Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George’s Channel.
Ireland is called Éire in Irish and is also known as the Republic of Ireland.
Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, in the northeast of the island.
The United Kingdom is the only country that actually borders Ireland. The rest of the Ireland is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.
Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
Irish (what Americans often call “Gaelic”) is the national and first official language of Ireland, the second being English.
As of 1 January 2016, the population of Ireland was estimated to be 4,841,943 people.
Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Dublin is in the province of Leinster on Ireland’s east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey.Dublin is home to over one quarter of the total population.
Phoenix Park in Dublin is the third largest walled city parks in Europe after La Mandria in Venaria Reale (Turin) and Richmond Park in London. It covers 707 hectares (1,750 acres).
The Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens, laid between 1906 and 1910 by Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida, are considered the finest of their kind in Europe.
Ireland has 6 national parks.The first park which was established in Ireland was the Killarney located in County Kerry in 1932.
Carrauntoohil is the highest peak on the island of Ireland. Located in County Kerry, Ireland it is 1,038 meters (3,406 ft) high and is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range.
At a height of 688 meters (2,257 feet) above the Atlantic Ocean, Croaghaun (on Achill Island) are the third highest sea cliffs in Europe (after Hornelen, Norway and Cape Enniberg, Faroe Islands).
Cork Harbour is a natural harbour and river estuary at the mouth of the River Lee in County Cork, Ireland. It is one of several which lay claim to the title of “second largest natural harbour in the world by navigational area” (after Port Jackson, Sydney).
Skellig Michael, or Great Skellig, is the larger of the two Skellig Islands, 11.6 kilometres (7.2 miles) west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland.A Christian monastery was founded on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century and remained continuously occupied until it was abandoned in the late 12th century. The remains of the monastery, and most of the island, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Brú na Bóinne is a World Heritage Site in County Meath, Ireland and is the largest and one of the most important complex of Megalithic sites in Europe, dating to the Neolithic period. Newgrange is the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex dating around 3000 BC to 2500 BC.
Kilbrittain Castle is the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland. The Castle is thought to date from 1035 where the original fortress may have been built by the O’Mahony clan.
The three most famous symbols of Ireland are the green Shamrock, the harp, and the Celtic cross.
Saint Patrick’s Day is Irelands official national holiday. The 17th of March holiday is celebrated in Ireland and also embraced by many other countries around the world.
Prior to the annexation to England, then the United Kingdom, Ireland was never unified under a single monarchy like other European countries. Instead there were hundreds of minor kings waging war with one another on a nearly permanent basis.
Ireland’s oldest pub is Sean’s Bar in Athlone. It was founded some 900 years ago. The country’s oldest licensed pub, though, is Grace Neill’s Bar in Donaghadee, established in 1611.
The Irish consume in average 131.1 liters of beer per year – the 2nd highest per-capita consumption after the Czech Republic.
Guinness is an Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. Guinness is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide.
Other famous Irish breweries include Smithwicks (Kilkenny) and Harp Lager.
The world’s first recorded open yacht race was held in Dublin Bay in 1663.
The Royal Cork Yacht Club was founded in 1720 and is the world’s oldest yacht club.
The Woodenbridge Hotel, which opened in 1608, is the oldest hotel in Ireland.
Irish novelists have made major contributions to world literature. Famous writers include Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels, Bram Stoker – Dracula and James Joyce – Ulysses.
Ireland is the only EU country where abortion is still illegal (except to protect the mother’s life).
It is estimated that over 80 million people worldwide claimed some Irish descent; which includes more than 36 million Americans who claim Irish as their primary ethnicity; and about half of the population of Australia can claim Irish ancestry.
Many Irish family names start with “Mac” or “O’…”, which means respectively “son of …” and “grandson of …” in Gaelic.
At 22 letters long, Muckanaghederdauhaulia (from Muiceanach idir Dhá Sháile meaning “pig-marsh between two saltwaters”) is often believed to be Ireland’s longest one-word place name.