Facts About Irish Immigration

Here are some facts about Irish immigration. The population of Northern Ireland stands at about 1.8 million; that of the Republic at nearly 4.5 million. Yet, around the world there are over 60 million people who claim ancestry from either the northern or southern parts of the island. Of these the vast majority reside in the United States but there are also numerous in Canada, Australia and New Zealand with smaller communities in other countries. In Australia nearly two million claim Irish ancestry (9% of the total population) while as many as 30% have some ancestral connection to Ireland. In Great Britain 10% of the people have one Irish grandparent and as many as one quarter have at least some Irish ancestry that they are aware of. How did this come about?

Northern Ireland and the Protestants

During the centuries when Ireland was part of Great Britain Protestants fared better in Ireland than Catholics and perhaps felt less of a need to immigrate. Nonetheless, relatively large number traveled to America mostly in the 18th century in order to escape hardships at home. Most settled in rural areas and took up farming. They were quickly assimilated into the fabric of then mostly Protestant American society. According to estimates those of Protestant Irish ancestry number more than 5 million. Read on for more facts about Irish immigration, this time from the Catholic population.

Irish Catholics Travel to the US

Irish immigrants traveled to America in small numbers even before the declaration of American independence. Numbers increased from about 1800 onwards. One of the reasons may have been the fact that in Ireland they were considered as second class citizens while America promised freedom and a more tolerant environment. Another reason was the opportunity for work. Ireland had a relatively large population. Some estimate it at 5 million at the beginning of the 19th century growing rapidly to as much as 8 million by the middle of the century. Work was not easy to find at home. By contrast, America promised better work opportunities. Some of the major projects of the early 1800’s like the opening of the Erie Canal required large number of laborers and the Irish swiftly moved in to fill that role.

More Facts About Irish Immigration: The Great Famine

The flow of immigrants from Ireland to America turned into a flood with the Great Famine of 1845-1848. Irish peasants lived on small plots of land and depended mostly on potatoes for food. Beginning in 1845 blight attacked the crop. As much as 50% of the crop was destroyed that year. While Ireland had had bad crops in earlier times, things became more complicated because the 1846 and 1847 were also disastrous. Within three years Ireland lost two million people. About one million died and another million immigrated, mostly to America, but also to Britain.

Even after the famine immigration continued at a steady pace with Irish Catholics sometime accounting for 50% of immigration to the US. Unlike Irish Protestants, Catholics settled mostly in cities. Between 1820 when immigration records began to be kept, and today, 4.8 million Irish have immigrated to the US.

According to the 2000 US census, 34.5 million Americans claimed Irish ancestry, which is about 12% of the total population. In the state of Massachusetts the Irish contingency stands 24%, double the national average. These facts about Irish immigration are indicative nor only of the large scope of immigration, but of the tenacity of identity. Third and fourth generation immigrants still remember fondly their land of origin.

They have left their mark

If we were to try to name all the famous Americans of Protestant or Catholic Irish ancestry it would probably take several book volumes. I remember a friend and amateur historian from Larne telling me that no less than six US presidents hailed from the vicinity of Larne. I have not taken the time to debunk or confirm this account but I would not at all be surprised if it were true.

Apart from the big and the famous the Irish had played their part in everyday life. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most celebrated holidays in the US while American Country music has clear points of contact with Irish music.

There. We hope these facts on Irish immigration have been useful. While here feel free to browse through some of the other interesting pages.

Return from Facts About Irish Immigration to Northern Ireland History

Return from Facts About Irish Immigration to Northern Ireland Travel Homepage 2008-2014.
All rights reserved.



Sham fight: history comes alive at Scarva village

The Sham Fight

Scarva gets its moment of fame once every year on the 13th of July during the famous Sham Fight.

King William of Orange camped here with his army of 30,000 in 1690 on the way to the famous Battle of the Boyne. The battle was decisive in determining Protestant political ascendancy and its anniversary is widely celebrated by Northern Ireland’s Protestant communities.

