country can get behind, David Harte was recently named World Goalkeeper of the Year for hockey, and Cavan-woman Leona Maguire is the world’s number one amateur golfer.

Go team.

4. Rocking out

Source: Giphy

Alright, so we might wince a little when we see Bono doing something cringey, but credit where credit’s due – U2 are one of the biggest bands in the world. They have sold over 150 million records and are celebrating 40 years this year as one of the biggest band’s in the world. Not an easy thing to achieve in an industry mostly made up of one-hit wonders.

5. Designing with style

Source: infomatique via Flickr/CC

While we’re a small country and don’t have the space for massive skyscrapers like the Empire State Building, it doesn’t mean we’ve been slacking on the impressive buildings front.

From a world-class stadium such as the Aviva stadium to the innovative Central Bank, designed in 1975 by Sam Stephenson in the not very popular but very inventive Brutalist style, it uses a suspended system which supports the floors from a twin services core.

6. A bit of book-learnin’ (and writin’)

Source: Eamonn Farrell//RollingNews.ie

Ireland has not one, but four Nobel Laureates for  Literature – Shaw, Yeats, Beckett, and Heaney. Compare that with a much bigger country like America who have 13 Literature Nobel Laureates, but a population of almost 60 times more.

Seamus Heaney is one of the most well-known poets in the English language and at one time sales of his books in the UK made up two-thirds of the sales of all living poets there, according to the BBC.

7. Education like a boss

study Source: Giphy

In fact, Ireland tops the EU with the percentage of people who go on to third level. Over half (51.1%) of Irish 30-34 year olds have a third level education – the average in Europe is 35.8%. According to education.ie, in 2014 there were 169,254 Irish people in third level education, with 93,023 of those in a university.

Have you any other examples of Ireland punching above its weight? Let us know in the comments below.

Speaking of great Irish achievements, DCU Business School was recently accredited by the AACSB, putting DCU Business School in the top five percent of business schools internationally. If you’re considering changing or furthering your career, head over to DCU Business School and see how you can achieve your ambition.


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