Ireland Country Facts

Eire – Ireland
Capital city Dublin
Surface 70,273 km²
Population 4,593,000
Road network length 117,318 km
Length of highway network 993 km
First highway 1983
Motorway name Motorway
Traffic drives Left
License plate code IRL

Ireland (Ireland) is a country in Western Europe. The country is located on the island of Ireland of the same name and has 4.5 million inhabitants. The capital is Dublin.


Ireland is a large island in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain. The island is divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The country of Ireland measures about 400 kilometers from north to south and a maximum of 250 kilometers from west to east. Distance to Walesis more than 80 kilometers. Ireland’s east and south coasts are flat to sloping, with minor elevation changes in the coastal area. The west coast is rougher, with low mountains. Scattered across western Ireland are mountain ranges that, despite their low elevation, are often above the tree line. The appearance of the mountain range is therefore much more Alpine than the height suggests. The 1,038 meter high Carrauntoohil is Ireland’s highest point, located in the southwest. The middle and east of Ireland are sloping to slightly hilly and consists largely of meadows. Ireland has relatively few large areas of woodland, although there are larger forests here and there, most of Ireland’s countryside is open. About 12% of Ireland’s surface is forested, much of which is production forest. Agriculture is practiced on 64% of the area of ​​Ireland. Ireland also has many peatlands and short rivers. The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland at 386 km.


Ireland today is a highly developed country with a modern service sector. Since the 1980s, the country has developed strongly from an agricultural economy to a service economy. There are relatively many tech companies in Ireland, attracted by the low taxes. Ireland grew very rapidly during the 1990s, a phenomenon known as the ‘Celtic Tiger’. However, a major real estate bubble emerged, which burst in 2007, leaving Ireland one of the hardest hit countries from the economic crisis as of 2008. The Irish economy contracted 11.3% in 2009, the worst contraction since the 1950s, but gradually started to grow again.


Ireland has undergone tumultuous demographic changes. From the mid-18th century, the population began to grow rapidly, from 3 million in 1740 to over 8 million by 1850. However, the Irish famine from 1845 to 1850 led to massive emigration to North America, Australia and New Zealand. Population halved over a period of 50 years, and Ireland has never since reached its mid-19th century population peak, a trend that has not been seen in other European countries. The population decline in Ireland stabilized to just under 3 million in the 1920s and only started to grow substantially again in the 1970s. In the period 1990-2008, Ireland had the highest population growth rate in the European Union, due to a high birth rate and a high migration balance.

The country today is relatively rural in character. The only major city is the capital Dublin, which has 1.2 million inhabitants, a quarter of the Irish population. The city of Cork is the only other city with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Ireland has only 5 cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

Irish is the official national language in Ireland, but in practice English is dominant, Irish is spoken in everyday life mainly in isolated rural areas in western Ireland. In large parts of Ireland, Irish is hardly spoken.


The island of Ireland originally belonged to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In the early 20th century, an increasingly strong separatist movement began to emerge in Ireland. On December 6, 1922, the entire island was granted self-government, the Irish Free State. A month later, Northern Ireland rejoined the United Kingdom. However, Ireland was not independent, it remained part of the British Empire. In 1922-1923, a year-long civil war in Ireland over the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. Within this treaty, Ireland would not become fully independent, but a dominion like Canada and Australia. The Civil War ended with a victory for the pro-Treaty side. In 1937 a new constitution was enacted in which Ireland claimed the entire island, and the division of Ireland and Northern Ireland in 1922 was considered illegal.

Ireland remained neutral during World War II. In 1948 the Republic of Ireland Act was passed and came into effect a year later, with Ireland breaking all ties with the United Kingdom and becoming a fully independent republic. Ireland became a member of the United Nations in 1955 and joined the European Community in 1973. However, the Northern Ireland issue remained a problem, especially during ‘The Troubles’ in the 1970s-90s. Violent incidents mainly occurred in Northern Ireland, but occasionally occurred in the Republic of Ireland. The Northern Ireland conflict ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. As part of this, the territorial claim to Northern Ireland was terminated. Residents of Northern Ireland could then choose to retain British or Irish citizenship.


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