Portal:Ireland

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Northern Ireland
Satellite image of Ireland

Ireland (Irish: Éire, Ulster Scots: Airlann) is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island in the world. It lies to the north-west of continental Europe and is surrounded by hundreds of islands and islets. The Republic of Ireland covers five-sixths of the island. Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, covers the remainder and is located in the northeast of the island. The population of Ireland is estimated to be 6.2 million. Slightly less than 4.5 million are estimated to live in the Republic of Ireland and slightly less than 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland.

Relatively low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain to epitomise the Ireland's geography with several navigable rivers extending inland. The island has a lush vegetation, a product of its mild but changeable oceanic climate, which avoids extremes in temperature. Thick woodlands covered the island until the 1600s. Today, it is the most deforested area in Europe. Twenty-six mammal species are native to Ireland, with some, such as the red fox, hedgehog and badger, being very common. Others, like the Irish hare, red deer and pine marten are less so.

Irish culture has had a significant influence on culture world-wide, particularly in the fields of literature and, to a lesser degree, science and learning. A strong indigenous culture, expressed for example through native sports and the Irish language, exists alongside a regional culture, such as Rugby football and golf. Read more ...


Selected article

The Irish Victoria Cross recipients lists all Irish-born recipients of the Victoria Cross, the highest war honour of the British Empire and the Commonwealth of Nations. Since 1881 it has been awarded to service personnel for extraordinary valour and devotion to duty while facing a hostile force. Between 1858 and 1881 the Victoria Cross could be awarded for actions taken "under circumstances of extreme danger" not in the face of the enemy. Six people were awarded Victoria Crosses under this clause until it was amended in 1881 to only allow acts "in the presence of the enemy". It was awarded to members of the British Armed Forces which included Irish service personnel until 1922. As of April 2008, 188 recipients are listed who were born in Ireland or had full Irish parentage.

Both Catholic and Protestant officers and servicemen born in Ireland have received the honour. 30 Irish VC recipients received awards in the Crimean war, 52 Irish VCs in the Indian Mutiny, 46 Irish VCs in numerous other British Empire campaigns between 1857 to 1914, 37 Irish VCs in the First World War and eight Irishmen received VC awards for valour in the Second World War. Read more...

Selected biography

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Simon Byrne was an Irish bare-knuckle prize fighter, nicknamed "The Emerald Gem", who lived between 1806 and 1833. As the heavyweight boxing champion of Ireland, he was drawn to England by larger prize money and hopes of becoming the heavyweight champion there as well. He became one of only six fighters ever to have been involved in fatal fights since both survivor and deceased since records began in 1741.

Byrne fought in an era when English boxing, although illegal, was patronised by many powerful individuals. Its patronage and popularity did not, however, free it from corruption, heavy betting, and staged fights. Byrne fought eight recorded matches, but accounts of his career focus on the last three, against the Scottish champion Alexander McKay, the English champion Jem Ward, and James Burke for the vacant championship of England. The injuries McKay received in his fight with Byrne resulted in his death the following day, and rioting in his home country of Scotland. His final contest in May 1833 was a gruelling 99 rounds against James Burke that lasted for 3 hours and 6 minutes, the longest ever recorded prize fight. Byrne died three days later as the result of damage to his brain caused by the beating he had received. Read more...

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Selected series: Irish cities

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Featured articles

1981 Irish hunger strike · Abbey Theatre · Aldfrith of Northumbria · Arnold Bax · Book of Kells · Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan · Richard Cantillon · Charles I of England · Tom Crean · Andrew Cunningham · Drapier's Letters · Dave Gallaher · Geography of Ireland · Michael Gomez · Augusta, Lady Gregory · Head VI · House of Plantagenet · International goals scored by Robbie Keane · Irish phonology · Irish Victoria Cross recipients · James Joyce · James II of England · George Moore · Murder of Julia Martha Thomas · Cillian Murphy · Nelson's Pillar · James Nesbitt · Postage stamps of Ireland · Representative peer · Ernest Shackleton · George Bernard Shaw · Charles Villiers Stanford · John Millington Synge · The Revolution Will Not Be Televised · U2 · William Butler Yeats

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Related portals

United Kingdom Northern Ireland Scotland Isle of Man Wales Cornwall England European Union Europe
United Kingdom Northern Ireland Scotland Isle of Man Wales Cornwall England European Union Europe

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