Cliff of Moher, Ireland http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cliff_of_Moher.jpg Matpib
The Republic of Ireland is a country in northwestern Europe. It shares the island of Ireland with Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland, known in Irish as Poblacht na hÉireann, was initially known as the Irish Free State when it was established in 1922. It took on the name Ireland in 1937, and changed it to the present name of Republic of Ireland in 1949, after severing formal links with the United Kingdom and leaving the British Commonwealth.
During British rule, Ireland was one of the poorest countries in Western Europe. The Act of Union placed Ireland as part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The country suffered greatly through the 19th century. Between 1845 and 1849, the Great Famine shaved off 30% of its 8 million population.
Today, Ireland has become the 31st biggest economy with the fifth highest GDP (ppp) per capita in the world, according to the World Bank report of 2008.
Fast Facts about Ireland
Official Name: Republic of Ireland
Capital: Dublin (506,000)
Population of Ireland: 4,016,000
Languages: English, Irish Gaelic
Religions: Roman Catholic (88%), others
Size: 70,280 sq km (27,135 sq miles)
Principal Cities of Ireland
Dublin The capital as well as largest city in Ireland. A major tourist destination, it is the fourth most visited European capital.
Cork Second largest city in the Republic of Ireland.
Galway Third largest and one of the fastest growing cities in Ireland, on the River Corrib.
Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christchurch_Cathedral_-_Dublin.jpg William Murphy
Ring of Kerry, Ireland http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ring_of_Kerry-Scenic_view_southwest.jpg Dl Florian Fuchs
Preparing Money for Ireland
The currency used in Ireland is the Euro (EUR).
Planning your visit to Ireland
There are four international airports in Ireland, namely the Dublin International Airport (DUB), Shannon International Airport (SNN), Cork International Airport (ORK) and Knock International Airport (NOC). The biggest is the Dublin International Airport, which is also the 8th biggest in Europe. It receives the most number of flights from major cities in Europe, North America and the Middle East.
The Enterprise is a train service jointly run by Irish Rail (www.irishrail.ie) and Northern Ireland Railways. It runs from Belfast Central railway station to Dublin Connolly railway station.
There are ferry services linking Ireland with Great Britain and France. The Norfolkline (www.norfolkline.com/), Irish Sea Express and Steam Packet Sea Cat are some of the ferry operators plying the route between Liverpool and Dublin. Irish Ferries (www.irishferries.com) connect Holyhead in North Wales with Dublin, and Pembroke in South Wales with Rosslare. Ferryonline (www.ferryonline.co.uk) offers ferry services between the United Kingdom and Ireland.
A monastery in Glendalough, Ireland http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Monastary1_(8061789794).jpg psyberartist
Planning your travel within Ireland
To properly explore Ireland, the best way to go about it is by car. Car rental companies can be found at all the major airports.
Irish Rail operates an extensive network of rail lines across the country, radiating out of Dublin.
World Heritage Sites in Ireland
Ireland ratified the World Heritage Convention on 16 September, 1991. As of August 2010, it has two World Heritage Sites, both in the cultural category. Ireland also has another y sites on the World Heritage Tentative List.
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