Every 13th of July as many as 250,000 people congregate on the tiny village to commemorate King William’s stay there and his victory. Initially a celebration with great political overtones, with the easing of religious tensions the Sham Fight is slowly taking on a less political and more festive overtone. What Exactly Will I See if I go?

We are not politically minded, but decided to go to see the Sham Fight since we lived so close. The first thing to keep in mind if you want to go is to go as early as you can. Scarva is a tiny village, no more than a mile from end to end. There are only four roads that go to Scarva all single lane each way: B10 coming from Banbridge; B10 coming from Tandragee; and the B3 that comes from Loughbrickland on the one side and continues to Gilford on the other.

Where to park

You can imagine that if suddenly 250,000 people converge on the village through these small roads, traffic can build for miles. And parking, of course, is a different story. Several fields will become parking lots overnight and you will be able to park there for a small fee. Despite the shortage of space and roads, we were able to get there and park even if we weren’t as early as we should have been.

Parades and mock fights

Once there the main attraction is the parades and the Fight itself. The parades are all by Orange Order groups from near and far away. But unlike July 12 parades that have been controversial and points of contention, this parade is more relaxed and peaceful. After the parade there is the mock Fight. Two groups of men march or ride in between the crowds and exchange blank gunfire shots. One group is dressed in white and red and represents the soldiers of King William while the other group wears white and green and represents the soldiers of King James. The atmosphere is festive but if you have small children be aware that the gunfire is very loud.

Apart from the parade and the Fight there are many stalls that sell fast food and drinks which you will need if the day is hot. Do keep some spare coins for the many charity collections. And while there ask people to show you to the old magnificent chestnut tree underneath which King William is said to have camped.


If you happen to be in County Down on July 13 then a visit to Scarva and the Sham Fight is definitely worth a visit, but don’t get political about it. Go there, enjoy the festivities, meet people take photos and build your memory book having been to an event that is definitely one of the biggest crowd-getters in Northern Ireland.

What else is there to see in Scarva Village?

Find out:

– a hidden gem of a park with a gorgeous playground,

– where to find the best lemonade

– and why you should walk along the Scarva Canal…

Return from Sham Fight to Northern Ireland Travel Homepage 2008-2014.
All rights reserved.



Best Potato Salad Recipe – Irish Style

Best Potato Salad Recipe

Potato salads are popular the world over. A well prepared homemade potato salad is a tasty and versatile food. It can be a good side dish, can be prepared a number of ways depending on your taste and is easy to combine with other foods. Furthermore, the fact that it is eaten cold and can be transported easily makes it an ideal food to take on a picnic. The question is, how to make a potato salad without spending too long in the kitchen. The Irish being experts on the use of potatoes know how to make good potato salads. So here we will tell you one of the ways the Irish make it. We will give you an Irish potato salad recipe that is popular in the South as well as in Northern Ireland.

Ingredients – serves 6

750 kg potatoes (about 2 lbs)

¾ mayonnaise

¼ cup milk

4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

6 fresh onions

2 tablespoons fresh mint

salt to taste


Wash the potatoes well and boil them in their skin until they are soft. Preferably use new potatoes but the recipe will also work with old. Peel off the skin and cut them into small pieces. Mix in the olive oil and season them with salt. Wait till the potatoes have cooled. Whisk the mayonnaise and the milk together and add them to the potatoes, mixing the two well. Chop finely the fresh onions and mix them with the potatoes and the mayonnaise. Lastly, chop the mint and sprinkle it over the potato salad. Your Irish potato salad is ready.

If you plan to take your potato salad on a picnic store it in a cool box until you are ready to eat, especially if the weather is hot. It will not only taste better but it will preserve longer. Enjoy!

Return from Best Potato Salad Recipe to Irish Recipes

Return from Best Potato Salad Recipe to Northern Ireland Travel Homepage 2008-2014.
All rights reserved.



