While the 6 Nations rugby tournament sees some of the world’s top rugby teams compete, we take a moment to look at the countries from whence they hail, and the slightly quirkier facts about them!

               1. Scotland

The national animal of Scotland is a mythical creature, the unicorn. And while heat might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Scotland, Edinburgh was in fact the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade.

              2. Ireland

It was actually in Ireland where the tradition of Halloween originated, and it can be traced back to the Gaelic festival of Samhain. Due to its isolation from the European mainland, Ireland is a snake free island. Or if you believe the story, it’s all thanks to the great St. Patrick.

          3. Italy

Rome had 7 kings before it became a republic and an empire, the first being Romulus. The tricolour style of the Italian flag is thought to have been derived from the French one.

               4. France

Although France has had several kings and queens throughout history, one of them, Louis XIX, was only king of France for 20 minutes. French mythology is full of magical creatures such as fairies, and it is from the French language that the English word for “fairy” is derived.

                5. England

After the Norman Conquest in 1066, French was the official language in England for about 300 years. And although we begrudge tube strikes and rush hour, England at one point was very much ahead of the game, as London is the first city in the world to have had an underground subway system.

             6. Wales

Although Nepal seems an age away from Wales, Mount Everest was named after Welsh geographer and surveyor Sir George Everest from Gwernvale. Like the Scot’s, the Welsh have a mythical creature as their national animal. One legend surrounding the dragon is that it once fought a white dragon who had taken over his town. He beat the white dragon and afterwards, went back to its cave to sleep and never woke again. From then on, it rains on the green plains of Wales in sorrow of the red dragon’s death.