Ireland is the twentieth largest island in the world, and the third largest in Europe. It is located to the northwest of continental Europe, and is encircled with hundreds of islands and islets. To its east, across the Irish Sea, lies Great Britain. The island of Ireland itself is split between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Nearly 4.5 million people live in the Republic of Ireland, which covers over three quarters of the island, and almost 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland. Ireland’s geography is characterized by low-lying mountains which surround a central plain. The country has numerous rivers which extend inland, as well as lush flora. The climate is oceanic, and lacks extreme temperatures.
Ireland joined the United Kingdom in 1801. Early in the 20th century, a war of independence resulted in the separation of the island and in the inception of the Irish Free State. Over the following decades, the Irish Free State gathered more power, while Northern Ireland remained with the United Kingdom. There was much civil controversy until a political agreement was arranged in 1998.
Central Bank Governor: Patrick Honohan