English is the language generally used,
Irish (Gaelic) spoken mainly in areas
located along the western seaboard
Roman Catholic 91.6%, Church of Ireland
2.5%, other 5.9% (1998)
UK 360 km
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|Ireland is an island, just across the Irish Sea from mainland Britain in Northern Europe. Ireland can be divided into two parts, The Republic of Ireland (Eire) and Northern Ireland. The Republic is separate from the North in that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. The landmass of the Republic of Ireland measures 68,890 sq km with 1448 km of coastline. Ireland has many miles of beautiful landscape, punctuated by mountains and rivers. The coastline is at times rugged and lined with sheer cliffs although there are some fine beaches along the West Coast. The West Coast faces the Atlantic Ocean and there are many ideal spots for surfing. Being a Catholic nation, The Republic of Ireland is home to some fine old churches and cathedrals, as well as some fine examples of ruined abbeys and the like. Fishermen love Ireland for its lakes and trout fisheries.|
Ireland's history may be traced back to the end of the last ice age, 9,000 years ago. The first arrivals were probably the Mesolithics. These primitive middle stone-aged settlers would have been hunters, living in small family groups in communal villages. The farmers were next, arriving 4000 BC. They discovered and reaped Ireland's naturally fertile plains and were quick to make full use of very arable land. In the Bronze Age, 2500 BC, copper and various other metals were discovered. The capital of modern Eire is Dublin and is home to one and a half million of the total 3,883,159 population. The official language is English although the Irish are very proud to speak their native tongue Gaelic. In the Republic the currency is Euros, in the North it is Pounds Sterling.
Ireland has a small trade-dependent economy, with agriculture being the most important division, however only 8% of the national workforce is within agriculture. The agricultural produce of Ireland includes turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets and wheat. The industries of Ireland are food products, brewing, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, transportation equipment and the creation of glass and crystal. The transport network consists of 3314 km of railways and 92,500 km of highways.
Ireland has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. It enjoys a relatively mild summer and winter although the winds can pick up along the Atlantic coast and the Irish Sea. The highest recorded temperature in Dublin was 30C.
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