Ireland

Dunguaire Castle

Ireland is the third largest island in Europe, surrounded by hundreds of islands and islets. Politically, the Republic of Ireland covers five-sixths of the island, with Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, covering the remainder in the north-east. To the east of Ireland, separated by the Irish Sea, is the island of Great Britain. The first settlements in Ireland date from 8000 BC. By 200 BC Celtic migration and influence had come to dominate the island. Relatively small scale settlement by both the Vikings and Normans in the Middle Ages gave way to complete English domination by the 1600s. Following a war of independence, Ireland was split into the independent Irish Free State and Northern Ireland, which remains a part of the United Kingdom. In 1973 both parts of Ireland joined the European Economic Community. Sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland led to much unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s, which subsided following a peace deal in 1998. Dublin has been transformed in recent years as the Irish economy has taken off, and is a flourishing tourist centre.

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Dunguaire Castle