Ireland, a state comprising most of the island of the same name; 70 285 km2, 4.8 million residents (2019).Ireland’s only land border is in the northeast towards the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland). The country is divided into 26 counties. The capital is Dublin (553,200 residents, 2016).
- Éire / Ireland
- Country abbreviation: IRL
- Area: 70 285 km2
- Population (2019): 4.8 million residents
- Capital: Dublin
- Main languages: Irish, English
- State: Republic
- Head of State: Michael D Higgins (President)
- Head of Government: Leo Varadkar
- Per capita GDP (2018): US $ 78,806
- GNI per capita (2018): US $ 59,770
- Currency unit: euro
- Currency code: EUR
- Country number (telephony): 353
- Internet Domain Name: ie
- Time difference compared to Sweden: −1
- National Day: March 17 (Saint Patrick’s Day)
- Independence Day: December 6, 1921
- Land use: forest (11%), agricultural land (61%), other (28%)
- Highest mountain: Carrantuohill (1,041 m above sea level)
- Longest river: Shannon (260 km)
- Population density (2019): 68 residents per km2
- Natural population growth (2019): 0.6%; birth rate 13 ‰, death rate 6 ‰
- Age structure (2019): 0-14 years (21%), 15-64 (65%), 65- (14%)
- Average life expectancy (2019): men 78 years, women 83 years
- Infant mortality (2019): 3 per 1,000 live births
- Population forecast 2050: 6 million residents
- HDI (2017): 0.938 (place 4 of 189)
- Urbanization rate (2019): 63%
- Most populous cities (2016): Dublin (553,200 residents), Cork (125,600), Galway (79,500)
- Industry’s contribution to GDP (2017): agriculture (1%), industry (39%), service (60%)
- Exports (2017): US $ 219,700 million
- Main export products: machines, computers, chemicals
- Main exporting countries: USA, UK, Belgium
- Imports (2017): US $ 98 130 million
- Main import products: components for computers, machines, chemicals
- Main importing countries: United Kingdom, USA, France
- Railway network (2018): 4,300 km
Ireland’s central lowlands include plains that are drained by Shannon, Ireland’s main river. In many places, however, there are hill terrain and a variety of lakes, large marshes and low ridges. The lowlands are surrounded by higher mountain ranges in the south and north. The climate is maritime with cool summers and mild winters.
Officially, Ireland became a republic in 1949 when the country left the Commonwealth and thus broke ties with the British Crown. The country’s president is elected for seven years and has mainly ceremonial duties. The Irish Parliament consists of the President and two chambers. Its Senate has 60 members elected for five years. The legislative power is exercised by the Chamber of Deputies, which is elected for five years.
The country’s economy has undergone major changes since the crisis years of the 1980s. Foreign investment has led to the emergence of a high-tech industry, while tourism and services have expanded. Previously dominant agriculture has rapidly declined in importance.
In 2007-13, the country experienced a severe economic crisis with high unemployment and major economic cuts. In 2010, Ireland received emergency loans from IMF and EU support funds. In connection with this, the government prepared a comprehensive austerity package.
The measures did not have the desired effect in 2011 and 2012, but at the end of 2013 several positive signals came as unemployment began to fall and housing construction increased. At the end of 2013, Ireland was able to announce that it had rescued the rescue programs from the aid funds. Thereafter, the economic recovery has continued.