A brief summary
The Republic of Ireland covers most of the island of Ireland. It shares the island with Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. The nation is about the same size as Panama, or a little larger than the state of West Virginia. Ireland’s landscape consists of a central plain surrounded by low mountain ranges and hills located near the coasts, giving it a shape much like a saucer. Rich farmland and pastureland can be found on the central plain. Ireland is dotted with hundreds of lakes.
Outdoor activities and recreation
At Newgrange, County Meath, the wall of the passage tomb decorated with a Celtic spiral. Dating back to 3200 B.C the passage tomb at Newgrange is older than the pyramids in Egypt and is officially a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Irish love sports. Two popular sports are hurling and Gaelic football. Hurling, which has been played in Ireland for close to two thousand years, is similar to field hockey. Players use wooden sticks to hit a small leather ball. The women’s version of hurling is called camogie. Gaelic football is like a cross between soccer and rugby. Players can touch the ball with their hands, but they can’t pick it up from the ground. The ball can be punched, kicked, or carried, but not thrown. Teams score by getting the ball between two goalposts, either over or under the crossbar. Handball is another Gaelic sport. It is similar to racquetball but is played without racquets. Players instead strike the ball with their hands. Other popular international sports are soccer, rugby, boxing, swimming, cross country running, cycling, and basketball.
Ireland is renowned for the entertainment it has to offer its visitors. The Irish love eating out and there are a wide range of Michelin star restaurants as well as every conceivable type of international cuisine. Restaurants displaying the Feile Bia symbol represent those eateries, which produce excellent food from fine ingredients. Bars and pubs are abundant and many play live Irish music and every town and city has a large choice of nightclubs. Ireland’s reputation as a leading international shopping destination has also grown in the last 10 years. The capital Dublin, has a wide range of boutiques, but across the country shopping is good and you can also buy local crafts, its famous knitwear as well as superb crystal and glassware; which is a speciality of Galway, Tipperary, Tyrone and Waterford.
Climate and overall weather conditions
Irish weather is famously changeable, and Irish people often say they have all four seasons in one day! Winters are wet and mild. Summers are cool. Ireland is often called the Emerald Isle because the dampness, fog, and rain make the country green like an emerald.
The Republic of Ireland has four major international airports - Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock. The primary airports are Dublin and Shannon. Flights to and from the United Kingdom are widely available. Most flights from Europe are serviced through Dublin. Major airports have car rental agencies, taxi bus service, and monetary exchange facilities. There is frequent bus service from Shannon to Limerick and the Dublin airport to the city center.
Arts and Culture, including museums, theaters, places to visit
For a relatively small country, Ireland has made a huge contribution to world literature. Irish poetry has a long and complex history. The Irish language has one of the oldest vernacular literature and poetry traditions and represents a more or less unbroken cycle from the 6th century to the present day.Many world famous Irish writers, poets and playwrights were born in Dublin or made Dublin their home. For example, Seamus Heaney, Jonathan Swift, WB Yeats. Yeats was involved in setting up the Abbey Theatre and James Joyce whose world famous “Ulysses” is set in Dublin, remarks on a journey he made around the city.
Languages and Local Dialect
Irish (also known as Gaelic) is Ireland’s national language. Most Irish spoke this language until the early 19th century. Speaking and teaching Irish was discouraged when Ireland came under English rule. Also, the Irish potato famine of the 1840s hit hardest in poor Irish-speaking areas, killing many people and forcing others to leave the country. By the end of the 19th century, most of the population no longer spoke Irish.
Food they are known for
Potatoes have long been a part of the Irish diet. The Irish still eat more potatoes per person than people in any other country in Europe. Potatoes are used to make chips (which they call crisps), french fries (which they call chips), cakes, breads, and soups. Along with potatoes, the Irish eat a lot of meat and vegetables. Soda bread, made with buttermilk, is very popular. Fresh dairy products, breads, and seafood are also widely available. Smoked salmon is considered an Irish specialty, as are Irish stew and Irish lamb. Other local favorites are crubeens (pig feet) and colcannon (a cooked mixture of potatoes and cabbage). Tea is the most common drink. Irish tastes have become more international in the past few years, with pizza, pasta, and Chinese takeaway (takeout) becoming more popular.
Around 70 million people worldwide claim Irish ancestry.
Until 1997, Ireland's constitution outlawed divorce.
There are no snakes in Ireland. Legend has it that St. Patrick forced them to leave by beating a drum.
Potatoes were not grown originally in Ireland. They were brought to the area from South America.