- Country name : Ireland
- Official name : Republic of Ireland.
- System of government : Republic.
- National anthem :
- Area : 70 280 km².
- Capital : Dublin.
- Border countries : United Kingdom
- Population : 3,9 millions (2003)
- Language(s) : English, Irish Gaelic.
- Religions : Roman Catholic (93%), Anglican (3%), none (1%), other (3%).
>The economy of Ireland has been traditionally agricultural. Animal husbandry produces the most income. The main agricultural productions are : turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat, beef and the dairy products.
>Agriculture is now dwarfed by the service sector and industry. Food products, brewing, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery and software are the main industries of the Irish economy.
>The earliest known people in Ireland belonged to the groups that inhabited all the British Isles in prehistoric times.
>6th cent. B.C. : a number of Celtic tribes invaded and conquered Ireland and established their distinctive culture.
>Saint Patrick introduced Christianity in 432.
>12th cent. : The English conquest of Ireland began with Henry II of England.
>The Irish rebelled three times during the reign of Elisabeth I (1558-1603) and were brutally repressed. Many of the Catholic inhabitants were driven off their lands.
>By the Act of Union (1801), Great Britain and Ireland became the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland".
>1845-1849 : Great Potato Famine. Hundreds of thousands people perished from hunger and disease. Many thousands of others emigrated to the United States. The population dropped from an estimated 8,5 million in 1845 to 6,55 million in 1851.
>1916 : Nationalists stage Easter Rising, seizing the General Post Office in Dublin and proclaiming an independent Irish Republic. In 1919, a guerilla campaign by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) against British forces begins with heavy casualties on both sides.
>1921 : Anglo-Irish Treaty established the Irish Free State, an independent dominion of the British Crown with full internal self-government rights, partitioned from Northern Ireland which remains part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A civil war ensued.
>In 1949, the Republic of Ireland was proclaimed and withdrew from the Commonwealth.
>From the 1960s onwards : period of troubles due to the violence and terrorist acts between Republicans and Unionists in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
>In 1973, Ireland joined the European Economic Community (now the European Union).
>In 1993, the Irish and the British governments signed the Downing Street Declaration, a joint peace initiative in which they pledged to seek mutually agreeable political structures in Northern Ireland and between the two islands.
>In 1998 : The Good Friday Agreement on a political settlement for Northern Ireland is approved by voters in referendums in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.
>2002 : Irish voters endorse Nice Treaty by comfortable margin in second referendum.