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Ireland Native name: Éire / Ireland
Nickname: The Emerald Isle / The Island of Saints and Scholars
Location Northern Europe or Western Europe
Area 84,421 km2 (32,595.1 sq mi)
Area rank 20th
Coastline 2,797 km (1,738 mi)
Highest elevation 1,041 m (3,415 ft)
Highest point Carrauntoohil
Republic of Ireland
Largest city Dublin
Region Northern Ireland
Largest city Belfast
Population 6,197,100 (as of 2008)
Density 73.4 /km2 (190.1 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Irish, Ulster Scots, Irish Travellers[Note 1]
Ireland is the third largest island in Europe. The population of Ireland is approximately 6.2 million people. Just about 4.5 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just around 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland.
Ireland has low-lying mountains surrounded by flat plains.
A Norman invasion in the Middle Ages gave way to a Gaelic Resurgence in the 13th century. Over sixty years of intermittent warfare in the 1500s led to English dominion after 1603. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, and was extended during the 18th century. In 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century led to the partition of the island, creating the Irish Free State, which became increasingly sovereign over the following decades. Northern Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom and saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following a political agreement in 1998. In 1973, both parts of Ireland joined the European Community.