For a small country, Ireland has made a big impact. We've given the world saints and scholars, artists and entrepreneurs, scientists and sporting heroes. We've built a reputation for innovation, hard work and determination but we've still kept our inimitable outlook on life. Ireland is unique - let us show you why...
Ireland at a glance
- Name: Ireland (Éire in Irish)
- Capital: Dublin
- Population: 4.9 million
- Languages: English and Irish
- Government: Republic
- Head of government: An Taoiseach Michéal Martin
- Head of state: President Michael D Higgins
- Currency: Euro
- Flag: Tricolour of green, white and orange
- Emblem: Harp
- National Day: Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March
- Our history
- Our economy
- Our culture
- Our languages
From passage tombs older than the pyramids to cities founded by Vikings, crumbling castles to grand country estates, Ireland's history is etched on our landscape. In the 7,000 years that this country has been inhabited, we've been invaded and settled by the Celts, the Vikings, the Normans, the English and the Scots and they have all left their mark on our history, geography, culture, language and people.
Did you know? Saint Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century.
The Long Room in Trinity College, Dublin. © Phil Behan.
A new state
When the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in 1921, Ireland entered a new chapter in its history. The Treaty saw an end to the War of Independence, and the establishment of an Irish state made up of 26 counties, with six Ulster counties administered by a devolved Government within the United Kingdom. The Constitution of Ireland of 1937, provides that Ireland (or Éire in Irish) is the official name of the State and following the enactment of the Republic of Ireland Act of 1948, in 1949, Ireland became a Republic.
Did you know? Ireland became a member of the United Nations in 1955 and joined what is now the European Union in 1973.
After the War of Independence in 1921, Northern Ireland had its own devolved government, controlled by the Unionist majority until 1972. However, discrimination against Nationalists in voting, housing and employment and the repression of Nationalist civil rights campaigners led to civil unrest and was followed by the period of sustained conflict known as the Troubles.
From the 1980s onwards, the Irish and British governments began to work more closely together to achieve peace, culminating in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The Agreement set out a framework for both communities in Northern Ireland to resolve their differences and ended decades of violence.
Did you know? The Good Friday Agreement was overwhelmingly approved by the people of Ireland in referendums both North and South in 1998.
Ireland is one of the world's most dynamic economies. The economy was in a strong position prior to the pandemic, with robust growth, balanced public finances and a labour market close to full employment. The Covid-19 pandemic, and the unprecedented social and economic measures introduced to suppress the virus, have had a significant impact on the Irish economy and public finances.
The Trade and Co-operation Agreement between the EU and UK and the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines have improved the outlook for the economy. Rising vaccine coverage will allow for a more significant easing of containment measures over the summer, with positive implications for economic activity. Conditioned upon these assumptions, modified domestic demand (MDD) is projected to increase by 2.5 per cent this year (GDP growth of 4.5 per cent). MDD growth is expected to accelerate next year, reaching 7.5 per cent (GDP by 5 per cent).
Did you know
The value of goods exports from Ireland rose to €160.8bn in 2020, the highest level on record, and an increase of 5% over 2019.
Our unique culture and heritage feed our creativity and make us what we are. We tell the story of Ireland and her people through our music, poetry, art, literature and film. Sometimes it's joyous, sometimes tragic. It can make us laugh and it can force us to face uncomfortable truths but it is always, always inspiring.
Did you know? Ireland has produced four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature: George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney.
Given the Irish reputation for eloquence, it should come as no surprise that we have two official languages: Irish and English. While everyone speaks English, Irish is also spoken by many including those living in Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas. Irish has always been taught in schools. Today, around 41% of people living here can speak at least some Irish.
Did you know? The Blarney Stone in Co. Cork is one of our top tourist destinations. Visitors come to kiss the stone to apparently gain the Irish gift of eloquence!