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STUDY IN IRELAND - About Ireland

General Information    |    Geography    |    Government    |    Communication

General Information


Area: 70,273 sq km (27,133 sq miles).

Population: 3,880,000 (2003).
Population Growth Rate: 1.07% (2002 est.)
Population Density: 55.2 per sq km.

Capital: Dublin.

Ethnicity / Race: Celtic, English

Language: English is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard

Currency: Single European currency (Euro): The Euro is now the official currency of 12 EU member states (including Ireland). The first Euro coins and notes were introduced in January 2002; the Irish Punt was completely replaced by the Euro on 9 February 2002. Euro (€) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Religion: Roman Catholic 95 per cent, Protestant 5 per cent.

Time: GMT (GMT + 1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are in use.

Tipping: The customary tip in Ireland is 10 to 12 per cent. Many hotels and restaurants add this in the form of a service charge indicated on the menu or bill. It is not customary to tip in bars unless you have table service when a small tip is advised. Tipping porters, taxi drivers, hairdressers, etc is customary but not obligatory.

Customs: Long gone are the days when Ireland was one of the poorest countries in Europe and its natives fled to all corners of the globe in search of refuge. Today, it is cool to be Irish and, thanks to the likes of the Corrs, Boyzone and U2, evocative images of Ireland now pervade popular culture across the globe. The Ireland of the new millennium is a modern, progressive European nation whose ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy is booming, but it is not only Irish eyes that are smiling as more and more tourists discover Ireland for themselves.

Dublin is undoubtedly the spiritual and cultural heart of the Emerald Isle. Crowding around the banks of the murky River Liffey, the city, like the country, is bound in rich layers of history, back to the days when Celtic tribes wandered the peat bogs, to the present that sees the city overflowing with trendy bars and nightclubs. Elsewhere, the cities of Cork, Galway and Limerick boast their own charms, but it is out in the rolling countryside that you can unearth the idyllic Ireland of the movies. Here, in the atmospheric old pubs, you can experience the legendary ‘craic’ where music and song lead the course of an evening. Alternatively, ramble over the hills of Glenmalure or sail through the mist shrouded Pater-Noster Lakes, places that seem a million miles away from the tourist maelstrom of Dublin.





Location: Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain

Geographic coordinates: 53 00 N, 8 00 W

total: 70,280 sq km
Water: 1,390 sq km
Land: 68,890 sq km

Coastline: 1,448 km

Maritime claims: exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM

Territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate:temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time

Terrain: mostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m

Natural resources: zinc, lead, natural gas, barite, copper, gypsum, limestone, dolomite, peat, silver

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff

Geography - note: strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe; over 40% of the population resides within 97 km of Dublin







Government Structure: Since 1949, Ireland has been a republic with a bicameral legislature: the lower house, the Dáil, has 166 members and is directly elected by universal adult suffrage every 5 years; the 60-strong Senate has 49 directly elected members with the balance made up of political appointees. Executive power is vested in the Taioseach (Prime Minister) who presides over a Cabinet of Ministers. The cabinet is responsible to the Dáil for its actions.





Telephone: IDD is available. Country code: 353 followed by the area code, omitting the initial zero. Outgoing international code: 00.

Mobile telephone: GSM 900 networks cover the whole country. GSM 900/1800 networks operated by Vodafone, O2 Communications (Ireland) Ltd and Meteor (website: Handsets can be hired. For further information, contact Vodafone (website:

Fax: Facilities are widely available.

Internet: Public access is available free in libraries. Internet cafes exist in nearly every town.

Post: Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1730/1800, Sat 0900-1300. Sub-post offices close at 1300 one day of the week. The Central Post Office is in O’Connell Street, Dublin.

Press: There are several daily newspapers published in Dublin including The Irish Times, Evening Herald and the Irish Independent; and two in Cork. British dailies and Sunday papers are available.

Radio: BBC World Service. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

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