Want to learn about the cutest (and possibly the fluffiest) knight in the world? The Scottish and the Irish are notorious for their crazy hijinks (unsurprisingly, some of them involve alcohol and some of them are just plain bizarre), and we have compiled our ten favorite (kid-friendly!) fun facts about Dublin and Edinburgh. Go on, you know you want to read more about (and see) the king of all king penguins.
10. Edinburgh is home to the world’s first fire brigade. Led by James Braidwood, the world’s first municipal fire service was formed after a series of devastating fires in the Old Town.
9. We can’t talk about Dublin without talking about beer. Specifically, Guinness beer, whose headquarters are in Dublin. Honestly, Guinness might be more famous than leprechauns these days (they do go hand in hand for St. Patrick’s Day, no?), and with good reason. There are 10 million pints of Guinness produced in Dublin every day, which is just…an unfathomable amount of beer.
8. The national animal of Scotland is a unicorn (shhh it’s OK we know they’re not real). Scotland is a country that is famed for its mythical legends, and so if there was one country who could have its national symbol to be a unicorn, we guess it would be Scotland. Just…maybe don’t go hunting for one on the highlands. Maybe try out our Introduction to the Highland Games activity instead.
7. Put on your horned helmets and grab your hammers: Dublin was founded by Vikings in the 9th century, and was originally called the “Norse Kingdom of Dublin”. You can check out our Vikings & Medieval Dublin tour for more fun facts about how Dublin as a city was born!
6. Edinburgh’s landscape was actually formed by glaciers (thanks, Ice Age!). From the famed Castle Rock to the edge of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s landscape was formed thanks to the moving ice sheets.
5. Take your pick between “Dancing queeeen, young and sweeeet, only seventeeeen, oh yeeeeaaaah” and “I’m feeling twenty-twooo” because Dublin has the youngest population in all of Europe, with around 50% of their population being less than 25 years of age.
4. The Royal Mile in Edinburgh actually measures one mile and 107 yards long, which…makes total sense (not).
3. The world-famous Trinity College in Dublin used to be called Trinity College Near Dublin because, well, the city used to be a lot smaller.
2. The Edinburgh Castle was once home to an elephant (a literal bull-in-china-shop metaphor). In 1838, the 78th Highlanders came back to Edinburgh with a (very big) surprise. They had brought an elephant with them as their regimental mascot, who settled into Scottish life…pretty well, we have to say. Apparently, the elephant quickly developed a taste for beer. A true Scot.
1. Want to meet the cutest knight in the world? The world’s only knighted penguin (yes, you read that right) lives in the Edinburgh zoo. His name is Sir Nils Olav III (there have been two Sir Nils Olavs before him) and he was knighted in 2008. He is a King penguin (which is fitting), and his official duties include inspecting the Norwegian Guard on their visits to the city (he is their mascot and Colonel-in-Chief). There are few things more bizarre than seeing a penguin (majestically) waddling his way down a line of guards dressed in full regalia.