Republic of Ireland General Facts

The island of Ireland includes the Republic of Ireland which occupies about 83 percent of the island, and Northern Ireland, in the northeast which is part of the United Kingdom.

Ireland is made up of four provinces: Leinster, Munster, Connaught and Ulster in Northern Ireland. Each province contains several counties.

Capital city
Republic of Ireland: Dublin
Northern Ireland: Belfast

Area
70,273 km2, 27,133 square miles

Population
approximately 4,5 million

Languages
The official language of the Republic of Ireland is Irish, or Irish Gaelic (a Celtic language) but English is the principal language of communication and commerce. Irish is taught in schools, but few native speakers remain.

People
87% of the population is Irish. Ireland is home to people from all over the globe, especially in Dublin. These countries include Poland, United Kingdom, China, India, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Philippines, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia. The Polish minority in the Republic of Ireland is largest minority in the country.

Religion
Most people are Christian (87%), although all other religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism are freely practised. About 4% of Irish follow no particular religion.

Government
The Republic of Ireland is a constitutional republic with a parliamentary system of government. The Oireachtas is a bicameral national parliament composed of the President of Ireland and the two Houses of the Oireachtas: Seanad Éireann (Senate) and Dáil Éireann (House of Representatives).  
The President serves as head of state, and is elected for a seven-year term and may be re-elected once. The Taoiseach serves as the head of government and is appointed by the President upon the nomination of the Dáil.

Currency
The Republic of Ireland adopted the euro currency in 2002. The sign for the Euro (EUR) is €.

Time zone
29 October – 26 March: Greenwich Mean Time
25 March – 29 October: GMT + 1

Climate
See When to come

Weights & measures
Historically, Ireland as well as Britain, used the Imperial System, the Republic of Ireland has officially changed over to the metric system since entering the European Union, with distances on new road signs being metric since 1977 and speed limits being metric since 2005.

Electricity
Voltage is 240 volts AC at 50HZ. Appliances generally use standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets.

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