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Table of Contents
Ireland is an island of the British Isles in the North Atlantic. The land mass is split in two with the top third, Northern Ireland, belonging to the United Kingdom and the bottom two-thirds the independent Republic of Ireland. It is rich in history, culture and traditions. Let’s learn more!
See the fact file below for more information on the Republic of Ireland or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Republic of Ireland worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
QUICK FACTS ABOUT IRELAND
- HEMISPHERE: Northern
- SEAS: Atlantic Ocean and Irish and Celtic Seas
- CAPITAL: Dublin
- OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Irish English
- LANDMASS: 70,273 square km, 27,133 square miles
- POPULATION: 4,857,000 (2018 est)
- CURRENCY: Euro (€)
- GDP: $385 billion (2018 est)
ANCIENT HISTORY OF IRELAND
- Lying on the western side of Great Britain, Ireland has a long history of being geographically important.
- For centuries, Ireland has struggled with subjugation to Britain.
- People occupied Ireland as early as the Mesolithic period (Middle Stone Age, 10 000 – 8 000 BCE), with archeological finds and flintwork suggesting they were hunter-fisher people who then became farmers.
- More archeological evidence shows that Ireland entered the Neolithic Period around 3 000 BC, with farming communities building large tombs from stone. There are over 300 examples in Ireland.
- In the Bronze Age, from 1 500 BC), Ireland had a flourishing metal industry with bronze, copper and gold objects exported to Britain and Europe.
- Archeologists suggest that Celtic people from east-central Europe arrived in the Iron Age.
- During this time, Ireland was organized into a number of smaller kingdoms. In the 10th century AD, one king ruled all of Ireland.
- The king was surrounded by aristocracy, who owned land and whose wealth was measured in cattle. The principal crops were wheat, barley, oats, flax, and hay, and sheep were reared for wool.
- In the 3rd and 4th centuries, Latin writings refer to frequent Irish raiding expeditions especially as Roman power in Britain began to collapse.
- Ireland was a known hub of early Christianity and there are saints to are believed to precede the famed St. Patrick.
- St Patrick, also known as the Apostle of Ireland, was a 5th-century Christian missionary and bishop and is the patron saint of Ireland. He is venerated by the Roman Catholic, Anglican Communion, Lutheran, Old Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
- St Patrick is credited with converting the people of Ireland from Celtic polytheism to Christianity. His life is celebrated annually on 17 March as a cultural and religious holiday in Ireland and around the world.
- Legends associated with St Patrick form part of St Patrick’s Day iconography including the Shamrock, banishing snakes into the sea, turning a walking stick into a living tree and speaking with Irish ancestors.
- By the 6th- and 7th centuries, monasteries existed all over Ireland as believers in Christianity devoted themselves to lives as monks and hermits.
- The Norse arrived on the Irish coast around 795 AD and raided and plundered deep inland. They cast out the king and reached the height of their power around 920 AD.
- From the 1100s, Anglo-Normans began conquering parts of eastern Ireland.
MODERN HISTORY OF IRELAND
- During the rule of Henry VIII, the monastery system was dissolved and land confiscated. This created resentment with the Irish who rejected Henry VIII’s Protestant Church, did not recognize Elizabeth I, and supported the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots.
- Elizabeth I forced the new Protestant church on Ireland in the 1500s and the Irish responded with rebellion.
- In the 1600s, King Charles I needed the help of Ireland to fight in his wars, so he implemented “the Graces”, which meant that Roman Catholics could exist in public again. It didn’t last long, however.
- When Charles I was executed and Oliver Cromwell took his place, Irish Catholic resistance was crushed in a notorious massacre. Ireland was conquered by 1652 and it became part of the Commonwealth.
- For centuries after, there was near-constant conflict between Protestants and Catholics over who could live where, and who had power and land.
- The American Revolution (1765 to 1783) had a big influence on Ireland. Britain, needing support for the war against America and its ally France, reversed many anti-Catholic laws in order to win support.
- Come the 18th century, Ireland was in decline due to trade restrictions imposed by England. Many Irish people looked for work by immigrating to America.
- With the Industrial Revolution in England wreaking havoc on agricultural prices in Ireland, it wasn’t viable to grow crops, which was a big problem for the growing population.
- In the mid-1840s, disaster struck when staple potato crops rotted from a disease called Blight. Roughly one million people died of hunger in the Great Potato Famine and it halved the population.
