58 Facts About Northern Ireland


Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is variously described as a country, province or region.

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The Northern Ireland Assembly, established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998, holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the UK Government.

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Northern Ireland cooperates with the Republic of Ireland in several areas.

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Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, creating a devolved government for the six northeastern counties.

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Meanwhile, the majority in Southern Ireland, and a significant minority in Northern Ireland, were Irish nationalists and Catholics who wanted a united independent Ireland.

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Creation of Northern Ireland was accompanied by violence both in defence of and against partition.

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Economy of Northern Ireland was the most industrialised in Ireland at the time of Partition of Ireland, but declined, a decline exacerbated by the political and social turmoil of the Troubles.

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The initial growth came from the "peace dividend" and increased trade with the Republic of Northern Ireland, continuing with a significant increase in tourism, investment, and business from around the world.

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Region that is Northern Ireland was long inhabited by native Gaels who were Irish-speaking and predominantly Catholic.

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In 1169, Northern Ireland was invaded by a coalition of forces under the command of the English crown that quickly overran and occupied most of the island, beginning 800 years of foreign central authority.

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Many Irish republicans blamed the British establishment for the sectarian divisions in Northern Ireland, and believed that Ulster Unionist defiance would fade once British rule was ended.

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Meanwhile, the Government of Northern Ireland Act 1920 passed through the British parliament in 1920.

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Under the terms of the treaty, Northern Ireland would become part of the Free State unless the government opted out by presenting an address to the king, although in practice partition remained in place.

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Northern Ireland's border was drawn to give it "a decisive Protestant majority".

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At the time of its creation, Northern Ireland's population was two-thirds Protestant and one-third Catholic.

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In 1973, Northern Ireland held a referendum to determine if it should remain in the United Kingdom, or be part of a united Ireland.

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The Constitution of Northern Ireland was amended in 1999 to remove a claim of the "Irish nation" to sovereignty over the entire island .

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Politicians elected to the Assembly at the 2003 Assembly election were called together on 15 May 2006 under the Northern Ireland Act 2006 to elect a First Minister and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and choose the members of an Executive as a preliminary step to the restoration of devolved government.

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Many Catholics however, generally aspire to a United Northern Ireland or are less certain about how to solve the constitutional question.

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The make-up of the Northern Ireland Assembly reflects the appeals of the various parties within the population.

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Since 1998, Northern Ireland has had devolved government within the United Kingdom, presided over by the Northern Ireland Assembly and a cross-community government .

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Elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly are by single transferable vote with five Members of the Legislative Assembly elected from each of 18 parliamentary constituencies.

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The Northern Ireland Office is led by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who sits in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.

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Northern Ireland is a distinct legal jurisdiction, separate from the two other jurisdictions in the United Kingdom .

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Northern Ireland law developed from Irish law that existed before the partition of Ireland in 1921.

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Northern Ireland is a common law jurisdiction and its common law is similar to that in England and Wales.

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Unlike England, Scotland, and Wales, Northern Ireland has no history of being an independent country or of being a nation in its own right.

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Authors writing specifically about Northern Ireland dismiss the idea that Northern Ireland is a "country" in general terms, and draw contrasts in this respect with England, Scotland and Wales.

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Some authors have described the meaning of this term as being equivocal: referring to Northern Ireland as being a province both of the United Kingdom and the traditional country of Ireland.

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Northern Ireland can be simply described as "part of the UK", including by the UK government offices.

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Choice of language and nomenclature in Northern Ireland often reveals the cultural, ethnic, and religious identity of the speaker.

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Northern Ireland was covered by an ice sheet for most of the last ice age and on numerous previous occasions, the legacy of which can be seen in the extensive coverage of drumlins in Counties Fermanagh, Armagh, Antrim and particularly Down.

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Centrepiece of Northern Ireland's geography is Lough Neagh, at 151 square miles the largest freshwater lake both on the island of Ireland and in the British Isles.

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Northern Ireland is the least forested part of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and one of the least forested countries in Europe.

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Northern Ireland has traditionally had an industrial economy, most notably in shipbuilding, rope manufacture, and textiles, but the heaviest industry has since been replaced by services, primarily the public sector.

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Northern Ireland has underdeveloped transport infrastructure, with most infrastructure concentrated around Greater Belfast, Greater Derry, and Craigavon.

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Northern Ireland is served by three airports – Belfast International near Antrim, George Best Belfast City integrated into the railway network at Sydenham in East Belfast, and City of Derry in County Londonderry.

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People born in Northern Ireland are, with some exceptions, deemed by UK law to be citizens of the United Kingdom.

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The current wording provides that people born in Northern Ireland are entitled to be Irish citizens on the same basis as people from any other part of the island.

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Irish language, or Gaelic, is the second most spoken language in Northern Ireland and is a native language of Ireland.

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Northern Ireland ruled from Emain Macha, and had a fierce rivalry with queen Medb and king Ailill of Connacht and their ally, Fergus mac Roich, former king of Ulster.

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The Union Jack and the former Northern Ireland flag are flown in many loyalist areas, and the Tricolour, adopted by republicans as the flag of Ireland in 1916, is flown in some republican areas.

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The former Northern Ireland flag, known as the "Ulster Banner" or "Red Hand Flag", is a banner derived from the coat of arms of the Government of Northern Ireland until 1972.

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At the Commonwealth Games and some other sporting events, the Northern Ireland team uses the Ulster Banner as its flag—notwithstanding its lack of official status—and the Londonderry Air, which has no official status, as its national anthem.

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Northern Irish murals have become well-known features of Northern Ireland, depicting past and present events and documenting peace and cultural diversity.

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In Northern Ireland, sport is popular and important in the lives of many people.

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Highest level of competition within Northern Ireland are the NIFL Premiership and the NIFL Championship.

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Six counties of Northern Ireland are among the nine governed by the Ulster branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union, the governing body of rugby union in Ireland.

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Ulster is one of the four professional provincial teams in Northern Ireland and competes in the United Rugby Championship and European Cup.

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Northern Ireland has contributed more major champions in the modern era than any other European country, with three in the space of just 14 months from the U S Open in 2010 to The Open Championship in 2011.

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Northern Ireland has contributed several players to the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team, including Alan Dunbar and Paul Cutler who played on the victorious 2011 team in Scotland.

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Golfing Union of Northern Ireland, the governing body for men's and boy's amateur golf throughout Northern Ireland and the oldest golfing union in the world, was founded in Belfast in 1891.

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Northern Ireland has produced two world snooker champions; Alex Higgins, who won the title in 1972 and 1982, and Dennis Taylor, who won in 1985.

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Two of the three major international road race meetings are held in Northern Ireland, these being the North West 200 and the Ulster Grand Prix.

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The team's roster has featured Northern Ireland Irish-born players such as Mark Morrison, Graeme Walton and Gareth Roberts among others.

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Northern Ireland was drafted 1st overall in the 1990 NHL Draft by the Quebec Nordiques.

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Main universities in Northern Ireland are Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University, and the distance learning Open University which has a regional office in Belfast.

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Northern Ireland uses the same telecommunications and postal services as the rest of the United Kingdom at standard domestic rates and there are no mobile roaming charges between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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