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Europe

Ireland

A map of IrelandA map of Ireland Ireland is a land of mountains, bogs, pastures and farmland. The island of Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland and the smaller province of Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. Ireland is well known for its lush green landscape; much of the country is made up of gently rolling lowlands, criss-crossed by rivers and lakes. Dotted across both the south and the northwest of the country are a number of mountain ranges, each separated by river valleys or arms of the sea. The western coast in particular is indented with long sea inlets, and there are hundreds of islands lying just offshore. Ireland has a mild, wet climate with warm summers and cool winters. Located on the eastern shores of the North Atlantic, temperatures are kept mild all year round by the North Atlantic Current. 


A map of IrelandA map of Ireland
St Patrick's Day Parade, DublinSt Patrick's Day Parade, Dublin

People

The people are mostly descended from Celtic settlers who arrived from the European mainland around 2500 years ago. Celtic influences have played an important part in Irish culture, especially in music and storytelling. Most people in the Republic of Ireland are Catholic. Every year, festivals and parades are held on 17th March—St Patrick’s Day—to celebrate Irish culture and its history. Ireland’s official language is Irish Gaelic (or simply, Irish). Around 130,000 people speak it as a first language (mostly in western regions), while around 1.7 million Irish people speak or understand it as a second language.

During the Great Famine of 1845–49, Ireland lost around a quarter of its population. Over a million people died of starvation while others emigrated abroad in search of a better life.

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