Welcome to the Ireland Portal!
Fáilte go dtí Tairseach na hÉireann!
Fair faa ye tae tha Airlann Inlat!

Introduction

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Northern Ireland
Satellite image of Ireland
Satellite image of Ireland

Ireland (/ˈaɪərlənd/ IRE-lənd; Irish: Éire [ˈeːɾʲə] ; Ulster-Scots: Airlann [ˈɑːrlən]) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe. 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 in the world. Geopolitically, the island is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), an independent state covering five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. As of 2022, the population of the entire island is just over 7 million, with 5.1 million living in the Republic of Ireland and 1.9 million in Northern Ireland, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain.

The geography of Ireland comprises relatively low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain, with several navigable rivers extending inland. Its lush vegetation is a product of its mild but changeable climate which is free of extremes in temperature. Much of Ireland was woodland until the end of the Middle Ages. Today, woodland makes up about 10% of the island, compared with a European average of over 33%, with most of it being non-native conifer plantations. The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus very moderate, and winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant.

Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century AD. The island was Christianised from the 5th century onwards. During this period Ireland was divided into many petty kingships under provincial kingships (Cúige "fifth" of the traditional provinces) vying for dominance and the title of High King of Ireland. In the late 8th century to early 11th century AD Viking raids and settlement took place culminating in the Battle of Clontarf on 23 April 1014 which resulted in the ending of Viking power in Ireland. Following the 12th century Anglo-Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, and was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, leading to the creation of the Irish Free State, which became increasingly sovereign over the following decades until it declared a republic in 1948 ( Republic of Ireland Act, 1948) and Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. In 1973, both the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, with Northern Ireland as part of it, joined the European Economic Community. Following a referendum vote in 2016, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland included, left the European Union (EU) in 2020. Northern Ireland was granted a limited special status and allowed to operate within the EU single market for goods without being in the European Union. (Full article...)

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The Economy of the Republic of Ireland is modern, relatively small, and trade-dependent with growth averaging a robust 10% in 19952000. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry, which accounts for 46% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and employs 29% of the labour force. Although exports remain the primary engine for the Republic's robust growth, the economy is also benefiting from a rise in consumer spending and recovery in both construction and business investment. Read more...

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George Ivan Morrison OBE (generally known as Van Morrison) (born August 31, 1945) is a Grammy Award-winning Northern Irish singer, songwriter, author, poet and multi-instrumentalist, who has been a professional musician during the last five decades. He plays a variety of instruments, including the guitar, harmonica, keyboards, drums, and saxophone. Featuring his characteristic growl — a unique mix of folk, blues, Irish, scat, and Celtic influences — Morrison is widely considered one of the most unusual and influential vocalists in the history of rock and roll. Critic Greil Marcus has gone so far as to say that "no white man sings like Van Morrison."

Known as "Van the Man" by his fans, Morrison first rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Northern Irish band, Them, penning their seminal 1964 hit "Gloria". A few years later, Morrison left the band for a successful solo career.

Morrison has pursued an idiosyncratic musical path. Much of his music is tightly structured around the conventions of American soul and R&B, such as the popular singles "Brown Eyed Girl", "Moondance", "Domino" and "Wild Night". An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, loosely connected, spiritually inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz, and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as his classic album Astral Weeks and lesser known works such as Veedon Fleece and Common One. The two strains together are sometimes referred to as "Celtic Soul".

Morrison's career, spanning some five decades, has influenced many popular musical artists. In 1993 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2000, Morrison ranked #25 on American cable music channel VH1's list of its 100 greatest artists of rock and roll, and in 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Van Morrison 42nd on their list of The Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Paste Magazine ranked him 20th in their list of 100 Greatest Living Songwriters In 2006 and Q Magazine ranked him 22nd on their list of 100 Greatest Singers in April 2007. Read more...

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The following are images from various Ireland-related articles on Wikipedia.

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From top, left to right: People's Park, St. Mary's Cathedral, Riverpoint, Daniel O'Connell Monument, Georgian architecture at Pery Square, King John's Castle

Limerick (/ˈlɪmərɪk/ LIM-ər-ik; Irish: Luimneach [ˈl̪ˠɪmʲ(ə)nʲəx]) is a city in western Ireland, in County Limerick. It is in the province of Munster and is in the Mid-West which comprises part of the Southern Region. With a population of 102,287 at the 2022 census, Limerick is the third-most populous urban area in the Republic of Ireland, and the fourth-most populous city on the island of Ireland. It was founded by Scandinavian settlers in 812, during the Viking Age.

The city straddles the River Shannon, with the historic core of the city located on King's Island, which is bounded by the Shannon and Abbey Rivers. Limerick is at the head of the Shannon Estuary, where the river widens before it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Limerick City and County Council is the local authority for the city. (Full article...)

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