Ireland

The 'Emerald Isle' is a land of surprises, home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, though most visitors don't expect to see them when they visit. Overused images like leprechauns, the shamrock, the colors green and orange, St. Patrick’s Day ornaments and redheads have dominated the media, but when visitors witness firsthand the long stretches of majestic beaches, rugged cliffs, glacial deposits of sand and clay, and beautiful green valleys with tranquil rivers, their impressions of this place are immediately and irrevocably altered. In the medieval villages with intriguing narrow side streets, artists and craftspeople work in their studios and exhibit their masterpieces to the public. The main squares and parks are filled with entertainers playing their violins or hauling their personalized harps to the next gig, perhaps a local pub. Foreign performers will also frequent these towns as the unique qualities of the Irish music and dance have drawn the attention of people from all over the world. Music and dance festivals, or feis, and music competitions, or fleadhs, fill the towns with visitors. But the season of exciting non-stop festivities tends to draw the largest crowds to this nation’s capital. From theater to fashion, Dublin hosts world class events. The country is also home to many well preserved castles including the beautiful Kilkenny Castle, and the Scottish-style Glenveagh Castle in Churchill is another must see. After seeing this, tourist will be sure to forget about all the other silly clichés. However, tourists must keep in mind the following two things in order to have a pleasant time in Ireland:  drive on the left side of the road and always carry an umbrella. ~ Jason Trinidad Pucheu


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 Full name: Ireland

 Population: 4.72 million (CIA, 2012)

 Capital: Dublin

 Largest city: Dublin

 Area: 70,273 sq km (27,132.6 sq miles)

 Major languages: English, Irish (Gaelic or  Gaeilge)

 Major religions: Roman Catholic, Church of  Ireland, Other

 Monetary unit: Euro

 GDP per capita: US $39,500

 Internet domain: .ie

 International dialling code: +353

 Source: CIA World Factbook