Ireland is an island on the north western tip of Europe surrounded by the Irish Sea on the east, The Celtic Sea on the south and the Atlantic Ocean on the west and north. The island is saucer shaped in so far as the coastal areas are mountainous and the center is for the most part low lying and made up of plains of grasslands and peat bogs.. It is comprised of 32 counties. The six counties of Antrim, Down, Derry, Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh are under British rule. The remaining twenty six counties are under the rule of the Irish Republic.
Ireland is roughly 300 miles long and 160 miles wide. It has an area of approx 32,000 sg miles, with 2,250 miles of coastline. The population is approx 6 million. In the Republic the Euro is the currency used in trade while in Northern Ireland they use the Pound Sterling. Most banks offer currency exchange.
The climate is temperate ocean influenced by the Gulf Stream crossing the Atlantic trom the Carribbean via the east coast of the United States. It brings mild winters, cool summers with overcast skies with frequent precipitation and mist.
The predominent religion is Roman catholic approx 75% and the balance is mostly Presberterian and Protestant in the north.
The Republic of Ireland is administered by a democratically elected Government . This is currently led by a Fianna Fail/Green Party Coalition, headed by Taoiseach (Leader or Prime Minister) Brian Cowen.
The Irish flag dates from1848 and it is reputed to have been designed for Thomas Francis Meaghar from Waterford. It is based on the French flag and is known as the Tricolour. The Green represents the country’s Republican traditions, theGold or orange, the Unionists tradition from Northern Ireland and the White represents peace between the two.
How to get to Ireland:
From the United States:
Most flights to Ireland are overnight from many U.S. departure airports, Boston, Kennedy, Newark, Baltimore, Atlanta and Chicago. The arrival airport will usually be Dublin or Shannon. You will usually depart late in the evening and arrive about 6 hours later, the following morning. Ireland has a five hours time difference (from the east coast of America) so as an example your arrival time of 2.00 A.M. U.S will be 7.00 A.M. Irish time.
From the Europe:
Ireland is well served from Europe with flights arriving at Belfast, Cork, Shannon and Dublin. Ryanair, Europes larges fleet offers heavily discounted flights from most European locations.
There are a vareity of ferries operated between England, Wales, Scotland and the European Continent. Dublin….offer daily sailings by Irish Ferries and Stena Line from Holyhead and Liverpool. Belfast….. offers services to the same ports in addition to a service to Cairnryan Scotland. Larne, County Antrim, has services to Cairnryan and Stranraer Scotland. Cork has Services from Roscoff, in France, via Brittany Ferries. Rosslare,County Wexford, offers services from
Cherbourg France & Swansea in the UK.
If renting a car be careful to observe the Irish Rules of the road. Ireland’s roads are much improved in recent time with the addition of motorways, in the most heavily travelled areas. In Dublin the M-50 has a toll road that requires paying on-line, over the phone or at the airports on departure. Ask where you rent your car. Failure to pay, in the manner above can result in heavy fines added to your credit card two months after you return. There are minimum age requirements for renting a car. Insurance can be expensive and there are only certain credit cards that are acceptable for insurance coverage, check with your Car Rental for certain restrictions. Drive on the left. Observe the speed limits and driving under the influence is enforced with “Spot Checks” along the road unexpectedly, at any hour.
The electricity in Ireland is 240 V AC at 50Hz Using Three Pin plugs. Travel converters work well. Warning be careful with computers and cell phones.
Where to stay: There are a large network of B&B’s all across Ireland. These change relatively frequently. Pick up a recent publication at your local Irish Shop for current listings. Ireland also has a large number of modern hotels, Five Star Hotels and Castle Hotels . Prices vary widly as most will include the famous Irish Breakfast – a mixed grill of sausage, bacon, puddings, grilled tomato, eggs and toast with tea or coffee. It will usually fill you up.