Introduction for Visitors
Ireland possesses one important goodness – it is so small that it only takes a few weeks to visit it everywhere. Of course, in that space of time, one will not see everything visitable, but one will get a general impression of something entirely new, strange and beautiful in the fusion of country and people. In Ireland there are thirty-two regions (“counties”) and going from one county to another, you go only from one attractive sight to another.
Ireland, the Green Island, possesses many other goodies. No part lies more than a hundred miles from the coast. The beautiful scenery is not marred by factory smoke. The salmon swims from the sea through streams brightly clean. The footpaths and highways, outside the big cities wide enough for everyone, will torment neither driver nor cyclist. You will find inner peace here. Ireland is the place where one dares to act without excessive haste.
Ireland still has good quality. The people are able to speak in an interesting way. If you ask for information along the way, the pet will probably find time to stay and talk about other things as well. However, many parts of the island have enjoyed economic growth since the accession of the Republic of Ireland to the European Union.
Position: Ireland lies to the west of the island of Britain, between the parallels of 51´25´ and 55º23´ north latitude and between 5º25´ and 10l35l west longitude. The distances across the Irish Sea between Ireland and the island of Britain range from 20 to 200 kilometers.
Land: Area approximately 8,262,000 hectares. Maximum length, 483 kilometers; maximum width 273 kilometers; highest elevation, Carrantuohill in Kerry, 1050 meters. The island consists of a large plain (with many marshes) surrounded by coastal mountains of various rocks.
Population: (2000) 6,500.00 (total island). Dublin with around 1,228,000 (2000), Belfast 631.00 (2000); Cork 190,000 (2000); Limerick 90,000 (2000); Derry 80,000 (2000). English is understood everywhere, but Gaelic is also spoken, especially in the West.
Provinces: In Ireland there are four historical provinces: Leinster (12 counties); Munster (6 counties); Connacht (5 counties); and Ulster (9 counties). These provinces are still important (amongst others) in the cultural and sport spheres. Politically 6 of the nine counties of Ulster are part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The other 26 counties belong to the Republic of Ireland (Eire), including Cork the largest and Louth the smallest.
Weather: The Irish climate is influenced by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. The small size of the island and the prevailing south-westerly winds ensure a moderate uniform temperature across the country, minimally varying between summer and winter. The sunniest months are May and June, the warmest July and August, the coldest January and February. The west coast gets more rain than otherwhere.
Tourist traffic: Lying between America and the European mainland, Ireland is extremely popular with tourists. It only takes two to three hours to travel from Britai by sea, and only one to two hours to travel by air from Glasgow, London, Manchester, Birmingham or Liverpool to Dublin in the south or Belfast in the north. There are many flights every day. Direct air service from mainland European cities such as Paris and Amsterdam takes only two to three hours.
Passports: Members of the European Union only need their passports. Foreigners should have a passport or a visa from several countries. Visitors should ask at the Irish or British (for Northern Ireland) consulates. There are appropritate diplomats in the major cities around the world.
Customs: Motorists need only their ordinary documents. Ask for details from the local car club. Outside the cities is a real paradise for cyclists. A warm welcome will be found among local enthusiasts.. UEA delegates and other speakers can be found in some parts.
Culture: Although geographically adjacent to Britain Ireland has a long and separate history. Neither the Romans nor the early English came. Vikings of Norway did destroy a lot but did not have kings as happened in England. Norman lords came, built castles and a number of churches but in time adopted the Gaelic language. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries British colonies (especially in the north) did cause changes due to their Protestantism. In general, they did not adopt the Gaelic language or culture. Famines and emigration were the greatest destroyers later.
Transport: A convenient rail network leads from Dublin, Belfast and Cork to many counties. Luxurious buses serve via motorways, highways and local routes. Hundreds of double-decker buses roman the main cities.
Sport: In Ireland, sports are played for sports’ sake, and everywhere the athlete is an honoured guest. Fishing – salmon and trout – trout fishing in many places without tax. Hunting and horse racing – Dublin Horse Fair in August each year. Golf, 367 clubs. Boating, rowing, turf tennis, polo, sports shooting, football, swimming, dancing, theatres, cinemas, etc.
Monetary system: The Republic of Ireland is a part of the European Monetary Union, so euros are used. The coins bear a harp again, a national emblem, a symbol of the musical tradition on the island. Currency exchanges at all banks and tourist offices. British pounds sterling are used in Northern Ireland; they are also accepted in some other parts of the island.
More Detailed Information: The Irish Tourist Information Centres have been set up to serve visitors, and provide free tourist information. Illustrated guidebooks are published (mainly in English) on almost all counties, and interesting books on Irish history, politics, society, economics, language, etc. are sold. There is a separate tourism organization in Northern Ireland, Tourism NI.
Hotels: The tourist offices distribute lists of hotels and inns, with an indication of prices, etc, all on the internet. Correspondence in various languages.