Saint Andrews cross flag


Saint Andrews cross

This is the flag of Scotland and is often seen flying in areas where there was heavy Scottish immigration in Northern Ireland.


The X shape of the cross, also called a saltire, is based on a belief that Andrew the disciple of Jesus (Saint Andrew) was crucified on such a cross. The symbol was used by numerous Byzantine emperors.

Who was St.Andrew?

St Andrew, brother of St Peter, was a missionary in the area around the Black Sea. He was crucified in Patra, Greece, on an X shaped cross. Legend has it, that some of his relics were taken to Scotland and buried there.


St Andrew has been the patron of Scotland since the 11th century. The White Saltire of St Andrew has been used as a Scottish national symbol since the 12th century. It was only in the 15th century that the blue field was introduced.

As the flag of Scotland it is the oldest national flag still in use the earliest attestation being in AD 832.

Now that you know all about this flag, why don’t you read about the other unofficial flags of Northern Ireland?

Unofficial Flags flown in Northern Ireland:

Saint Patrick’s Saltire

Flag of Ireland

Independent Ulster Flag

Province of Ulster

Four Provinces of Ireland

Orange Order Flags

Are you sure you know which is the Official flag of Northern Ireland?

Read about:

The Union Jack Flag

The Royal Standard Flag

The Ulster Flag (or Ulster 6 Counties flag or Red Hand Ulster Flag)

Return from Saint Andrews Cross to Northern Ireland Tourism Homepage 2008-2014.
All rights reserved.



Saint Patrick Saltire


Saint Patrick Saltire History

There are two theories concerning the origin of this flag.

  • According to one, this symbol is old and attested from as early as 1612.
  • According to the other, it was created in 1783 with the establishment of the chivalry Order of St. Patrick on that date.
  • Saint Patrick’s Saltire Use

    This became the flag of all Ireland until while it was part of the UK.

    It has been represented in the Union Jack since 1801 (click here to find how) and is primarily used by Loyalists (people who want Northern Ireland to be part of the UK) and the Church of Ireland.

    Now that you know all about Saint Patrick’s Saltire, why don’t you read about the other unofficial flags of Northern Ireland?

    Unofficial Flags flown in Northern Ireland:

    Flag of Ireland

    Independent Ulster flag

    Saint Andrew’s Cross

    The Province of Ulster Flag or Ulster Flag (Nine Counties).

    The Four Provinces of Ireland.

    Orange Order Flags.

    Are you sure you know which is the Official flag of Northern Ireland?

    Read about:

    The Union Jack Flag

    The Royal Standard Flag

    The Ulster Flag (or Ulster 6 Counties flag or Red Hand Ulster Flag)

    Return from Saint Patrick Saltire to Northern Ireland Tourism Homepage 2008-2014.
    All rights reserved.



Union Jack History: The Official Flag Northern Ireland


Union Jack History

The Union Flag or Union Jack Flag is the official flag of the UK which includes Northern Ireland.

It is also used extensively in Commonwealth countries.

Why is it called Union Jack?

It is called the Union Flag because the United Kingdom is a union England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Union Jack History continued

  • The concept of a Union Flag matured in 1603 when James VI of Scotland inherited the throne of England as James I. In this way, the kingdoms of Scotland and England were united in the person of James (though they were officially united in 1707)..
  • In 1606 the first Union Flag appeared. It was a combination of two flags. First, the red cross on a white background is known as the Cross of St. George and was the official flag of England. Second, the white X shaped cross (known in heraldry as a “saltire” on a blue background and known as the Cross or Saltire of St. Andrew, the official flag of Scotland.
  • The first Union Flag was the Cross of St. George superimposed on the Saltire of St. Andrew. You can see this in the diagram below where the two top flags created the first flag on the second row.
  • flags-of-the-union-jack-2

    What about Ireland?

