The Northern Ireland Portal

Introduction

Location of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom
Location of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom
Northern Ireland borders the Republic of Ireland to its south and west.
Northern Ireland borders the Republic of Ireland to its south and west.

Northern Ireland (Irish: Tuaisceart Éireann [ˈt̪ˠuəʃcəɾˠt̪ˠ ˈeːɾʲən̪ˠ] (listen); Ulster-Scots: Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom that is variously described as a country, province, territory or region. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's population and about 3% of the UK's population. The Northern Ireland Assembly (colloquially referred to as Stormont after its location), established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998, holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the UK Government. Northern Ireland cooperates with the Republic of Ireland in several areas.

Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, creating a devolved government for the six northeastern counties. Most of Northern Ireland's population were unionists, who wanted to remain in the United Kingdom. They were generally the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain. Meanwhile, the majority in Southern Ireland (which became the Irish Free State in 1922), and a significant minority in Northern Ireland, were Irish nationalists and Catholics who wanted a united independent Ireland. Today, the former generally see themselves as British and the latter generally see themselves as Irish, while a Northern Irish or Ulster identity is claimed by a large minority from all backgrounds.

The creation of Northern Ireland was accompanied by violence both in defence of and against partition. During 1920–22, the capital Belfast saw major communal violence, mainly between Protestant unionist and Catholic nationalist civilians. More than 500 were killed and more than 10,000 became refugees, mostly Catholics. For the next fifty years, Northern Ireland had an unbroken series of Unionist Party governments. There was informal mutual segregation by both communities, and the Unionist governments were accused of discrimination against the Irish nationalist and Catholic minority. In the late 1960s, a campaign to end discrimination against Catholics and nationalists was opposed by loyalists, who saw it as a republican front. This unrest sparked the Troubles, a thirty-year conflict involving republican and loyalist paramilitaries and state forces, which claimed over 3,500 lives and injured 50,000 others. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including paramilitary disarmament and security normalisation, although sectarianism and segregation remain major social problems, and sporadic violence has continued.

Cultural links between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland, and the rest of the UK are complex, with Northern Ireland sharing both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the United Kingdom. In many sports, the island of Ireland fields a single team, with the Northern Ireland national football team being an exception to this. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, and people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games. (Full article...)

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Well and Men's bath house, Struell Wells, October 2009
Well and Men's bath house, Struell Wells, October 2009
Struell Wells (Irish: Toibreacha an tSruthail; Ulster-Scots: Struell Waals) are a set of four holy wells in the townland of Struell, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland (grid ref: J513442). The wells date from before the time of Saint Patrick, and even today are used for people seeking cures. On Mid-Summer Eve (Saint John's Eve) and the Friday before Lammas, hundreds of pilgrims used to visit Struell. The earliest written reference to the wells is in 1306, but none of the surviving buildings is earlier than about 1600. Pilgrimages to the site are well documented from the 16th century to the 19th century. The site is managed by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. (Full article...)
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McElhinney in 2014
McElhinney in 2014
Ian McElhinney (born 19 August 1948) is a Northern Irish actor and director. He has appeared in many television series in a career spanning more than forty years; notable appearances include Taggart, Hornblower, Cold Feet, and The Tudors. In recent times his best known roles are as Barristan Selmy in Game of Thrones, Morgan Monroe in The Fall, and Granda Joe in Derry Girls. (Full article...)

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Northern Ireland on Wikipedia

  • Northern Ireland is in the top 250 most referenced articles. It ranks 232nd, with 3,955 links to it - one more link than Music, and many more links than the Bible.
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