Welcome to Ireland
The country of Ireland is located on an island to the west of Great Britain. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Irish Sea to the east, and Northern Ireland, which is actually a part of the United Kingdom, to the north. Thought to be inhabited since 6000 BC, Ireland’s soil is rich with archeological finds, including Newgrange and Knowth, two megalithic passage tombs in County Meath that date back to approximately 3200 BC. Some of the key events in Irish history that contribute to the country’s heritage are the arrival of St. Patrick, who is credited with introducing Christianity to the island around the year 433 BC, the invasion of the Vikings in 795 AD, which led to the founding of Dublin, and the tragic years of the Great Famine from 1845-49. The Great Famine, which was caused by a potato blight, affected the Irish population in two ways; it not only caused over one million Irish deaths, but it also led over two million Irish people to emigrate to other parts of the world. For this reason, the Irish diaspora is said to consist of 80 million people all around the globe, which may be the reason why so many of Ireland’s visitors feel right at home.
Today Ireland has a growing population of 4.3 million people, and has often been ranked as one of the most peaceful and livable countries on Earth. One of the main attractions for visitors and newcomers of Ireland is its stunning natural beauty that proudly boasts over 40 shades of green. In addition to the picturesque hills of the countryside, Ireland displays varying natural wonders—from the rocky landscape of the Burren in northwest County Clare and the volcanic basalt columns of the mythical Giant’s Causeway to the nearly 1,500 km of gorgeous coastline. Ireland’s longest river, the River Shannon, flows from the slopes of the Cuilcagh Mountains in County Cavan to Loop Head and finally the Atlantic Ocean in County Clare, providing a beautiful and lush setting for outdoor enthusiasts of all types.
Another aspect of Ireland that allures people from all over the world is its people. The Irish are well-known for their fun-loving culture full of lively music, dancing, traditions, myths, and festivals. Although foreigners may come to Ireland thinking that the pub is just a place to have a drink, they soon learn that Irish pubs serve much more than Guinness. Irish pubs are wonderful places to hear local music and poetry, have friendly conversations with your neighbors, enjoy a good meal and fall in love with everything Irish.