Ireland is an European country that occupies five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain. The capital is Dublin.
Celtic tribes settled on the island from 600-150 B.C. Invasions by Norsemen began in the late 8th. English invasions began in the 12th century and set off more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by fierce rebellions and harsh repressions.
Ireland attained independence from U.K. in 1921 and joined the European Community in 1973. A peace settlement for Northern Ireland, known as the Good Friday Agreement and approved in 1998, is being implemented with some difficulties.
Total area: 70,280 km². Coastline: 1,448 km.
Administrative divisions: 26 counties; Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow. Note: Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan are part of Ulster Province.
Climate: Temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time.
Terrain: Mostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast. Highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m.
Population: 5,1 million (July 2018 est.).
Religions: Roman Catholic 78.3%, Church of Ireland 2.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Orthodox 1.3%, Muslim 1.3%, other 2.4%, none 9.8%, unspecified 2.6% (2016 est.).
Ethnic groups: Irish 82.2%, Irish travelers 0.7%, other white 9.5%, Asian 2.1%, black 1.4%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2.6% (2016 est.).
Language: English (official, the language generally used), Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (official, spoken by approximately 39.8% of the population as of 2016; mainly spoken in areas along Ireland's western coast known as gaeltachtai, which are officially recognized regions where Irish is the predominant language).
Main source: CIA - The World Factbook.
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, in Ireland. They plunge 700 feet to the sea for five miles.
Grafton Street, in Dublin, Ireland.
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