Republic of Ireland Facts

Your research center on The Republic of Ireland's political system, economy, climate, population and more.

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Ireland's History
Irish Geography
Ireland's Climate
Natural Resources
Life Expectancy
Religion & Languages
Economy of Ireland
Agriculture & Industries

Ireland's History Summarized:
Celtic tribes arrived on the island between 600-150 B.C. Invasions by Norsemen that began in the late 8th century were finally ended when King Brian BORU defeated the Danes in 1014. Then, 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, even today.

In 1948, The Republic of Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth; it joined the European Community in 1973. Irish governments have sought the peaceful unification of Ireland and have cooperated with Britain against terrorist groups. A peace settlement for Northern Ireland approved in 1998, known as the Good Friday Agreement, is being implemented with many difficulties.

The Geography of Ireland
Location: Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain.
Geographic coordinates: 53 00 N, 8 00 W
Map references: Europe
Total Area: 70,280 sq km
Land Area: 68,890 sq km
Water Area: 1,390 sq km
Ireland is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia.

Land boundaries: total: 360 km
Border countries: UK 360 km
Coastline: 1,448 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm / exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm Elevation extremes: Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m / Highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m
Strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe.

Ireland's Climate
Temperate maritime, modified by North Atlantic Current. Winters are mild, summers cool, and the country is consistently humid. Ireland is overcast about half the time. Rain is more frequent in the west, while the southest portion of the country generally gets more sunshine.
Terrain: Mostly level to rolling interior plain, surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains. Sea cliffs ring the west coast.

Ireland's Natural Resources
Natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite
Land use:
-Arable land: 16.82%
-Permanent crops: 0.03%
-Other: 83.15% (2005)

The Irish Environment Today
Top Current issues: water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff.
Ireland's International Environmental Agreements
-Air Pollution
-Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides
-Air Pollution-Sulfur 94
-Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
-Endangered Species
-Environmental Modification
-Hazardous Wastes
-Law of the Sea
-Marine Dumping
-Ozone Layer Protection
-Ship Pollution
-Tropical Timber 83
-Tropical Timber 94
-Whaling signed, but not ratified
-Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
-Marine Life Conservation

Republic of Ireland Population Facts:
Over 40% of the population resides within 100 km of Dublin.
Population: 4,062,235 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.9% (male 437,903/female 409,774)15-64 years: 67.6% (male 1,373,771/female 1,370,452) 65 years and over: 11.6% (male 207,859/female 262,476) (2006 est.)
Median age:
All: 34 years
-Male: 33.2 years
-Female: 34.8 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.15% (2006 est.) Birth rate: 14.45 births per1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate: 7.82 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate: 4.87 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratios:
-At birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
-Under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
-15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
-65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
-Total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Irish Life Expectancy
Infant mortality rate: total: 5.31 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
-Total population: 77.73 years
-Male: 75.11 years
-Female: 80.52 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.86 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS: adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)
-People living with HIV/AIDS: 2,800 (2001 est.)
-HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (2003 est.)

Nationality, Religion & Languages:
Descriptive nouns: Irishman(men), Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural) adjective: Irish
Ethnic groups: Celtic, English
Religions: Roman Catholic 88.4%, Church of Ireland 3%, other Christian 1.6%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2%, none 3.5% (2002 census)
Languages: English (official) is the language generally used, Irish (official) (Gaelic or Gaeilge) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 99% (2003 est.)

Economy of The Republic of Ireland
Overview: Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging a robust 7% from 1995-2004. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry and services. Industry accounts for 46% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and 29% of the labor force. Although exports remain the primary engine for Ireland's growth, the economy has also benefited from a rise in consumer spending, construction, and business investment. Per capita GDP is now 10% above that of the four big European economies and the second highest in the EU behind Luxembourg.

Over the past decade, the Irish Government has implemented a series of national economic programs designed to curb price and wage inflation, reduce government spending, increase labor force skills, and promote foreign investment. Ireland joined with 11 other EU nations in circulating the Euro on January 1, 2002.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $164.6 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.7% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $41,000 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5%, industry: 46%, services: 49% (2002 est.)
Labor force: 2.03 million (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: Agriculture: 8%, Industry: 29%, Services: 64% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4.3% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line: 10% (1997 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.4% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 27% of GDP (2005 est.)
- Revenues: $70.46 billion
- Expenditures: $69.4 billion.
- Public debt: 26.7% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture products:
Turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; beef and dairy products.
Steel, lead, zinc, silver, aluminum, barite, and gypsum mining processing, food products, brewing, textiles, clothing; chemicals, pharmaceuticals; machinery, rail transportation equipment, passenger and commercial vehicles, ship construction and refurbishment, glass and crystal, software, tourism.
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (2005 est.)
Electricity production by source:
- Fossil fuel: 95.9%
- Hydro: 2.3%
- Nuclear: 0% (2001)
Oil consumption: 175,600 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2002)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $869.3 million (2005 est.)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $607 million (2004) Telephone system: Modern digital system using cable and microwave radio relay domestic: microwave radio relay International country phone code: 353
Television broadcast stations: 4

Transportation Ireland
Airports: 36 (2006)
Airports with paved runways: 15
Railways: total: 3,312 km
Roadways, total: 95,736 km
Ports and terminals: Cork, Dublin, New Ross, Shannon Foynes, Waterford.

Military Ireland
Military branches: Irish Defense Forces (Oglaigh na h-Eireann): Army (includes Naval Service and Air Corps)
Military service age and obligation: 17 years of age for voluntary military service; enlistees under the age of 17 can be recruited for specialist positions (2001).

Transnational Issues Ireland
Disputes - international: Republic of Ireland, Iceland, and the UK dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm.
Illicit drugs: Ireland is a transshipment point for and consumer of hashish from North Africa to the UK and Netherlands and of European-produced synthetic drugs; minor transshipment point for heroin and cocaine destined for Western Europe. In spite of legislation, narcotics-related money laundering - using bureaux de change, trusts, and shell companies involving the offshore financial community, remains a problem.