Ireland is an island that lies to the north-west of Europe in the Atlantic sea. The country is separated from Great Britain by Irish Sea. The country is situated between latitudes 51 degrees and 56 degrees north and longitudes 11 degrees and 5 degrees west. Ireland occupies the total land area of 84,421 sq km. The island’s longest river is the river Shannon which starts in the north-central area and flows southwest and ends its journey meeting with the Atlantic Ocean. Ireland looks like a basin with a central plain which is rimmed with mountains except Dublin area. The mountains are low with the highest peak being Carrauntoohil in County Kerry.
The inland areas are quite warm in summers while colder in winters. While summer temperatures exceed 30 degree celsius, the winter temperatures can fall below 10 degree celsius.
The two main languages spoken in Ireland are Irish and English. However, the official language of the country is Irish itself. But, Irish has been widely replaced by English language today as the first language spoken by the natives.
The culture of Ireland can be broadly categorized into different parts comprising of the culture of ancient people, later immigrant and broadcast cultural influences. The culture of the country can be seen in the intricate designs which are termed as Celtic Knotwork. One can witness this style in jewelry and graphic art. Moreover, the traditional music and dance style of Ireland has also caught the fancy of people living worldwide. The country is also renowned for being home to the great playwrights like Sean O’Casey, Brian Friel, Billy Roche etc.
Religion plays a vital role in the life of the people of Ireland. Christianity is mainly followed by the people of the country. Majority of the people of Ireland are Roman Catholics, however, some are even Protestants who make up the minority.
The government of Ireland is purely Republic in nature and is regulated fundamentally by the Constitution of Ireland. It is headed by the Prime Minister known as Taoiseach. The deputy prime minister known as Tanaiste is chosen by the Prime Minister from among the members of government.
The economy of Ireland is quite popularly known as a modern knowledge economy with main emphasis on services as well as high-tech industries and is dependent on trade, investment and industry. Ireland used Irish pound as the main currency of the country before the advent of Euro notes and coins. However, it was in January 1999 when Ireland launched the European Single Currency, the Euro, as the main currency of the country. Just like other countries falling in the Eurozone, Ireland has given a distinctive and unique design on one face of Euro coin. It is the Celtic harp, which is a traditional symbol of Ireland, and the word Eire which is engraved on every coin used in Ireland.