Ireland – The Emerald Isle

The Republic of Ireland lies just West of the British Isles, just across the Irish Sea, with a population of 4.6 million people, mostly concentrated in Dublin, the capital city on the East Coast.

Eire, as it is also known, was once a colony of Great Britain, but it fought for independence and it resulted in the partition of the island, with the North East corner retained by the Crown of Great Britain as the province of Northern Ireland, or Ulster, with a population of 1.8 million people.

There has always been strife and conflict over this state of affairs since the 1960s, with the British Army being deployed there in the 1980s, in what was termed in the region as ‘the troubles’. It gave rise to the Irish Republic Army, a shadowy organisation that organised bombings and killings in both Northern Ireland and England.

The issue was seemingly put to bed when Ireland joined the European Union, but the issue of reunification has again reared its head since the British people decided to opt out of the European Union. Curiously, the majority in Northern Ireland opted to stay, and this led to the Irish government to start probing the idea of absorbing the principality to create a unified Ireland that would be a fully fledged member of the European Union.

The Irish people are Celts and are very fond on music, literature and drinking! They are the inventors of Guinness stout, a very dark beer which is popular all over the world. It is one of the country’s most successful exports, if you don’t factor music bands like U2. The Guinness factory and brewing plant in Dublin is an attraction in its own right and it is a must see for any visitor. The Irish also have a love for Rye Whiskey, a very particular brew that has gained in popularity around the world.

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