Ireland in a Nutshell - Country Information

Information on this page is collected from different sources, some own stuff is added. However, there is no guarantee for correctness or information being up-to-date. This collection is meant as a very brief overview to give a feeling for the country.

The island of Ireland, named Hibernia by the Romans, is the third-largest island in Europe. The sobriquet "Emerald Isle" it earned from it's exuberant vegetation.

Stretching 485 km from North to South and 275 km from East to West the Island spans an area of 70.273 square kilometers. 
Central lowlands are surrounded by mountaneous areas and sea cliffs on the west coast.
The highest mountain is Carrauntoohil with 1401 m above sea level. 

A large number of lakes (with Lough Neagh as the largest), the fascinating, 1448 km long coastline and the River Shannon running from North-East to South West (the longest river of Ireland) form a rich base of water. (Unfortunately water regularly comes from the wrong direction - rain is not rare in Ireland ...).

The colors of the Irish flag represent the new-earned freedom of religion in the Irish free state, where green stands for the Catholics, orange for the Protestants and white for the peace between them. The flag was established around 1922 after the civil wars, when the free state was founded.

The pictures in the flag left represent three typical Irish things: The omnipresent green, mottled with sheep; the white of a traditional cottage; the orange of the Monbretia bush.


More inofficial is the shamrock as a symbol of Ireland, still being registered offcially by the Irish state at the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

It is used by tourist boards, sports teams and airlines and is well known worldwide to symbolize Ireland.

It's origins are founded by St.Patrick, who explained the holy trinity with the help of the threefolded shamrock to the pagan kings.

The scientific name of shamrock is Oxalis acetosella.


From the middle ages the harp is the official coat of arms, as the seals of the government officials . The one serving as example is the 14th century Brian Boru harp, today exhibited in the Trinity colleges's longroom in Dublin.

The harp is also backside of Irelands Euro coins - the Republic is part of the European union, while Northern Ireland as part of United Kigdom is stuck to Pound Sterling. 


A 360km long country border separates the two political areas:

The Republic of Ireland

with it's capital Dublin. "Éire" is the Irish Gaelic name.

Northern Ireland

with it's capital Belfast, belonging to the United Kingdom. The state is often referred to as "Ulster", "North of Ireland" or "Six Counties".

Which name is used depends on the one using it (unionists often choose differently than nationalists or republicans). Ulster as the historic province also included Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan, which are today in the Republic of Ireland.

More detailed info on provinces and counties can be found here: Provinces & Counties


The Irish language, called Gaeilge, arrived with the Celts in the last centuries before common era. 

It is still kept and supported  in some areas, normally signposted "An Gaeltacht", covering extensive parts of Galway, Kerry, Mayo, Donegal and smaller areas in counties Cork, Meath and Waterford. 

Here Irish is still spoken as community language by approximately 86.000 people besides English.


A temperate, maritime climate, supported by the North Atlantic drift (a powerful, warm current), gives mild winters and cool summers with considerable humidity. Palms are not seldomly seen, especially in the Southern parts.


Natural Resources are zinc, natural gas, lead, barite, copper, gypsum, limestone, dolomite, peat and silver

Some definitions ...

Court tombs Stone chamber covered in earth, with a courtyard in front of it
Portal tombs / Dolmens 3 or more vertical stones with a large stone on the top
Passage tombs Stone passage into the center of a earthen hill
Wedge tombs Stone chamber covered with earth


Current statistics about Ireland can be derived from:

The Irish National Anthem in Gaelic and English

The Soldier's song was written in 1907 by Peadar Kearney and published in 1916, where it replaced "God Save Ireland".

We'll sing a song, a soldier's song, With cheering rousing chorus, As round our blazing fires we throng, The starry heavens o'er us; Impatient for the coming fight, And as we wait the morning's light, Here in the silence of the night, We'll chant a soldier's song. 

Chorus: Soldiers are we whose lives are pledged to Ireland; Some have come from a land beyond the wave. Sworn to be free, No more our ancient sire land Shall shelter the despot or the slave. Tonight we man the gap of danger In Erin's cause, come woe or weal 'Mid cannons' roar and rifles peal, 

We'll chant a soldier's song In valley green, on towering crag, Our fathers fought before us, And conquered 'neath the same old flag xf That's proudly floating o'er us. We're children of a fighting race, That never yet has known disgrace, And as we march, the foe to face, We'll chant a soldier's song 


Sons of the Gael! Men of the Pale! The long watched day is breaking; The serried ranks of Inisfail Shall set the Tyrant quaking. Our camp fires now are burning low; See in the east a silv'ry glow, Out yonder waits the Saxon foe, So chant a soldier's song. 


Seo dhibh a Seo dhibh a cha/irde duan O/glaigh, Cathre/imeach briomhar ceolmhar, A/r dtinte cna/mh go buacach ta/id, 'S an spe/ir go min re/altogach Is fonnmhar faobhrach sinn chun gleo 'S go tiu/nmhar gle/ roimh thi/ocht do'n lo/ Fe/ chiu/nas chaomh na hoiche ar seol: Seo libh canai/dh Amhra/n na bhFiann 

Curfa/: Sinne Firnna Fa/il A ta/ fe/ gheall ag E/irinn, buion da/r slua Thar toinn do ra/inig chugainn, Fe/ mho/id bheith saor. Sean ti/r a/r sinsir feasta Ni/ fhagfar fe/'n tiora/n na/ fe'/n tra/il Anocht a the/am sa bhearna bhaoil, Le gean ar Ghaeil chun ba/is no/ saoil Le guna screach fe/ la/mhach na bpile/ar Seo libh canai/dh Amhra/n na bhFiann. 

Cois ba/nta re/idhe, ar a/rdaibh sle/ibhe, Ba bhuachach a/r sinsir romhainn, Ag la/mhach go tre/an fe/'n sa/r-bhrat se/in Ta/ thuas sa ghaoith go seolta Ba dhu/chas riamh d'a/r gcine cha/idh Gan iompa/il siar o/ imirt a/ir, 'S ag siu/l mar iad i gcoinne na/mhad Seo libh, canai/dh Amhra/n na bhFiann 


A bhui/on na/ch fann d'fhuil Ghaeil is Gall, Sin breacadh lae na saoirse, Ta sce/imhle 's scanradh i gcroi/the namhad, Roimh ranna laochra a/r dtire. A/r dtinte is tre/ith gan spre/ach anois, Sin luisne ghle/ san spe/ir anoir, 'S an bi/obha i raon na bpile/ar agaibh: Seo libh, canai/dh Amhra/n na bh Fiann.