Overview website for Ireland
Overview. If you haven’t yet heard that Ireland is the land of shamrocks, shillelaghs, and 40 shades of green, you should probably purchase a television, a copy …
Overview : Ireland emerged from the conflict that marked its birth as an independent state to become one of Europe’s economic …
Concise information about Ireland and its people, including figures for area, population, main languages, religions, exports, and more.
Overview. If you’re planning to move to Ireland, this site will save you time, money and hassles. It is not, however, an exhaustive guide to all aspects of Irish life.
Overview. Ireland, also called the Republic of Ireland, has a population of almost 4.5 million. The country occupies 26 of the 32 counties that constitute the island …
If you haven’t yet heard that Ireland is the land of shamrocks, shillelaghs, and 40 shades of green, you should probably purchase a television, a copy of Darby O’Gill and the Little People, or a guide to Western culture since 1855. Surprisingly prominent in the international imagination for an island of six million people, Ireland is a place that the rest of the world feels it understands very well, and the Irish themselves find much more complex. Their native country was originally chopped up into several dozen regional kingships, and today it’s still split between two different countries, two different religions, and 11 different Wikipedia disambiguations. (Eight-seven percent of native Irish find that last division to be the most contentious.)
OK, we made that last statistic up. It’s still no wonder, though, that Ireland and “Irishness” can be difficult to categorize. Its two capitals—Belfast in the North, and Dublin in the Republic—are at once the least and most “Irish” cities on the island. Belfast, home to the island’s largest Orangemen parade and some its strongest pro-British sympathies, is Ireland’s second-largest city and the one-time centerpiece of the iconic, tragic Troubles. Dublin, capital of the Republic and site of the Easter Rising, is increasingly urban and international, making it feel more like modern London than magical Glocca Morra. However, these cities’ entanglement with issues of national identity, history, and globalization is a lot more Irish than that Claddagh ring your friend paid €50 for. Like pouring a perfect stout, dancing with Michael Flatley, or spelling a one-syllable word in Gaelic, visiting Ireland should be a wonderfully complicated experience—otherwise you’re not doing it right.
Ireland emerged from the conflict that marked its birth as an independent state to become one of Europe’s economic success stories in the final decade of the twentieth century.
Long under English or British rule, Ireland lost half its population in the decades following the Great Famine of the 1840s to death and emigration.
After World War I, independence from the United Kingdom was only achieved at the price of civil war and partition. Northern Ireland remains part of Britain.
After the country joined the European Community in 1973, it was transformed from a largely agricultural society into a modern, high-technology economy.
For centuries British dominion in Ireland gave rise to unrest which finally erupted into violence with the Easter Rising of 1916, when independence was proclaimed. The rising was crushed and many of its leaders executed, but the campaign for independence carried on through a bloody Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921.
Dublin street scene A booming economy transformed Dublin in the 1990s
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At a glance
Politics: Prime Minister Enda Kenny from Fine Gael leads a coalition that ousted Fianna Fail, traditionally the main force in parliament, in 2011
Economy: Ireland sought a rescue package from the EU and IMF in 2010 after debt and deficit problems left the economy close to collapse
International: Ireland is active in international peacekeeping. It pursues military neutrality and is not a member of Nato. Ireland is an EU member and eurozone country
Country profiles compiled by BBC Monitoring
It was in 1922 that 26 counties of Ireland gained independence from London following negotiations which led to the other six counties, part of the province of Ulster, remaining in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Partition was followed by a year of civil war.
Relations between Dublin and London remained strained for many years afterwards. Northern Ireland saw decades of violent conflict between those campaigning for a united Ireland and those wishing to stay in the United Kingdom.
In an unprecedented and concerted effort to resolve the situation, the Irish and UK governments worked closely together in negotiations which led to the Good Friday Agreement on the future of Northern Ireland in 1998.
Boom to bust
Ireland’s economy began to grow rapidly in the 1990s, fuelled by foreign investment. This attracted a wave of incomers to a country where, traditionally, mass emigration had been the norm.
The boom that earned Ireland the nickname of “Celtic Tiger” faltered when the country fell into recession in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008.
The property boom had been fuelled by massive lending from the banks, and when this collapsed – and lenders were unable to repay – the Irish banking system was plunged into crisis.
The Irish economy underwent one of the deepest recessions in the eurozone, with its economy shrinking by 10% in 2009.
In November 2010, Ireland and the EU agreed a financial rescue package worth 85bn euros, ending weeks of speculation about a bail-out.
And in February 2013, Ireland struck a deal with the European Central Bank (ECB) to ease the debt burden caused by arrangements made to underwrite the country’s “zombie banks” – bankrupt institutions such as the Anglo Irish Bank.