Just like any other country, Ireland is a place where some laws that it abides by can make strangers lift their eyebrows.  If you intend to travel to this location, we recommend that you read this article as it is packed with examples of insane laws that you should know about.


It is illegal to go to the cinema on Sundays

If you intend to travel to Northern Ireland, you should know that going to cinemas on a Sunday is something that can get you in trouble, as this is against the law. This obsolete law is linked to a religious factor. In fact, Northern Ireland is still a place where religion is highly important, and its laws are defined by this aspect.

The Cinema Order that prohibits one to go to the cinema on Sundays is quite new, as it was emitted in 1991. If you decide to break it, you risk being fined £50.


Insulting someone’s religion

According to the Defamation Act of 2009, if you are an Irish citizen, or if you travel through Ireland, it is forbidden to insult somebody’s religion. This law applies to everybody; still, the most affected people are the journalists, who now have to pay extra attention to how they choose to express certain things.

If you are found guilty of defamation, you can be fined up to 25,000 euros. However, according to the specialists, it is somewhat difficult to be sure just what type of behavior can be considered defamatory from this point of view.


Exporting potatoes and the egg checkup

If you are thinking about starting up a new business in Northern Ireland, we recommend that you stay away from anything that has to do with exporting potatoes, as it is considered illegal to export vegetables of this kind from this place.

The piece of legislation that forbids it is The Marketing of Potatoes Act, emitted in 1964. Therefore, if you buy potatoes in Ireland, make sure that you eat them while being there and not on your way to a new traveling destination!

Also, according to The Marketing of Eggs Act from 1957, any officer of the Ministry is authorized by the institution to examine eggs that are in transit. In other words, when returning from shopping, you could be stopped on the street and asked to present your eggs for one to examine them.

All Leprechauns have to be invited to dinner

One of the most famous laws in Ireland is the one that states that, if a Leprechaun knocks at your door, you have to let him in and give it part of your food. Still, you should not worry about having to share your dinner any time soon, as it is rather uncommon for this to happen.

However, if this happens to you, we’ve heard that Leprechauns love to be served an organic energy drink!


Suicide punished by hanging

Another bizarre law that can make you question the way the Irish choose to deal with certain acts is that that, suicide was penalized by hanging. In other words, if, up until 1964, you were caught trying to take your own life you were punished by hanging. Still, as we have said, this absurd law was eventually abolished in 1964.



Up until 2006, all people caught trying to use sorcery, enchantments of any type or knowledge that was linked to the occult arts was liable of spending a year in prison. Hence, it is safe to say that all those that were into alchemy were standing on shaky grounds.

However, since the law was invalidated, it is safe to say that you can now practice magic freely in Ireland, without fearing that you’ll end up locked up for the rest of your trip here.


Fear of the bubonic plague

In the 17th century, when the bubonic plague was at its peak, the Irish government passed a law that regulated that, during the first Wednesday of every month, all Irish citizens had to fast and to show penance for the alleviation of the bubonic plague. Although the bubonic plague was no longer an issue, the law stayed in place until 2015.


Adulteration of Coffee Act 1718

Although this act has been repelled by the Statute Law Revision Act from 1958, it is still quite interesting. According to the Irish government, you could be fined 20 pounds if you sold coffee that was mixed with butter, water or grease.

Also, this piece of legislation made it illegal for one to adulterate coffee with sheep dung or to debase it for profit. So, if you are living in Ireland and you are a coffee lover, you can thank god that times have changed!

The Tippling Act 1735

The repealing of The Tippling Act from 1735 might not be something that you’ll be pleased with. This law was well-known and appreciated by many because it prohibited sellers from pursuing customers for money owed for drinks.

However, once the landlords realized that this law gave peasants a license to drink freely without having to pay, the piece of legislation was, as expected, repealed.


Bear hugging

Hold your hunting boots, as you won’t believe what this next law is all about! Up until the 19th century, it was common for Irish citizens to pay money to see people doing various stunts such as hugging a bear and wrestling a tiger. Talk about dangerous entertainment!

However, because these events gathered quite a crowd, and because they were quite dangerous, the Irish government has emitted the Dangerous Performance Act of 1897. The purpose of the law was to keep its citizens safe, especially after a couple of bloody incidents where the enraged wild animals attacked the crowd of spectators and took their lives.  However, given the absurdity of the whole situation, it makes one wonder about the primitive forms of entertainment that some people found thrilling in the absence of today’s TV and the Internet.