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Ireland Geography and Population

Ireland - geography

Ireland Geography

This article on the geography of Ireland describes the 84% of the island of Ireland that belong to the Republic of Ireland.

Population

The population is predominantly of Celtic origin with less Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian elements. From the mid-1800's. population growth was marked by violent upheavals. Famine as a result of a potato disease in the 1840's resulted in the death of up to 1 million. Irish and a violent emigration. From 1840-1920 approximately 4.5 million Irish, first especially to the United States and later mainly to Great Britain. The population was almost halved in the following hundred years after 1840. Only after 1961 did it begin to increase slightly, due to a high European birth rate by European standards. Ireland has in the early 2000-t. a population growth of 2%; approximately half of the growth is due to immigration. The western regions and rural areas were characterized by emigration until 1991. In the 1990's, 1 /3 of those born in Ireland residing outside the country. A particular Irish minority is the traveling people, also called tinkers. They are estimated to amount to approximately 23,000 non-residents.

Ireland Population

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Provinces and counties with population (2002)
Leinster 2.1 million
Carlow 46,000
Dublin 1.12 million
Kildare 163,900
Kilkenny 80,300
Laoighis 58,800
Longford 31,100
Louth 101,800
Meath 134,000
Offaly 63,700
Westmeath 71,900
Wexford 116,600
Wicklow 114,700
Munster 1.1 million
Clare 103,300
Cork 447,800
Kerry 132,500
Limerick 175,300
Tipperary 140,100
Waterford 101,500
Connaught 464,300
Galway 209,100
Leitrim 25,800
Mayo 117,400
Roscommon 53,800
Sligo 58,200
Ulster (part of) 246,700
Cavan 5650
Donegal 137,600
'Monaghan 52,600

Industries

A very low employment rate for women and a high birth rate means that only approximately half of the population is in the labor market. Until the mid-1990's, Ireland was considered by the EU to be one of the member states in particular need of infrastructure and regional aid to alleviate poverty and structural unemployment. The country then had a high unemployment rate - 15-17%. Then the trend reversed; since 2000, unemployment has been at 4-5%, and Ireland is sometimes referred to as the "Celtic Tiger", having had growth rates on a par with the Southeast Asian "tiger economies". Employment is broken down by agriculture, 8%, manufacturing and construction, 29%, private and public services, 64% (2002).

There is some regional inequality. Income is above average in Dublin and in the county of Kildare east of Dublin. The poor areas are to the west and in the border areas up to Northern Ireland.

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Industries

After the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1921, the industry was based on the processing of agricultural products (slaughterhouses, sugar refineries and breweries) and a substitute production. The small freehold farms were to be supported and imports of English industrial goods restricted. Business promotion schemes were established from 1958 to make it advantageous for foreign groups to invest in Ireland, e.g. a low corporate tax of 0-10% and start-up support. Business development was coordinated through a national business office, IDA, Irish Development Agency, and the effort has has meant that Ireland has received a number of foreign investments in the chemical and electronics industries; For example, Apple has established a computer assembly plant in Cork, and in general, Ireland has seen strong growth in the industry since the 1960's with the establishment of capital-intensive and export-oriented companies. The presence of an English-speaking workforce and a low wage level have had an impact on these investments. A large part of the industry is characterized by small businesses targeting the national market. Some of the traditional industrial industries have declined, and several cities, including Dublin, has experienced a real deindustrialization. However, investments in growth industries such as the chemical industry, computer technology, electronics and optical instruments have provided more jobs. Logistically, Ireland has had a transport problem in relation to the markets in Europe, and internally the infrastructure has been directed towards Dublin. The port cities on the east and south coasts are oriented towards Great Britain and the continent.

Agriculture

80% of Ireland's land is used for agriculture, but only 20% is cultivated, the rest is permanent pasture. Agriculture was Ireland's main occupation until World War II, and judging by exports, this role continued for many years; following Ireland's accession to the EC in 1973, the country became part of major EC/EU support schemes. Agriculture contributes 5% of GDP (2002). Agricultural exports were previously crucial, but now account for only about 10% of exports and are dominated by fattening calves/cows, dairy products and pork, but also cereals, sheep and wool are exported. Britain accounts for a large share of Irish agricultural exports.

The farms are typically family farms and grow in average size from west to east and south, where the soil's cultivation quality is better. There are 141,000 uses; their average area has grown significantly in recent years, and is 31 ha (2000). Half of the farms specialize in beef cattle, while 19% specialize in milk production. The cultivation of potatoes, barley and wheat is concentrated in the province of Leinster south of Dublin, while cattle farming is mainly found in the province of Munster in the south-west of the country.

Raw materials. In Ireland, lead and zinc are mined, and to a lesser extent silver and copper. Gas is extracted from an offshore field off the south coast.

Landscape

Ireland consists of a large central, low-lying area, which is surrounded by low mountains to the shores. The mountains are typically below 450 m; highest mountain is Carrauntoohill in the SW with 1041 m. The central area has a smooth surface 60-120 m above sea level and consists of a large underexposed limestone surface. This plain is drained by Ireland's largest river, the Shannon, and its tributaries. Pga. the geology of the central area and slight slope gradients, the groundwater table is high, and especially in the northern part there are large bog areas with a significant peat production. Peat continues to be a significant energy source in the production of heat and electricity (20%). South of a line Galway Bay-Dublin breaks the flat landscape of low mountains (300-600 m), formed during the Hercynian fold. During the most recent ice age, the north and west of Ireland were covered in ice, and the central lowlands are covered with moraine deposits from this period, but in some places the calcareous subsoil is bare. The coastal mountains in the NW are formed during the Caledonian fold. The coast here is strongly incised with deep bays near Donegal and Sligointo the underlying lowlands. In the SW, the mountains are formed during the Hercynian fold and reach all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Between the mountains, deep-cut bays form natural harbors. The mountains south of Dublin have created the basis for the largest exploited granite deposit in the British Isles.

Deforestation followed by overgrazing has until 1921 destroyed the natural forest. Today, almost 3% of Ireland's land area is covered by forest.

Climate

Ireland has a rainy, temperate coastal climate with mild winters. The average temperature in January is 4-7 C, warmest in the southwest towards the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean, and in July 14-16 C, warmest in the southeast. The precipitation is decreasing from west to east, from 1530 mm to 760 mm near Dublin.

Ireland - language

English is the first language for the vast majority. A small number have Irish as their first language, especially in the "Gaeltacht" areas of the western and south-western regions. Many, perhaps up to a third of the population, use Irish to a greater or lesser extent in daily life. Irish is Ireland's first official language, the second being English, which, however, is by far the most frequently used both politically-administratively and in the media; however, there is also Irish radio from 1972 and television from 1996. The language of instruction is English at all levels, but Irish is taught as a compulsory subject at primary and secondary education level.

Ireland (Religion)

Christianity came to Ireland early, and from the 400-t. the church developed independently as the Iro-Celtic Church, which in 1152 was merged with the Roman Catholic Church at a church meeting in Drogheda; since then, ireland has been one of europe's most catholic countries. After the Reformation, the English monarchy admittedly introduced the Anglican Church with fully-fledged institutions, which were preserved until 1833. Throughout the period, the Catholic Christianity of the population was suppressed. At the same time, an Anglican and especially a Presbyterian immigration took place in Ulster (Northern Ireland), which conditioned the special development of this region and its conflicting history and present. The influence of the Catholic Church on Irish law and way of life is still of paramount importance.

 
 
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