Ireland is a small, independent country in Northwestern Europe. Its official name is the republic of Ireland. Dublin is the capital and largest city. The country occupied about five-sixths of the island is occupied by Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Ireland is called E'ire (pronounced Air uh) ub Gaelic, the ancient language of Ireland. Gaelic and English are the country's official languages, Ireland has long been known by the poetic name Irin.
Many people consider the Irish to be exceptionally warm hearted and friendly. The Irish also have a reputation for hospitality, close family ties, and skill as writers and storytellers.
The Irish have along history that includes many hardships and struggles. In the 1840's a potato famine killed hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland and forced hundreds of thousands more to leave their homeland. As a result, only about half as many people live in Ireland today as lived there in 1845.
Saint Patrick brought christianity to Ireland. St. Patrick was born in Britain and was taken to Ireland as a slave in the early 400's.
After six years of slavery, he escaped and went to France, where he studied for the priesthood. He returned to Ireland as a christian missionary in 432.
The Irish people accepted christianity and came to regard Patrick as their patron (guardian) Saint. Today, the feast day March 17, a national holiday. Many Irish in the United States attend celebrations, such as the parades, and attend church services on this holiday.
Irish cooking is simple. Principal foods include beef, bread, chicken, mutton, pork, and potatoes. One of Ireland's most famous dishes is Irish stew. The favorite alcoholic drink in Ireland is beer. A type of beer called stout is especially popular.
Ireland has produced outstanding artists in many fields, but the country is especially famous for its writers.
The great waves of immigration did not begin until the 1840-1850 period. They came resettling along the East coast of the United States. They like other cultures experience the ridicule and discrimination in the U. S. They came with no education and they were unskilled, many doors were closed to them.
Gradually they were able to improve their conditions in life, and they began to expand their influence and power. They were very instrumental in the growth of the Catholic church in America, and together with the Catholic church they emphasized the importance of a Catholic education.