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 the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
Ireland covers about 930 km (580 mi) and has a land area of 61,292 sq mi (155,988 km2), which makes it slightly larger than the state of Alaska in the United States. Ireland has a population of 4.9 million and about 1.8 million people live in its urban areas.
The island has a coastline stretching for about 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi). It is the fourth smallest member of the European Union and is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Economic Commission of the Council of Europe, the European Space Agency, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the OECD.
Ireland is a proud Catholic nation, but it is also a hotbed of racial slurs, at least in some circles (and that’s an exaggeration, but a sizeable one). In 2009 a poll of 700 people asked to choose between the respective merits of ‘snowflake’ and ‘backstag’ — when it came to choosing a word to describe an Irish person, a third of respondents opted for snowflake, while 27 per cent opted for ‘backstop’.
A minor drawback of the Brexit situation is that part of the border question is the question of who has a ‘right’ to the term ‘Irish.’ As of May there is to be a land border between the Republic and the north — and even though a technological solution to avoiding physical checks in Ireland has been in place since 2013, there is concern that Brexit will compromise the arrangement and result in checks, and possibly customs, being introduced.
The Republic of Ireland, which has been a part of the United Kingdom since the 1970s, is bordered to the west by the North Sea, to the north by Ulster, to the east and south-east by the sea and the mainland, and to the south-west by the Irish Sea.
Much of the coastline of Ireland is considered to be the most beautiful, with cliffs and islands, in the world.
It has more mountains and valleys than other European countries, is famed for its mountains and lakes and has a wide range of environments, from the mountainous north-east, to the dry, sandy south-west.
The countryside is dotted with rugged coastlines, winding rivers, highlands, mountains, lakes and valleys, which are often used for angling, skiing, hunting, bird watching, foraging, camping and outdoor activities.
Date of last update: 4. June, 2021