The Republic of Ireland is made up of five sixths of an island in the North Atlantic Ocean to the west of Great Britain and shares its territory with Northern Ireland.
Ireland has a rich history that dates back to the arrival Celtic tribes between 600 and 150 BC, has seen invasions from the Normans and suffered great famine in the mid-19th Century causing a drop in the population of about a third. However a boost in the birth rate over the last 50 years now makes Ireland the most demographically young population in the EU. The population is mainly in the eastern side of the Ireland with the largest concentration being in and around its capital, Dublin. Ireland’s official languages are English, which is generally used and Gaelic (40% of population in 2016) mainly to the Eastern part of the island.
The modern Irish state and the creation of Irish Government as a Parliamentary Republic was officially formed by treaty with the UK in December 1921. Unresolved issues led to a period known as the “Troubles” that was finally concluded by the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, aided by US Government.
Ireland joined the European Community in 1973 and was one of the first 12 to adopt the Euro in 1999. It enjoyed 12 years of rapid boom in growth (6% growth in GDP) before the world recession in 2008. Support from IMF and EU has helped to recover the economy which is now fueled by large and growing foreign direct investment, especially from US multi-nationals.
Ireland commemorates the patron Saint of Ireland St Patrick on the 17th March, which has been a national holiday of celebration since the mid-19th Century.