How much do you know about … (Click on the index words for a shortcut to the sections)● geography?● Irish history?● the Irish language?● Irish literature?● Irish traditions? Back Next
GeographyIreland is an island in northwest Europe in the northAtlantic Ocean whose main geographical features include lowcentral plains surrounded by a ring of coastal mountains. Thehighest peak is Carrauntoohil which is 1,041 metres high. Thewestern coastline has many islands and peninsulas.River Shannon (386 km)is the longest river in Ireland andmeets the Atlantic just south of Limerick.Further nformation: GeographyIreland is divided into four provinces, Connacht, Leinster,Munster and Ulster, and 32 counties. Six of the nine Ulstercounties form Northern Ireland and the other 26 form the state,Ireland. The map shows the county boundaries for all 32counties.Further information: Counties of Ireland Back Index Next
HistoryIn the Stone and Bronze Ages, Ireland was inhabited by Picts in the north and apeople called the Erainn in the south. Around the 4th century B.C. , tall, red-haired Celts arrived from Gaul or Galicia. They established a Gaelic civilization. Bythe beginning of the Christian Era, Ireland was divided into five kingdoms—Ulster,Connacht, Leinster, Meath, and Munster. Saint Patrick introduced Christianity in432, and the country developed into a center of Gaelic and Latin learning. Irishmonasteries, the equivalent of universities, attracted intellectuals and sent outmissionaries to many parts of Europe and, some believe, to North America.By the Act of Union (1801), Great Britain and Ireland became the “UnitedKingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.” Anti-British agitation, along withdemands for Irish home rule, led to the Easter Rebellion in Dublin (April 24–29, 1916), in which Irish nationalists attempted to throw off British rule.Ireland joined the European Economic Community (now the EU) in 1973.In the 1990 presidential election, Mary Robinson was elected the republics firstwoman president.In 2005, the IRA renounced armed struggle, and peace again seemed possible.Michael D. Higgins, a leftist politician and poet, was elected president inOctober 2011.Read more: History Back Index Next
The Irish language: GaelicGaelic is an English word for any of three languages which form onehalf of the Celtic language family group. These three Gaelic languagesare: Irish Gaelic Manx Gaelic Scottish GaelicThese three languages are spoken in Ireland, Man and Scotland. TheGaels are the peoples who speak these languages or did so in thepast. Gaelic was in danger of being exterminated in many of thetraditional gaelic speaking areas, but now there is a Gaelic renaissance.To your right you can see the Lords Prayer in Gaelic.In the 2006 census for the Republic, 85,000 people said they used Irishas a daily language outside of the education system, and 1.2 millionsaid they used it occasionally in or out of school.There are alsothousands of Irish speakers in Northern Ireland.Are you interested in hearing and learning some words in Gaelic? Justclick on the following link I want to learn some Irish words and expressions. Back Index Next
Irish literatureIreland has produced some of the Western world’s mostacclaimed writers: James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, GeorgeBernard Shaw, and William Butler Yeats, to name a few.Ireland’s literature is the third oldest in all of Europe,second only to Greek and Latin. Irish literature includes thelove of nature and the love of the homeland, particularly inits poetry. Ireland’s literature also includes a rich andimaginative folklore, with epic heroes, druids, andleprechauns. But perhaps the most distinguishing quality ofIrish literature is its mastery of the satirical. Jonathan Swiftwas especially skilled at satire, evident in essays like “AModest Proposal” and novels such as Gulliver’s Travels.(In the pictures, top to bottom; Swift, Joyce and MacCourt)Click on for further information about Irish writers:Irish writers Back Index Next
Irish traditions and myths Easter SundaySt Patricks Day Many families prepare their homes for EasterMarch 17th marks the day of St Sunday by doing a “spring cleaning” toPatrick, celebrated by millions of prepare the house for blessing by the localpeople around the world. In priest which is a religious ceremony thatIreland, St Patrick’s Day was dates back hundreds of years. They also havealways held as an important a tradition of decorating eggs with differentreligious day to celebrate the colors and designs. Nowadays, chocolateteachings of Christianity by St Easter eggs are given to the children, andPatrick. over five million are sold each year in Ireland. Irish Leprechauns stories Irish step dancingA Leprechaun is a smart, little Today there are many opportunities to watch and enjoy Irishthing who will do anything to dancing. It is still a regular part of social functions. Duringescape capture even if it means the summer months, céilis are held in many Irish towns.turning you into a frog. They Visitors are always welcome to join in and with on the spot,are the exception in the Faerie informal instruction, anyone can quickly master the first stepsrealm as they are the only and soon share the Irish enthusiasm for Irish dance.Faerie that has a trade: they Click on the link and enjoy! Irish step dancingare shoe-makers. Back Index Next
Slán go fóill! Good bye for now!Back Index Start
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