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Ireland is separated into two parts. One part belongs to UK, It is called Northern Ireland. The other part is independent and it is called Republic of Ireland. The capital of Republic of Ireland is Dublin. Ireland became part of the UK in 1801, but was divided twenty years later after fighting for independent state. Ireland consists of 32 counties. 26 of 32 are in Republic of Ireland. The rest six counties belong to Northern Ireland. The capital of Northern Ireland is Belfast. Ireland is an English speaking country and it is also called Emerald Isle, Green Isle or Eire because of its countryside. The hills are unbelievable green and it is a good place to go to holiday. There is a beautiful combination of hills and valleys. The cheeps, cows or horses run around freely and it rains often there but the rain doesn’t destroy the beautiful nature. Ireland is famous for its countryside. In Ireland there are not so many big cities. There are lots of villages. Until about 1990 Ireland was one of the poorest countries in Western Europe. Ten years later it was the fastest growing economy in Europe. 1990 Ireland became a member of European Union. A lot of companies have started business in Ireland, and new buildings are opening all the time. Today Ireland is the largest European exporter of software and computers. A tiger state is a country whose economy is booming: Ireland’s economy started in the 90s and this phenomenon became known as “the Celtic Tiger”. There are about 70 million people of Irish origin in the world, but only about 5 million live in Ireland. The emigration of Irish people really took off in the middle of the 19th century when a terrible famine hit the country. Ireland had been colonized by the English for a long time when it was made part of the UK in 1801. Most of the Irish were small farmers who lived on land which belong to the English people. Then in 1845 the potato crop was destroyed by disease and this lasted some years. The people had nothing to eat. Many soon owed rent and thousands were throw out of their homes. The dead and the dying were everywhere. Between 1845 and 1849 about one million people died of hunger or diseases. One and a half million had to emigrate but many did not survive the journey. Between 1840 and 1940 six million people left Ireland. Americans and one third of all Australians have Irish ancestors. Immigrants from Ireland often had to work in low-paid jobs or became rich and famous. A very important day in the history of the divided Ireland is Good Friday in the year 1998. After 30 years of violent conflict in N.I, which is still part of the UK, a peace agreement was signed. It gave people new hope. After the civil war in N.I., now there’s peace and ceasefire. In N.I. the civil war between Catholic and Protestant destroys the peaceful atmosphere. This religious and political war lasted 30 years. Good Friday is a catholic and national holiday, which is called Karfreitag in german and it is a national holiday in Germany too. Ireland has many saints, for example St. Killian and St. Patrick, the Irish patron saint. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on 17th March. It is a national holiday. Some Irish people wear a shamrock on that day. The main religion in Ireland is Christianity. But the difference between Protestants and catholics led to big religious and politician conflicts. Between some Catholic and Protestant areas in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, are walls which divide the areas from each other are called “peace lines” Some have been up longer than the Berlin Wall was. In Ireland are lots of special things. Ireland is famous for its literature and the music. The novel “Dracula” is from an Irish man. In fact, no other nation of similar size has produced so many great writers like Eire. Some Irishmen won the Nobel Prize for literature. And the Irish people have an awful lot of songs and some musicians are very successful.