Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the third-largest island in Europe. It is the second largest island in the British Isles, after Great Britain. Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, in the northeast of the island. In 2011, the population of Ireland was about 6.6 million, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. Just under 4.8 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland.
The island's lush vegetation, a product of its mild climate and frequent rainfall, earns it the sobriquet the Emerald Isle. Overall, Ireland has a mild but changeable oceanic climate with few extremes. The climate is typically insular and is temperate, avoiding the extremes in temperature of many other areas in the world at similar latitudes. This is a result of the moderating moist winds which ordinarily prevail from the South-Western Atlantic.
The two official languages of the Republic of Ireland are Irish and English. Each language has produced a noteworthy literature. Irish, though now only the language of a minority, was the vernacular of the Irish people for over two thousand years and was possibly introduced during the Iron Age. It began to be written down after Christianisation in the 5th century and spread to Scotland and the Isle of Man where it evolved into the Scottish Gaelic and Manx languages respectively.
Politically, the island is divided between the Republic of Ireland, an independent state, and Northern Ireland (a constituent country of the United Kingdom). They share an open border and both are part of the Common Travel Area. Ireland is a member of the European Union, and as a consequence there is free movement of people, goods, services and capital across the border.
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Public transport in Ireland exists in many of the island's urban areas, and takes a number of forms. Bus transport is the main form of public transport common in all cities. The cities, Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway all have their own suburban rail networks. And Taxis are everywhere.
The Irish are some of the happiest people you’ll ever meet. Whether you’re at a hurling match, at the pub or enjoying a spring concert in the park, everyone is looking to have a laugh and enjoy themselves. Being a foreigner will only make you feel more welcomed as the Irish love to share their laughs and stories with visitors.
The Irish are also some of the most welcoming people around. Hospitality plays a large role in Irish culture, so you’ll likely get to know a lot of locals right away. Although social circles (among locals) are very solid – friendships often last a lifetime – people are also very keen to make new friends and make visitors and resident foreigners feel very welcome.
Dublin is home to many renowned universities. It’s also home to a large international student population. If this isn’t reason enough, TopUniversities.com praises Dublin’s particularly friendly environment, great nightlife and global diversity as a constant draw for international students looking for a great opportunity to explore a growing city.
Ireland is simply one of the most picturesque countries in Europe, and the lush countryside is particularly stunning. Littered with charming villages, rolling green hills, and wild coastlines, a road trip around Ireland makes for one endless photo-op (your Instagram account will thank you).
Dublin is considerably less expensive than big metropolitan centers like London or New York, a particular perk for students who need to manage a tighter budget and find cheap accommodation, for example. For those studying English, it’s even more important to free up cash to do and experience as many things as possible while you’re there – you’ll learn as much from putting your skills to use with locals as you will from memorizing grammar rules in class.
Another killer reason to study English in Ireland is how incredibly close you are to the rest of Europe. Is the Eiffel Tower on your checklist? How about Big Ben? Taking a quick flight to many of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations for a long weekend is easy (and affordable). With quick flights and some planning, you’ll be back in time to finish studying for Monday’s exams.
While Irish culture holds its history in high regard, the country is also very modern and tech-savvy with any amenity you can imagine and some of the biggest tech companies headquartered in the country’s capital. It’s this mix of the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ that make Ireland particularly charming, friendly and interesting.
The people or Ireland have endured many periods of hardship. From the Potato Famine to bombings and typhus outbreaks during the world wars, there have been plenty of reasons for the Irish to emigrate to other countries in the past. It is for this reason that there are so many people of Irish heritage in every corner of the world – and why you might also be part-Irish (and have every reason to come live in your country of origin).