Country Information: Ireland


  • Capital: Dublin
  • Population: 4.7 Mio.
  • Area: 70.282 qkm
  • Climate: temperate maritime climate with frequent changes in weather and frequent rain
  • National language: Irish, English
  • Religion: about 87% Roman Catholic, 3% Anglican (Church of Ireland), 0.8% Muslims and other other small groups
  • Government: parliamentary democratic republic


Geography

The island of Ireland is the furthest west of the two great British Isles. Ireland roughly comprises the area of ​​Bavaria, but no place is more than 110 km from the coast. The Irish coastline is characterized by mountain ranges and the plane interior is characterized by many marshes, lakes and the river system of the Shannon.

Population

Dublin is the capital of Ireland and there are about 4,2 Mill. inhabitants on the island. The number of population is increasing 1,1 percent each year, men reach an average age of 75 years, whereas women reach 80 years on average. About 60 percent of the population lives in the cities and the remaining part lives in smaller city communities or rural villages. Dublin inhabits about 1 Mill. people, which makes it the biggest or all Irish cities. Cork is the second largest city and inhabits only 190,000 people. You may also have heard of Limerick and Galway, which also count as bigger cities. With only 60 inhabitants per km ² Ireland has become one of the most sparsely populated countries in the EU.

Climate

The Irish climate is characterized by mild winters and cool summers. Due to the low pressure systems passing through the island and the westerlies, the weather in Ireland is predominantly changeable and windy. There usually is a high possibility of rain, which don’t last long on the coastal areas. There is a larger annual precipitation in the interior.

History

  • until 6000 BC.: settlement of the first tribes on Irish territory
  • from around 300 BC. Celts migrate to Ireland
  • from 9th century the first cities were founded by Vikings
  • Middle of the 15th century: the influence of the British empire diminishs in Ireland
  • 1541: The English king calls himself the king of Ireland
  • 1801: Federation of Ireland with England
  • 1845-1849: greatest famine in Irish history
  • 1916: Easter Rising in Dublin
  • 1919-1921: Irish War of Independence led by the IRA against the British
  • 1945: Proclamation of the Republic of Ireland
  • 30/01/1972: Bloody Sunday - British shoot unarmed Irish
  • 1981: hunger strike by IRA and INLA prisoners
  • 1985: Anglo-Irish Agreement
  • 1999: Ireland's autonomy by the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • 2007: Strong collapse of the Irish economy through the financial crisis

 

Economy and political situation

Despite of the positive influence of the globalization on Ireland’s economy, the economy had to face big losses due to the international financial crisis. Since 2008 the country is in recession.

Especially the construction industry had to face a recession in orders, as well as the commercial industry. Moreover, the crisis had a strong negative impact on the unemployment rate, which was around 12 percent  in 2009. The initially increasing number of immigrants in Ireland decreased. The Irish government responded to the economic slump with a comprehensive guarantee for deposits and liabilities of Irish banks.

Political situation

Ireland is a parliamentary democratic constitutional state, which is based on the Constitution of 1937. President Mary McAleese was confirmed by the re-election in fall 2004. However, the Irish President has only ceremonial duties, similar to the German. The President is represented by a Constitutional Commission, consisting of the President of the Supreme Court (Chief Justice) and the Speaker of the House and Senate.

The Irish Parliament (Oireachtas) is formed of two chambers, the lower house (Dáil Éireann) and the Senate (Seanad Éireann). A Commission of personality and proportional representation in 41 constituencies elects the MPs at least every five years. Overall, the Irish Senate has 60 seats. The Prime Minister nominates 11 members of the Senate, 43 are selected by a professional representative selection panel of five social groups, and the remaining six come from the academic world.

Relations between Germany and Ireland have traditionally been very friendly. Ireland is a member of the European Union since its early days and is working together with Germany at the political level.