Lying to the northwest of continental Europe, just off the coast of Great Britain separated by the Irish Sea, lies Ireland, a country noted for its distinctive culture, rich heritage and breathtaking landscape. Known as Eire (in Gaelic), Ireland is revered for its breathtaking landscape of stirring coastal scenery and rolling distinctive green countryside of mountains, valleys and lakes further inland which gives its distinctive nickname: the Emerald Isle.
Politically the island of Ireland is separated into 2 distinctive countries the republic of Ireland to the south, an independent state that makes up 5/6 of the land mass with 26 counties and Northern Ireland to the north comprising of 6 counties (Derry, Antrim, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Armagh and Down) and which forms part of the United Kingdom. Whilst both are a part of the EU only the republic has the Euro as its currency, Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom trades in sterling.
Ireland also has its own distinctive Gaelic culture known for its traditional Irish music and dance. Whilst the primary spoken language of choice in both regions is English, Ireland still carries its original Irish Gaelic language now as a secondary language used mainly for ceremonial purposes and signage; spoken only in specialised Gaeltacht regions in the republic.
In sport the Gaelic games: Gaelic football, hurling and camogie are distinctive indigenous to Ireland and play a huge role in our culture and national psyche. Aside from these traditional sports, soccer (English football) rugby, greyhound racing, horse racing and equestrian sports are popular with golf in particular a noted sport. Ireland boasts some of the world’s best golf courses and (both north and south) counting golfers of the calibre of Padriag Harrington, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke among its many sporting stars.
For the visitor to Ireland the beautiful landscape is just one of its main draws, however its rich heritage, distinctive culture, lively cities, unique heritage and the fine food in its many restaurants are others. The landscape offers the visitor all manner of activities and travel options on their visit from horse riding, hiking, surfing and watersports along the coastline to more sedate golfing vacations. While predominantly rural, the main cities of Dublin (its capital), Cork, Galway and Waterford in the south and Derry and Belfast in the North all bustle with life.
Below is some more detailed information About Ireland that may be of use to you when planning your Ireland Vacation:
Ireland National Holidays and Important Days
Historic Irish Pubs
Ireland Genealogy Research
Some Interesting Information about Ireland