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This page was last updated on 4 December 2008


Map of Ireland



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Ireland Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
Celtic tribes arrived on the island between 600-150 B.C. Invasions by Norsemen that began in the late 8th century were finally ended when King Brian BORU defeated the Danes in 1014. English invasions began in the 12th century and set off more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by fierce rebellions and harsh repressions. A failed 1916 Easter Monday Rebellion touched off several years of guerrilla warfare that in 1921 resulted in independence from the UK for 26 southern counties; six northern (Ulster) counties remained part of the UK. In 1949, Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth; it joined the European Community in 1973. Irish governments have sought the peaceful unification of Ireland and have cooperated with Britain against terrorist groups. A peace settlement for Northern Ireland is being implemented with some difficulties. In 2006, the Irish and British governments developed and began to implement the St. Andrews Agreement, building on the Good Friday Agreement approved in 1998.
   Geography    Ireland Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
53 00 N, 8 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Europe
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 70,280 sq km
land: 68,890 sq km
water: 1,390 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 360 km
border countries: UK 360 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
1,448 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 16.82%
permanent crops: 0.03%
other: 83.15% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Total renewable water resources:
Definition Field Listing
46.8 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Definition Field Listing
total: 1.18 cu km/yr (23%/77%/0%)
per capita: 284 cu m/yr (1994)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe; over 40% of the population resides within 100 km of Dublin
   People    Ireland Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4,156,119 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 20.9% (male 448,333/female 418,476)
15-64 years: 67.3% (male 1,400,222/female 1,398,194)
65 years and over: 11.8% (male 218,459/female 272,435) (2008 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 34.6 years
male: 33.9 years
female: 35.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.133% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14.33 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.77 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.76 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 5.14 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.63 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 78.07 years
male: 75.44 years
female: 80.88 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.85 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,800 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
fewer than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Irishman(men), Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural)
adjective: Irish
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Irish 87.4%, other white 7.5%, Asian 1.3%, black 1.1%, mixed 1.1%, unspecified 1.6% (2006 census)
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Roman Catholic 87.4%, Church of Ireland 2.9%, other Christian 1.9%, other 2.1%, unspecified 1.5%, none 4.2% (2006 census)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
English (official) is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (official) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Definition Field Listing
total: 18 years
male: 17 years
female: 18 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.7% of GDP (2005)
   Government    Ireland Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Ireland
local long form: none
local short form: Eire
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
republic, parliamentary democracy
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
name: Dublin
geographic coordinates: 53 19 N, 6 14 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
26 counties; Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
6 December 1921 (from UK by treaty)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
adopted 1 July 1937 by plebiscite; effective 29 December 1937
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on English common law, substantially modified by indigenous concepts; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Mary MCALEESE (since 11 November 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Brian COWEN (since 7 May 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with previous nomination by the prime minister and approval of the House of Representatives
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 31 October 1997 (next scheduled for October 2011); note - Mary MCALEESE appointed to a second term when no other candidate qualified for the 2004 presidential election; prime minister (taoiseach) nominated by the House of Representatives and appointed by the president
election results: Mary MCALEESE elected president; percent of vote - Mary MCALEESE 44.8%, Mary BANOTTI 29.6%
note: government coalition - Fianna Fail, the Green Party, the Progressive Democrats, and independent members of Parliament
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral Parliament or Oireachtas consists of the Senate or Seanad Eireann (60 seats; 49 members elected by the universities and from candidates put forward by five vocational panels, 11 are nominated by the prime minister; to serve five-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Dail Eireann (166 seats; members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held in July 2007 (next to be held by July 2012); House of Representatives - last held 24 May 2007 (next to be held by May 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Fianna Fail 28, Fine Gael 14, Labor Party 6, Progressive Democrats 2, Green Party 2, Sein Fein 1, independents 7; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Fianna Fail 41.6%, Fine Gael 27.3%, Labor Party 10.1%, Sinn Fein 6.9%, Green Party 4.7%, Progressive Democrats 2.7%, other 6.7%; seats by party - Fianna Fail 78, Fine Gael 51, Labor Party 20, Sinn Fein 4, Green Party 6, Progressive Democrats 2, other 5
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Fianna Fail [Brian COWEN]; Fine Gael [Enda KENNY]; Green Party [John GORMLEY]; Labor Party [Eamon GILMORE]; Progressive Democrats [Mary HARNEY, acting leader]; Sinn Fein [Gerry ADAMS]; Socialist Party [Joe HIGGINS]; The Workers' Party [Sean GARLAND]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Families Acting for Innocent Relatives or FAIR [Brian McCONNELL] (seek compensation for victims of violence); Families Against Intimidation and Terror or FAIT (oppose terrorism); Gaeltacht Civil Rights Campaign (Coiste Cearta Sibhialta na Gaeilge) or CCSG (encourages the use of the Irish language and campaigns for greater civil rights in Irish speaking areas); Irish Republican Army or IRA (terrorist group); Keep Ireland Open (environmental group); Midland Railway Action Group or MRAG [Willie ALLEN] (transportation promoters); Rail Users Ireland (formerly the Platform 11 - transportation promoters); 32 Country Sovereignty Movement or 32CSM (supports a fully sovereign Ireland); Ulster Defence Association or UDA (terrorist group)
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ADB (nonregional members), Australia Group, BIS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, MONUC, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (observer), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael COLLINS
chancery: 2234 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 462-3939
FAX: [1] (202) 232-5993
