Ireland - Enchanting Beauty and Rich Heritage
Ireland, officially known as the Republic of Ireland, covers an area of 70,273 square kilometers and has a population of 4.904 million people. It is a country located in northwestern Europe, occupying nearly five-sixths of the island of Ireland, west of Great Britain. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Irish Sea to the east, St. George's Channel to the southeast, and the Celtic Sea to the south, which is adjacent to Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, in the northeast. The country is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional republic. According to the Anglo-Irish Treaty on December 6, 1921, it was established as a dominion of the Commonwealth as a free Irish state. After one year from the date of the treaty (December 6, 1922), it gained full independence. Ireland has been a member of the European Union since January 1, 1973.
During the suppression that followed the Easter Rising in April 1916, Irish volunteers organized under the leadership of the Irish Republican Army and engaged in a guerrilla war against the British. British Prime Minister David Lloyd George tried to maintain control by creating two parliaments, one for Northern Ireland and the other for Southern Ireland. Indeed, the parliament in Northern Ireland, predominantly Protestant (Ulster), was established. However, Catholic Southern Ireland refused to make concessions to the British. Subsequently, British Prime Minister Lloyd George negotiated with Irish nationalists.
As a result of the treaty, Southern Ireland practically gained its independence as a free Irish state (Anglo-Irish Treaty on December 6, 1921). Northern Ireland remained dependent on the United Kingdom. Southern Ireland, whose status was determined by the treaty, obtained full sovereignty as an independent state after one year from the actual date (December 6, 1922), and after centuries of occupation, British forces withdrew from most of Ireland. However, the extremist wing of the Irish Republican Army, led by Eamon de Valera, refused to accept the agreement, which made part of Ireland independent and part dependent on Britain. This was followed by a civil war involving supporters and opponents of the agreement. Eventually, the Irish Republican Army agreed to the division of Ireland. The talks to delineate the border between independent Ireland and Northern Ireland in 1925 did not result in any agreement.
Fianna Fáil led by de Valera joined Prime Minister William Cosgrave's government in 1927. In 1932, de Valera became Prime Minister and took some anti-British economic measures. Ireland remained neutral during World War II. In 1948, de Valera lost the election, and in 1949, the Republic of Ireland was declared. De Valera became Prime Minister again in 1951 and President in 1959. In 1972, the influence of the Roman Catholic Church on the state was eliminated through a referendum. In 1973, Protestant Erskine H. Childers became President.
Geography and Territory:
The central part of Ireland is a plain extending from Dublin in the east to Galway in the west. This plain consists of grasslands and forests. Around the plain are mountains with an elevation not exceeding 900 meters. The Wicklow Mountains are among the main mountain ranges. Lugnaquilla, with an elevation of 926 meters, is the highest point in these mountains. In the southwestern part of the Kerry Mountains, Mount Macgillicuddy's Reeks (1040) forms Carrauntoohil's peak as well. This is the highest mountain in Ireland. The Connemara, Mayo, and Donegal mountains to the northwest are the main mountain ranges. Bogs cover 1/6 of the country's area, usually located west of the River Shannon. The River Shannon, the longest river in the British Isles, is 385 km long. The other important river in the country is the Liffey.
Ireland enjoys a moderate maritime climate. The temperatures obtained in July range from 16 degrees in the south to 14 degrees in the north. The winter is relatively warm, with temperatures ranging from 4 to 7 degrees in January. The wet winds from the Atlantic Ocean, which dominate the country, cause rainfall throughout the year. Nearly 80% of the country receives an average of 762 to 1270 mm of rainfall annually. The country is very wet due to rainfall, and most days are covered in fog.
Plants and Animals: Approximately two-thirds of Ireland's land consists of meadows and pastures. There are almost no forests. The most common trees are oak, ash, hawthorn, and Ireland is a completely rural country.
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