Country profile: Ireland
Celtic tribes arrived on the island between 600-150 B.C. English invasions began in the 12th century and set off more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by fierce rebellions and harsh repressions. A failed 1916 Easter Monday Rebellion touched off several years of guerrilla warfare that in 1921 resulted in independence from the UK for 26 southern counties; six northern (Ulster) counties remained part of the UK. In 1949, Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth; it joined the European Community in 1973. Relations between Dublin and London remained strained for many years afterwards. Northern Ireland saw decades of violent conflict between those campaigning for a united Ireland and those wishing to stay in the United Kingdom. A peace settlement for Northern Ireland is gradually being implemented despite some difficulties. In 2006, the Irish and British governments developed and began to implement the St. Andrews Agreement, building on the Good Friday Agreement approved in 1998. Ireland’s economy began to grow rapidly in the 1990s, fuelled by foreign investment. However, the country has been hit hard following the global financial crisis of 2008 and the International Monetary Fund warns that Ireland faces the worst recession in the developed world.
Few visitors are disappointed by the reality of the stock Irish images: the green, rain-hazed hills and ragged coastline, the people’s inspired talent for conversation, the easy pace of life, the wealth of traditional music, and of course, Guinness beer. Indeed with its haunting landscapes, culture and history, the Emerald Isle has something to offer everyone, from the most avid hiker to the literature lover. Dublin, the republic’s capital, is the country’s largest and most cosmopolitan city.
|Population||4.5 million (UN, 2009)|
|Life expectancy||M: 77 years F: 82 years|
|No. doctors||13,141 (30 per 10,000 population)|