    • Ireland had been annexed to England in 1542 so it did not appear in the Union Flag. It was considered as represented by the Cross of St. George.
  • However, this changed in 1801. In the Act of Union 1801 Ireland (which was still fully under British rule) joined the Union on the same footing as England and Scotland. Ireland’s flag, a red X shaped cross on a white background and known as the Cross or Saltire of St. Patrick, was added.
  • And so the Union Flag, as we know it today, took its form.
  • What about Wales?

    • Wales had been annexed to England in 1282 and like Ireland, was initially considered as represented in the Union Flag through the Cross of St. George.

    During the 20th century there have been calls for greater autonomy for Wales and, recently, a call that Wales be represented in the Union Flag.

  • The Flag of Wales consists of a Red Dragon passant (striding) on a green and white background.
  • If the Red Dragon is incorporated into the Union Flag, it might look something like this:
  • union-jack-wales-2

    Other flags that can be flown officially in Northern Ireland are:

    The Royal Standard when the Queen is visiting.

    The ex-official flag of Northern Ireland is the Ulster Flag.

    Northern Ireland has a rich flag culture. In your visits, you might see the following unofficial flags up the mast:

    Saint Patrick’s Saltire

    Flag of Ireland

    Independent Ulster Flag

    Saint Andrew’s Cross

    Province of Ulster

    Four Provinces of Ireland

    Return from Union Jack History to Northern Ireland Tourism Homepage

    Return from Union Jack Flag to Official Flag Northern Ireland 2008-2014.
    All rights reserved.



Famous Irish Potato Recipe – Champ

Champ is one of the better known and easy to make Irish potato recipe. In the past it could be the main dish a poor family might have had several times a week. Today it can still be eaten on its own. It makes a perfect light, tasty and healthy meal on a cold evening. But with quality fresh vegetables from all over the world having become readily available it can be used in numerous food combinations. Here we give first give you the Champ recipe and then some possible healthy combinations.


Champ – Irish potato recipe. Photo Source: Heart Book Series


1 kg potatoes

1 ½ cup chopped scallions

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons butter

Salt to taste


Boil the potatoes in salt and skin them. Either dry them or put them back in the pot to ensure water evaporates and they are dry. Mash them well. Simmer the chopped scallions in the milk for a couple of minutes and add the butter into the mixture. Add the scallion, milk and butter mixture into the mash potatoes and mix. If you want you can add extra milk but ensure the mixture does not become too moist. If needed, reheat until it is nice and hot.


Part of the traditional appeal of Champ is the rich buttery taste. But butter is not the best food for your veins. If you want a healthier version, replace some of the butter with extra virgin Greek olive oil. Olive oil has a lighter and more flowery taste. It is also much better for your health. It is becoming more popular in Northern Ireland so you will not be breaking the rules if you adjust your recipe accordingly.

Another possibility is to use some more spices. If you do, do so sparingly. The beauty of Champ is the taste of the potatoes and the scallions and you don’t want to detract from this.

In the past when scallions were harder to find out of season, the Irish often used normal onions. You can still can use some onions, but don’t replace the scallions altogether. Normal onions can add flavour but it is the scallions that make Champ the great dish it is.

If you try Champ a few times and you like it a lot, you may want to try replacing the scallions with leeks for a change.

How to Serve

1. Many (most?) Irish eat Champ on its own. Serve it hot without any garnishing. If you want to try different variants try the following.

2. Chop three medium tomatoes into small pieces and spread over the Champ. Garnish the tomatoes with olive oil and a little salt.

3. Put the Champ in individual plates and serve with a lightly salted poached egg.

4. Serve it as the potato part of your main meal.

Now that you have tried Champ, why not explore another old traditional Irish potato recipe, Colcannon.

Return from Champ – Irish Potato Recipe to Irish Recipes

Return from Champ – Irish Potato Recipe to Northern Ireland Travel Homepage 2008-2014.
All rights reserved.



