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Ireland: General Info


Republic of Ireland

United Kingdom

Northern Ireland until government disbanded in 1972

For Reference

Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

The Irish people are mainly of Celtic origin, with the country's only significant sized minority having descended from the Anglo-Normans. English is the common language, but Irish (Gaelic) is also an official language and is taught in schools.

The Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 established the Irish Free State of 26 counties within the British Commonwealth and recognized the partition of the island into Ireland and Northern Ireland. The government formally declared Ireland a republic in 1948.

The conflict in Northern Ireland stems from a history of British rule, historical animosity between Catholics and Protestants, and the various armed and political attempts to unite Northern Ireland with the rest of the island. "Nationalist" and "Republican" groups seek a united Ireland, while "Unionists" and "Loyalists" want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. (Source: U.S. State Department)

Map of the Island

Northern Ireland

  • occupies the northwestern corner of the island (about one-sixth of the land) it shares with the independent Republic of Ireland
  • covers about 5,452 square miles and is the smallest country in the United Kingdom
  • contains six of the twenty-nine counties of Ireland
  • reported a population of 1,668,000 in 1998

Republic of Ireland

  • covers about 27, 136 square miles of the island
  • Irish (Gaelic) and English are the official languages
  • is estimated to have a population of 4,722,028, according to the CIA World Factbook

The entire island is bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by the Irish Sea, and on the south by the Celtic Sea. (Source: Countries and Their Cultures)

On the Web

Irish Independent headlines

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Belfast Telegraph headlines

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