Called the Emerald Isle, Ireland invokes images of green. Here are a bevy of Ireland facts for you to consider while you plan to visit the country in your next vacation and see some of the most visited sites like Bunratty Castle, the Rock of Cashel, the Cliffs of Moher, Holy Cross Abbey and Blarney Castle.
Celtic tribes arrived on the island between 600-150 B.C. Invasions by Norsemen that began in the late 8th century were finally ended when King Brian BORU defeated the Danes in 1014. 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. A failed 1916 Easter Monday Rebellion touched off several years of guerrilla warfare that in 1921 resulted in independence from the UK for 26 southern counties; six northern (Ulster) counties remained part of the United Kingdom.
In 1948 Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth; it joined the European Community in 1973. Irish governments have sought the peaceful unification of Ireland and have cooperated with Britain against terrorist groups. A peace settlement for Northern Ireland, known as the Good Friday Agreement and approved in 1998, is being implemented with some difficulties.
- Ireland is located in Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean.
- The island is divided into two countries: Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
- Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have been in a near state of war for many years, but are attempting peace at this time.
- Ireland is slightly larger than West Virginia.
- Picts and Erainn peoples were the first on the island.
- In the fourth century, Celts from Gaul arrived and dominated the island.
- English is the primary language spoken, although Gaelic is also found in rural areas.
- The climate is moderated by the sea with mild winters, cool summers, consistently humid and is overcast about half the time.
- Ireland’s natural resources include natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, and dolomite.
- Over 40 percent of the population resides within 100 km of Dublin.
- As of 2005, the population was estimated to be 4,015,676 people.
- The religious breakdown of Ireland is Roman Catholic 88.4%, Church of Ireland 3%, other Christian 1.6%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2% and none 3.5%.
- The literacy rate in Ireland is 98 percent.
- The political system is a parliamentary democracy.
- The flag of Ireland has three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and orange.
- Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging a robust 7% in 1995-2004.
- In 1990, Mary Robinson was elected the first female President of the Republic of Ireland.
- In 1973, Ireland joined the European Economic Community which later became the European Union.
- Per capita GDP is 10% above that of the four big European economies and the second highest in the EU behind Luxembourg
- Ireland has seen a major movement towards peace and prosperity in the last ten years. Conflicts on the island have moved to primarily the political area while the economy has grown robustly. As these Ireland facts show, the Emerald Isle is indeed becoming worthy of its name.