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Ireland

Ireland is the third-largest island in Europe and thetwentieth-largest island in the world. It lies to the northwest of continental Europe and is surrounded by hundreds of islands and islets. To the east of Ireland is Great Britain, separated from it by the Irish Sea. The island is divided between the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, wich islocated in the northeast of the island. The population of Ireland is approximately 6.2 million people. The most popular cities of Ireland are Dublin, Cork and Galway. Dublin, which is on the east of the country, is the capital of Ireland. Cork in on the south and Galway is on west.

Currency

The Republic of Ireland joined the euro in 1999, while Northern Ireland remained with the pound sterling.Culture

Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures, particularly in the fields of literature and, to a lesser degree, science and education. A strong Irish culture exists, as expressed for example through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language, alongside a common Western culture, such as contemporary music and drama, and sports such as soccer, rugby and golf,and the English language.

Symbols

The shamrock is a three-leafed old white clover. It is known as a symbol of Ireland. The plant was supposed to be used by Saint Patrick to illustrate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. In the pre-Christian era Celtic moon cult the shamrock symbolised the three phases of the moon. The shamrock has been registered as a trademark by the Government ofIreland. It is also informally used as an emblem for sports teams and state organisations within Ireland.

The national flag of Ireland is a vertical tricolour of green, white, and orange. It is also known as the Irish tricolour. Although the flag's meaning is not covered by the Irish Constitution, the Irish government has stated that the green represents the Gaelic tradition of Ireland and the orangerepresents the followers of William of Orange in Ireland, with white representing peace, or a truce, between them.

The Coat of arms of Ireland is blazoned as Azure a harp Or, stringed argent — a gold harp with silver strings on a St. Patrick's bluebackground. The harp, and specifically the Cláirseach (or Gaelic harp), has long been Ireland's heraldic emblem. It appears on the coat of arms thatwas officially registered as the arms of the state of Ireland on 9 November 1945.

Food and drinks

Potato is the most important food on Ireland. Dishes that are considered as national dishes represent a fundamental unsophistication to cooking, such as the Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, boxty, a type of potato pancake, or colcannon, a dish of mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage.

Since thelast quarter of the 20th century, with a re-emergence of wealth in Ireland, a "New Irish Cuisine" based on traditional ingredients incorporating international influences has emerged. This cuisine is based on fresh vegetables, fish (especially salmon, trout, oysters, mussels and other shellfish), as well as traditional soda breads and the wide range of hand-made cheeses that are now being producedacross the country. The potato remains however a fundamental feature of this cuisine and the Irish remain the highest per capita consumers of potatoes in Europe. An example of this new cuisine is "Dublin Lawyer": lobster cooked in whiskey and cream. Traditional regional foods can be found throughout the country, for example coddle in Dublin or drisheen in Cork, both a type of sausage, or blaa, adoughy white bread particular to Waterford.

Ireland once dominated the world's market for whiskey, producing 90% of the world's whiskey at the start of the 20th century. Irish whiskey, however, remained popular domestically and in recent decades has grown in popularity again internationally.  

Stout, a kind of porter beer, particularly Guinness, is typically associated with Ireland, although...
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