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 postage stamps of Ireland are issued by the postal authority of the independent Irish state. Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland when the world's first postage stamps were issued in 1840. These stamps, and all subsequent British issues, were used in Ireland until the new Irish Government assumed power in 1922. Beginning on 17 February 1922, existing British stamps were overprinted with Irish text to provide some definitives until separate Irish issues became available. Following the overprints, a regular series of definitive stamps was produced by the new Department of Posts and Telegraphs, using domestic designs. These definitives were issued on 6 December 1922; the first was a 2d stamp, depicting a map of Ireland (including Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom). Since then new images, and additional values as needed, have produced a total of nine series of definitives.

These were the major stamp productions for everyday use. Commemorative stamps first appeared in 1929, and these now appear several times a year, celebrating many aspects of Irish life, such as notable events and anniversaries, Irish life and culture, and many famous Irish people. Some definitive and commemorative stamps have been produced in miniature sheet, booklet and coil configurations in addition to the common sheet layout. Postage dues and airmails complete the stamp issues of the two, sequential, Irish stamp-issuing authorities. Two styles of watermark were used though the overprinted issues came with the watermarks of the British stamps provided for overprinting by the British Post Office.

Oifig an Phoist, the Irish Post Office, was the section of The Department of Posts and Telegraphs which issued all Irish stamps up to 1984. After the division of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs into two semi-state organisations in 1984, An Post took over the responsibility for all Irish postal services including the issuing of postage stamps. Read more...

Selected biography

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Mary Therese Winifred Robinson (Irish: Máire Mhic Róibín; born 21 May 1944) was the first female President of Ireland, serving from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002. She first rose to prominence as an academic, barrister, campaigner and member of the Irish senate (1969–1989). She defeated Fianna Fáil's Brian Lenihan and Fine Gael's Austin Currie in the 1990 presidential election becoming, as an Independent candidate nominated by the Labour Party, the Workers' Party of Ireland and independent senators, the first elected president in the office's history not to have the support of Fianna Fáil.

She is credited by many as having revitalised and liberalised a previously conservative political office. She resigned the presidency four months ahead of the end of her term of office to take up her post in the United Nations. Robinson has been Honorary President of Oxfam International since 2002, she is Chair of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and is also a founding member and Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders. Robinson is also one of the European members of the controversial Trilateral Commission.

She serves on many boards including the GAVI Fund. Robinson’s newest project is Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative, which promotes equitable trade and development, more humane migration policies and better responses to HIV/AIDS in Africa. The organization also promotes women's leadership and supports capacity building and good governance in developing countries. She is Chancellor of the University of Dublin. Since 2004, she has also been Professor of Practice in International Affairs at Columbia University, where she teaches international human rights. Robinson also visits other colleges and universities where she lectures on human rights.

In 2004, she received Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award for her work in promoting human rights. 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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