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Ireland, which is often called the Irish Republic to distinguish it from British Northern Ireland, emerged from the conflict that marked its birth as an independent state to become one of Europe's economic success stories. Ireland is a small independent nation situated on the West Coast of Europe, with a population of under four million people. Although they do have their own language and culture, English is the predominant language spoken in Ireland today. Irish people are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality. As the gateway of Europe, this modern nation whose vibrant Celtic origin continues to regulate the pulse of the country, offers a truly rewarding experience for the visiting student.
When many students think of Ireland, or ?ire in Irish, they imagine the "Emerald Isle" – an almost magical land of rich greenery, vibrant Celtic music and traditions, heavy rainfall, cozy pubs and maybe even the occasional leprechaun. And while the Republic of Ireland may be all of those things (although the leprechauns are probably a stretch), it is also a modern nation with an excellent higher education system, the second highest per capita GDP in the EU and a host of opportunities for international students. In 2005, The Economist even rated it the top country in which to live.
Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry and services. Although the exports sector, dominated by foreign multinationals, remains a key component of Ireland's economy, construction has most recently fueled economic growth along with strong consumer spending and business investment.
Temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time.
- Official name: Ireland (Irish: ?ire)
- Population: 4.5 million (UN, 2009)
- Capital: Dublin
- Currency : euro (EUR)
- Area: 70,182 sq km (27,097 sq miles)
- Major languages: English, Irish
- Major religion: Christianity
- Life expectancy: 78 years (men), 82 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: 1 euro = 100 cents
- Main exports: Machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs
- GNI per capita: US $49,590 (World Bank, 2008)
- International dialling code: +353
English (official) is the language generally used, Irish (official) (Gaelic or Gaeilge) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard note: English is the predominant second language