- Ireland participated in both WWI and WWII, which also created political conflict on the homefront. Ireland wanted to be an independent country.
- In April 1949 Ireland gained new status as an independent Republic. Membership. But Britain claimed Northern Ireland.
- In 1973, the Republic of Ireland joined the European Union which transformed its economy.
- Due to unrest in the Irish population during the 1970s and 1980s, there was a revival in the extremist group the Irish Republican Army (IRA). They believed that the Republic should be totally free of British rule and used violence and bombings to make their point.
- In 1998, a peace settlement to end “The Troubles” was reached. It is known as the Good Friday Agreement.
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE OF IRELAND
- Ireland is surrounded on the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean and on the east by the North Channel, Irish Sea, and the Celtic Sea in the southwest.
- It is famous for its rugged cliffs, mountains and rolling green hills. The central lowland parts of Ireland has many bogs and lakes.
- The longest river in Ireland is the River Shannon, which is 386 km (240 mi) long.
- Ireland does not have a lot of trees due to heavy tree felling in the Middle Ages to make way for farming which takes up 64% of the land area.
- Ireland is considered to have a temperate oceanic climate thanks to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream. Winter temperatures are rarely lower than −5 °C (23 °F) and not higher than 26 °C (79 °F) in summer.
- The country receives most of its high rainfall in winter.
- Average sunshine for the country is 3.25 and 3.75 hours per day with the sunniest months being in summer (May and June) with an average of 5-6 hours of sun per day.
- During the Ice Age, Ireland was almost completely covered by glaciers. Today, it’s covered by grassland, heath and spurge, which is why it’s also called the Emerald Isle.
- Ireland famously has no weasels, moles or snakes. Native animals include the Irish stoat and the Irish hare. Deer have grown in numbers but the giant Irish elk is extinct.
- Ireland is a popular overwinter ground for migrating birds from Iceland and Greenland.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE OF IRELAND
- Irish people are a combination of Gaelic, Norse, Anglo-Norman, French, and British ancestry.
- The majority of people in Ireland are Catholic.
- Dublin is the largest city with around 2 million inhabitants.
- Irish is the official language but many speak English.
- Irish people celebrate both pagan (Halloween) and Christian traditions.
- The Leprechaun has long been part of Irish folklore. It is a mischievous fairy-like creature that wears green clothes and plays tricks on people. Leprechauns are believed to hide a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and, if you can catch one, will grant you three wishes.
- Irish food reflects the crops and animals farmed in the climate with potato being a Star ingredient. Irish dishes include Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, boxty, coddle, and colcannon.
- Guinness milk stout is a famous Irish export.
- Irish people enjoy Irish music, which features the violin, flute, harp, banjo, mandolin, accordion and harmonica, to name some.
- Traditional Irish dancing was revived through Irish step dance popularized by the Riverdance.
FAMOUS IRISH PEOPLE
- St Patrick, Jonathan Swift, WB Yeats, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Ernest Shackleton, CS Lewis, U2 (Bono), Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Farrell, Sinead O’Connor.
Republic of Ireland Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Republic of Ireland across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Republic of Ireland worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Ireland which is an island of the British Isles in the North Atlantic. The land mass is split in two with the top third, Northern Ireland, belonging to the United Kingdom and the bottom two-thirds the independent Republic of Ireland. It is rich in history, culture and traditions. Let’s learn more!
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- The Life of St Patrick
- Travel to Ireland
- Ireland Unscramble
- Irish Sightseeing
- Ireland at Work
- Fact or Folklore?
- Irish Code Breaker
- Coloring Time!
- Write a Letter
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland the same?
Although belonging to the same island, only the Republic of Ireland, the bottom two-thirds of the island is independent. Northern Ireland, the top third of the island, is part of the United Kingdom.
What were the goals of the Irish Republican Army?
The Irish Republican Army sought the reunification of Ireland by ending British rule in Northern Ireland through armed force.
Who is the patron saint of the Republic of Ireland?
St. Patrick, also known as the “Apostle of Ireland,” is the patron saint of the Republic of Ireland. As a missionary and a bishop, he is known for converting the Irish from Celtic polytheism to Christianity.
What supernatural being is Irish folklore known for?
Donning green clothes while participating in various forms of mischief, the Leprechaun is a staple in Irish folklore. It is believed that the Leprechauns hide gold at the end of a rainbow.
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Link will appear as Republic of Ireland Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 26, 2022
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