Ireland, officially known as the Republic of Ireland, is an island country that lies off the eastern coast of Great Britain separated by the Irish Sea. It is also bordered by the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint George’s Channel to the south east and the Atlantic Ocean. Ireland has had a tumultuous history and has been the subject of internal conflict and tension for many years. Ireland is divided politically into two countries, with the North-eastern section of the island (Northern Ireland) being part of the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland occupies approximate fifth sixths of the total land mass of the island of Ireland with an area of 70,273 km2 (27,133 sq mi). The Republic of Ireland is home to 4,588,252 people with 527,612 living in the capital city of Dublin.
Interesting facts about Ireland
- The official languages of Ireland are Irish and English.
- The anthem of Ireland is “Amhrán na bhFiann” or “The Soldier’s Song”
- The Irish Flag is broken up into thirds and consist of three horizontal bars of color. The left bar is green, the middle bar is white and the right bar is orange. The green represents the catholic majority, the orange represents the Protestants and the white represents peace and harmony between them.
- The Republic of Ireland is a sovereign state that is governed as a constitutional republic. The head of state holds the title of President.
- Ireland is known as the emerald isle because of its vast plains of lush greenery.
- Ireland gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1922 and was declared a republic in 1949.
- For most of the 20th Century the Republic of Ireland had no formal relations with Northern Ireland and it is only recently that the two have begun to cooperate on various policies.
- Despite some recent trouble, Ireland is recognized as one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It was once one of the poorest with many people living below the poverty line.
- Ireland is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The official currency of the country is the Euro.
- The Highest point in Ireland is Carrauntoohil which is 1,038 m (3,406 ft) above sea level and is located in the southwest in the in the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range.
- The River Shannon which is a very famous Irish River is the longest river in Ireland travelling 386km across the central lowlands.
- 64% of the land in Ireland is used for agriculture and approximately 10% is forested with coniferous plantations.
- Ireland experiences a temperate oceanic climate which results in mild weather most of the year. Temperatures do not often drop below ?5 °C (23 °F) in winter or climb higher than 26 °C (79 °F). The highest temperature recorded in 2011 was 32.3 °C (90.1 °F) at Elfin in the north of the country. The lowest temperature recorded for 2011 was ?5.6 °C (21.9 °F) at Casement Aerodrome on the east coast of Ireland.
- The far north and far west regions of Ireland are two of the windiest areas in all of Europe.
- The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia which means piggery between two briny places. It is located in Camus Bay on the western side of Ireland.
- Some famous musical artists that originated in Ireland include U2, Boyzone, and Westlife.
- To achieve your leaving school certificate in Ireland you must study Irish.
- Ireland has the highest birth rate in Europe with 16.8 births per 1,000 inhabitants.
- The majority of people in Ireland are Roman Catholic with 84.2% identifying with this religion, 6.2% have no religious affiliations, 4.6% identifying as Christians and 3.9% following other religions.
- Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the 17th March and is recognized as the Irish National day.
- Irish music and dance is well recognized the world over and has influenced many musical styles. Step dancing as seen in productions such as “Riverdance” is now being taught throughout the world as “Irish dancing.”
- Brambrack, bread with sultanas and raisins, and Guinness beer are well known as Irish cuisine. The Irish are also well known for potatoes due to the potato famine that affected the country so badly.
- The original Guinness Brewery in Dublin has a 9,000 year lease on it with an annual rent of 45 Irish pounds per year.
- Gaelic Football and Hurling are the traditional sports of Ireland, but the Irish also enjoy playing and watching: soccer, rugby union, rugby league, cricket and golf. Australian Rules football is also played in Ireland and the country has a number of players that play in the Australian Football League, which is the highest professional league.
- Ireland was the first country in the world to adopt an environmental levy for plastic shopping bags. They were also the first to ban public smoking in 2004.
- Ireland was also the first European country to ban incandescent light bulbs in 2008 and advertising by tobacco companies in stores.
- In 2011 Ireland was named the most charitable country in Europe and the second most charitable in the world after the United States.