Ireland (Irish: Éire) is the third-largest island in Europe. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean and it is composed of the Republic of Ireland (officially, Ireland), which covers five sixths of the island (south, east, west and north-west), and Northern Ireland; part of the United Kingdom, which covers the northeastern sixth of the island.
[...] The state was plagued by poverty and emigration until the 1990s. That decade saw the beginning of unprecedented economic success, in a phenomenon known as the "Celtic Tiger". By the early 2000s, it had become one of the richest countries (in terms of GDP per capita) in the European Union, moving from being a net recipient to a net contributor and from a population with net emigration to one with net immigration. Ireland has the fourth-highest GDP (based on PPP) per capita in the world after Luxembourg, Norway, and the United States, but lies 8th in the 2005 UN Human Development Index. [...]
[...] On July the Provisional IRA (PIRA) announced the end of its armed campaign and on September international weapons inspectors supervised the full disarmament of the PIRA. Sinn Féin (means "ourselves" or "we ourselves"). The only political party to have seats in the parliaments of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. As a leading representative of the Republican wing of Irish nationalism, Sinn Féin advocates a United Ireland and avowedly leftist values, and is seen by many as the political wing of the Provisional IRA. Current president : Gerry Adams. [...]
[...] The population of the island is approximately 5.8 million people; 4.1 million in the Republic of Ireland ( 1.6 million in Greater Dublin) and 1.7 million in Northern Ireland ( 0.6 million in Greater Belfast). Geography A ring of coastal mountains surrounds low central plains. The highest peak is Carrauntuohill (Irish: Corrán Tuathail), which is 1041 m (3414 feet). The island's area is 84,079 (32,477 mile²). Ireland is divided into four provinces: Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. These were further divided into 32 counties for administrative purposes. [...]
[...] The island also has a shared culture across the divide in many other ways. Traditional Irish music, for example, though showing some variance in all geographical areas, is, broadly speaking, the same on both sides of the border. The Ireland Funds, an international fund-raising organisation, tries to help people on both sides find peace and reconciliation through community development, education, arts and culture. History Anglo-Norman and English control (1172-1800) In 1172, King Henry II of England gained Irish lands, and from the 13th century, English law began to be introduced. [...]
[...] Up to then, Ireland had been politically divided into a number of different Irish kingdoms (Leinster, Munster, Connacht, Mide, Ulster, and others). Contrary to some assertions, at no time did a national kingdom headed by an Ard Ri exist. In a number of respects, the island operates officially as a single entity, for example, in most kinds of sports. The major religions, the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, are organised on an all-island basis. Some 92% of the population of the Republic of Ireland and over 40% of Northern Ireland is Roman Catholic. [...]
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