A Nation of It's Own
Northern Ireland is one of the four constituent nations which make up the United Kingdom, and is situated in the north-eastern region of the island of Ireland, where it shares southern and western borders with the Republic of Ireland. A diverse society, it is home to a growing population that currently is approximately 1.86 million, some of whom speak not only the official language of English, but also the regional languages Irish or Ulster Scots (also known as Ullans).
Although Northern Ireland has a turbulent history, peace now reigns and it is one of the most culturally vibrant and beautiful regions of the world. In 2013, it was recognized for its diverse and rich culture when designated the UK City of Culture of the year.
The nation's capital Belfast (where the Titanic was built!) is home to its parliament buildings, and is also the most connected city in the nation, with an international airport and a sea port. Motorways make much of the region accessible, and train travel provides a link to areas across the island. Despite its modern assets, though, Northern Ireland's history reaches back to 7000 BC, and it is home to countless historical sites, including stone circles, Neolithic and Bronze Age remains, and medieval monasteries; the only complete walled city on the island, Derry/Londonderry; and the fourth-century historical and mythological figure of St Patrick, who brought Christianity to the island. The region is renowned especially for its literary culture, and is the home of writers such as Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and the Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney.
Northern Ireland also has some of the most stunning landscapes and seascapes in the world, with mountains, oceans, and a plethora of flora and fauna. County Antrim, for instance, is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site Giant's Causeway (Clochán an Aifir), as well as the Antrim Plateau, a grassland which evolved out of sixty million year old volcanic rock. What a great way to spend your breaks while studying at our partner university Queen's University Belfast!
- In fact, if you are a fan of Game of Thrones, you can tour Northern Ireland and visit many of the sites used in the series, much of which is filmed in the region.
- The shamrock is the national flower of Northern Ireland
- Pre-famine, the Irish population was 8 million. Still to this day, the community has not recovered fully.
- Many Irish names will begin with "Mac" which means "son of" in Gaelic and "O" which means "grandson of".
- No snakes have ever listed on the island of Ireland.
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