Many claim that Ireland dates back to the Stone Age, and that the country is about 8,000 years old. The theory is that most of the people who migrated there came from Scandinavia. Today, Ireland is an important part of Europe with a population of about 4 million, or fifty people per square mile. Over half of the population lives in urban areas, while the remainder of the population lives mostly on farms. There are 27 counties in Ireland including 5 major boroughs such as Dublin, Cork, and Limerick. The largest city and capital of Ireland is Dublin. Almost all of the people of Ireland are practicing Roman Catholics, while less than four percent are protestant. The most common language in Ireland is English but about a quarter of the people living there speak Irish, which is a form of Gaelic, a traditional tongue of Ireland. James Joyce, a leader in literature was from Ireland. The band U2 is also from the country as well as many other popular musicians and bands. The most celebrated holiday in all of Ireland is Saint Patrick’s Day, which takes place on March 17th each year.
Hurling, a sport very similar to field hockey is Ireland’s favorite sport, with football (or soccer) coming in at a very close second. Horse racing is also fairly popular in Ireland. Ireland is known for its lush, green landscape which has earned it the nickname of “the emerald isle”. Both US president John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan had Irish descendents. Dublin is considered to be one of the hippest and most culturally stimulated cities in all of Europe. Ireland’s biggest environmental issue is water pollution, typically due to runoff from farmland. The Blarney Stone is a very popular tourist attraction in Ireland where it is believed if you kiss the stone, you will have good luck.
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