Ireland (pronounced /ˈaɪrlənd/ ( listen), locally [ˈaɾlənd]; Irish: Éire, pronounced [ˈeːɾʲə] ( listen); Ulster Scots: Airlann) is the third-largest island inEurope and the twentieth-largest island in the world. It lies to the north-west of continental Europe and is surrounded by hundreds of islands and islets. To the east of Ireland is the island of Great Britain, separated by the Irish Sea. A sovereign state named Ireland, the same name as the island, covers five-sixths of the island. Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, located in the northeast of the island covers the remainder.
The population of Ireland is estimated to be slightly over six million. Nearly 4.5 million people are estimated to reside in the Republic of Irelandand an estimated 1.75 million reside in Northern Ireland. This is a significant increase from a modern historic low of 4.2 million in the 1960s. However, it is still much lower than the peak population of over 8 million in the early 19th century prior to the Great Famine.
The first settlements in Ireland date from around 8000 BC Celtic migration and influence had come to dominate Ireland by 200 BC. Relatively small scale settlements of both the Vikings and Normans in the Middle Ages gave way to complete English ...