Population: 1,810,863 (est.)
Language(s): English, Irish, Ulster Scots
- The UK £ is the official currency of Northern Ireland, yet the country has its own banknotes.
- Christianity is the largest religion in Northern Ireland. According to a 2007 Tearfund survey, Northern Ireland is the most religious part of the UK, with 45% regularly attending church.
- The economy of Northern Ireland is the smallest of the four countries in the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland has a traditionally industrial economy, most notably in shipbuilding, rope manufacture and textiles, but most heavy industry has since been replaced by services.
- Northern Ireland is the smallest country in the UK.
- For many years it was said Cantonese Chinese was the second most widely spoken “first language” in Northern Ireland!
- Almost 46% of the total population of Northern Ireland is under 30 years old.
- Dunluce Castle, Giant’s Causeway, Belfast City Hall, The Marble Arch Caves, Carrickfergus Castle, Samson and Goliath are some of the popular tourist destinations in Northern Ireland.
- The Potato is called as ‘Prutties’ in Northern Ireland and a child is called as ‘Wean’.
- There are ongoing disputes in Northern Ireland over whether or not the country should be part of the UK. This has led to issues regarding what flag correctly represents NI.
Northern Ireland, (Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlann or Norlin Airlan) is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland. It is variously described as a country, province or region of the UK, amongst other terms. Northern Ireland shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west. As of 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island’s total population and about 3% of the population of the United Kingdom. Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, Northern Ireland is largely self-governing. According to the agreement, Northern Ireland co-operates with the rest of Ireland – from which it was partitioned in 1921 – on some policy areas, while other areas are reserved for the Government of the United Kingdom, though the Republic of Ireland “may put forward views and proposals”.
Northern Ireland was for many years the site of a violent and bitter inter-communal conflict – the Troubles – which was caused by divisions between nationalists, who see themselves as Irish and are predominantly Roman Catholic, and unionists, who see themselves as British and are predominantly Protestant. (Additionally, people from both sides of the community may describe themselves as Northern Irish.) Unionists want Northern Ireland to remain as a part of the United Kingdom, while nationalists want reunification with the rest of Ireland, independent of British rule. Since 1998, most of the paramilitary groups involved in the Troubles have ceased their armed campaigns.
Northern Ireland has traditionally been the most industrialised region of the island. After declining as a result of political and social turmoil in the second half of the 20th century, it has grown significantly since the 1990s. This is in part due to a “peace dividend” and in part due to links and increased trade with the Republic of Ireland.
Prominent artists and sports persons from Northern Ireland include Van Morrison, Rory McIlroy and George Best. Others from that part of the island prefer to define themselves as Irish, e.g. Seamus Heaney and Liam Neeson. Cultural links between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland and the rest of the UK are complex, with Northern Ireland sharing both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the United Kingdom. In most sports the island of Ireland fields a single team, a notable exception being association football. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games and athletes from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games.