The Snakes of Ireland

worm view of concrete structure
Photo by Chris Carter on

Today, we talk about all of the varieties of snakes that exist in Ireland. There are nearly 3,000 snake species in the world – and NONE are found in Ireland.

This fact is not common knowledge in the United States. Even my partner who is third generation Irish and the only one I know who can eat two cans of raw corned beef hash and feel incredibly sick after, (but be quite delighted and proud of himself for doing so) did not know. Even myself, who is from a devout Roman Catholic family and has an uncle who served many generations in priesthood. A family that is so devout that when my grandmother passed away, there were 16 priests and a bishop at her funeral, with the archbishop having extended a public apology for not being able to attend. Even I, who had been taught about Saint’s Peter, Paul, Patrick, and even one’s that do not begin with the letter “P”- did not know this fact.

It’s not intentional. It’s not our fault as Americans. Just as anyone in their own country would immerse themselves in their nation’s politics and troubles, we in the United States do the same. And like everyone else in the known world, it is often difficult to pay attention to your own agenda, your countries agenda, and then above all else – the snake species agenda.

Now once upon a time on a far away island as green as emeralds, a man in an emerald green robe sat in a tavern having a Guinness. In his hand was a tiny green Shamrock, and as he noted it to have three leaves, he had a moment of spiritual awakening. He pondered again over the three leaves, and said “Alas! My goodness, My Guinness! It’s the Holy Trinity!” He wiped the foam that rested on his mustache and quickly arose to his feet. He realized that in order to achieve greater spiritual enlightenment, he must go to the hill top and fast for 40 days. As the man, Patrick, sat atop his hill dreaming of corned beef hash and cabbage, his old school friend Molly, and what would ever happen if an entire city existed for the Irish in America, (which would possibly be named Boston but is all hypothetical) he noticed a snake lurking about nearby. The snake approached whilst presenting a middle finger to the man, Patrick, and said “Hey Buddy, I’ve got pals, and one day we’re going to get you.” As the snake pulled out his brass knuckles and quick draw blade, Patrick gathered himself together and said, “Oh snap yo! Thou shalt not! And if though whilst then Ye shall be forced to bust a moveth brought forth by the one true God. Would you and your Pagan brother’s be down with that-ith-ist!?” The snake slowly looked Patrick over. He could tell that this man was a true Irishman. He knew he would do-ith as he say-ith. Yet the snake, being Pagan and possibly satanic, with his devil worshiping tattoos and pocket guide to hating God in his right scale, brought forth the challenge. He stuck his tail in his mouth and whistled sharply to his brethren, “Come hither! We must attack this Patrick!” All the snakes came out with their chains, baseball bats, knives, and flags shouting their blasphemies to Patrick. Patrick stood up and said, “Alright then, Ye told-eth Ye would bring-eth the pain and yet thou doest anyway (or something).” And Patrick with one swift raise of the arms, tip of the hat and raise of the eyebrow, lifted all the snakes in the air. He then flung all the snakes into the sea, never to return again. Patrick sat down again on his hilltop, returning to his spiritual journey.

…..And that is why there are no snakes in Ireland………


One could agree with National Geographic and many others in the scientific community and head the truth that snakes most likely never made it to Ireland. When the thaw of the Ice Age came about, the seas were too vast and deep for snakes to migrate through. Furthermore, (having no seamstress to make them Angora wool sweaters) Ireland’s climate was not favorable for colonization.

green snake
Photo by Pixabay on

In fact, not a single fossil ever found in Ireland could be traced back to a single snake species. Not a one, ever.

There are some other lands that snakes do not inhabit as well, such as: Antarctica, New Zealand, Iceland, and Greenland.

Which of the two stories above you choose to believe, is up to you. However the moral of the story is (my fellow American’s in particular, I’m talking to you) there are no snakes in Ireland. And THAT…. is a super cool fact. (Sorry, Harry Potter).




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