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas C. FOLEY
embassy: 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [353] (1) 668-8777
FAX: [353] (1) 668-9946
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and orange; similar to the flag of Cote d'Ivoire, which is shorter and has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green; also similar to the flag of Italy, which is shorter and has colors of green (hoist side), white, and red
   Economy    Ireland Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging 6% in 1995-2007. 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. Property prices have risen more rapidly in Ireland in the decade up to 2006 than in any other developed world economy. Per capita GDP is 40% above that of the four big European economies and the second highest in the EU behind Luxembourg, and in 2007 surpassed that of the United States. The Irish Government has implemented a series of national economic programs designed to curb price and wage inflation, invest in infrastructure, increase labor force skills, and promote foreign investment. A slowdown in the property market, more intense global competition, and increased costs, however, have compelled government economists to lower Ireland's growth forecast slightly for 2008. Ireland joined in circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU nations.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$191.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$258.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$46,600 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 5%
industry: 46%
services: 49% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.217 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 6%
industry: 27%
services: 67% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.6% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 27.2% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
32 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
26.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $93.22 billion
expenditures: $92.46 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
24.9% of GDP (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.9% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.52% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the Euro Area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 15 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders
Stock of quasi money:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$768.9 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; beef, dairy products
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
steel, lead, zinc, silver, aluminum, barite, and gypsum mining processing; food products, brewing, textiles, clothing; chemicals, pharmaceuticals; machinery, rail transportation equipment; glass and crystal; software, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
24.13 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
24.09 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
1 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
2.045 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
192,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
23,360 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
204,400 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
546.7 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.895 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.348 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.505 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-$14.12 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$115.5 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
UK 18.7%, US 17.9%, Belgium 14.5%, Germany 7.4%, France 5.8% (2007)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$84.76 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
data processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
UK 38.3%, US 11.3%, Germany 9.7%, Netherlands 5%, France 4.2% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$926.2 million (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.841 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$191.4 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$139.6 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$114.1 billion (2005)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
euro (EUR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)
   Communications    Ireland Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.112 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.94 million (2007)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: modern digital system using cable and microwave radio relay
domestic: microwave radio relay
international: country code - 353; landing point for the Hibernia-Atlantic submarine cable with links to the US, Canada, and UK; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 9, FM 106, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
4 (many repeaters) (2001)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.ie
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.242 million (2008)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.708 million (2007)
   Transportation    Ireland Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
34 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 15
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 5 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 16 (2007)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
gas 1,855 km (2007)
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 3,237 km
broad gauge: 1,872 km 1.600-m gauge (37 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,365 km 0.914-m gauge (operated by the Irish Peat Board to transport peat to power stations and briquetting plants) (2006)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 96,602 km
paved: 96,602 km (includes 200 km of expressways) (2003)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
956 km (pleasure craft only) (2007)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 29
by type: cargo 25, chemical tanker 2, container 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 2 (US 2)
registered in other countries: 21 (Bahamas 2, Bermuda 1, Bulgaria 1, Cyprus 3, Isle of Man 1, Marshall Islands 1, Netherlands 10, Slovakia 1, UK 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Cork, Dublin, Shannon Foynes
   Military    Ireland Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Irish Defense Forces (Oglaigh na h-Eireann): Army (includes Naval Service and Air Corps (Aer-Chor na h-Eireann)) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
17-25 years of age for male or female voluntary military service (17-27 years of age for the Naval Service); enlistees 16 years of age can be recruited for apprentice specialist positions; maximum obligation 12 years; 17-35 years of age for the Reserve Defense Forces; EU citizenship or 5-year residence in Ireland required (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 16-49: 1,024,635
females age 16-49: 1,024,276 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 16-49: 854,982
females age 16-49: 852,592 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Definition Field Listing
male: 28,610
female: 27,095 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Ireland Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Ireland, Iceland, and the UK dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
transshipment point for and consumer of hashish from North Africa to the UK and Netherlands and of European-produced synthetic drugs; increasing consumption of South American cocaine; minor transshipment point for heroin and cocaine destined for Western Europe; despite recent legislation, narcotics-related money laundering - using bureaux de change, trusts, and shell companies involving the offshore financial community - remains a concern

This page was last updated on 4 December 2008


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