Independent Ulster flag


Independent Ulster Flag

In discussions among politicians and individuals interested in politics, one of the topics that has appeared from time to time is the possibility that Ulster should be an independent country, separate from both the UK and the Republic of Ireland. In such a scenario, this flag was proposed by Ulster Nationalists. It combines a number of elements from the history of Ulster and attempts to mark its own course. Whether Ulster will ever be an independent nation is very difficult to determine. However, since the idea has been discussed and since in these pages we are talking about the different flags that make their appearance in Northern Ireland, these pages would not be complete without a brief discussion of this flag.


  • The blue background comes from the Scottish flag. Throughout history Scotland has had close ties with Northern Ireland and therefore it is not surprise that Scottish blue is chosen as the background of the flag. The red saltire is Saint Patrick’s Saltire.
  • The Red Hand of Ulster is Ulster’s best known heraldic symbol and appears in other flags too. A flag for an independent Ulster would therefore be incomplete without this well known symbol.
  • The star is taken from the The Ulster Flag but now in yellow instead of white in accordance with the Provincial Ulster Flag.
  • Now that you know all about this flag, why don’t you read about the other unofficial flags of Northern Ireland?

    Unofficial Flags flown in Northern Ireland:

    Saint Patrick’s Saltire

    Flag of Ireland

    Saint Andrew’s Cross

    The Province of Ulster Flag or Ulster Flag (Nine Counties).

    The Four Provinces of Ireland.

    Orange Order Flags.

    Are you sure you know which is the Official flag of Northern Ireland?

    Read about:

    The Union Jack Flag

    The Royal Standard Flag

    The Ulster Flag (or Ulster 6 Counties flag or Red Hand Ulster Flag)

    Return from the Independent Ulster Flag to Northern Ireland Flag

    Return from the Independent Ulster Flag to Northern Ireland Tourism 2008-2014.
    All rights reserved.



Northern Ireland History

Northern Ireland Travel brings to you: Northern Ireland History – a Brief Introduction

“History. You either love it or hate it”, or so the saying goes. I happen to be one of the minority who love it. Whether you love or hate history here is the bottom line: you can never really come to understand a place until you begin to understand its history.

Northern Ireland Travel brings to you: Northern Ireland History – Early, Neolithic History

In the part on Early, Neolithic History of Northern Ireland you will read about the megalithic monuments, court tombs, dolmens, Newgrange. They are fascinating and mysterious.

Northern Ireland History – Celtic History Then come the Celts, this famous people with their Celtic language extant to this day. They have left their bright mark on history. They might also be the source of the red hair commonly associated with the Irish.

If you are of western European heritage, chance are you have some Celtic blood flowing in your veins. So read on, it is about your ancestors.

Northern Ireland Travel brings to you: Northern Ireland History – Christianity

Then you will read about the coming of Christianity, a turning point in the history of Ireland. In all Christendom Ireland became famous for its scholars and sages.

Here, you will get to know some of them.

You will read about the Celtic Christians and their great leaders Patrick and Columba. You can also read about the glorious kingdom of Dalriada. Centred in County Antrim, it spread to cover large parts of Scotland and indeed gave Scotland its name.

Northern Ireland Travel brings to you: Northern Ireland History – Vikings

You can also read about the marauding ancient Vikings who troubled this land for two hundred years, as well as their descendants, the Normans, who stayed even longer.

Northern Ireland Travel brings to you: Northern Ireland History – Spanish Armada

And if you think you are nearly finished, think again.

You have the coming of the Spanish Armada. It didn’t attack Ireland but several ships sunk along its coasts. Some people believe that shipwrecked sailors who may have settled in Ireland may have affected the genetic matrix of the Irish giving rise to the Black Irish and numerous tales about their origin. The most famous of the Spanish Armada ships lost in Ireland was the Girona which sunk at Lacada Point.

Northern Ireland History – Modern History

In our Modern Northern Ireland History read about Cromwell and William of Orange, and about the famous Battle of the Boyne that shaped so much of modern Northern Ireland history. It is re-enacted every year on July 13 in the little village of Scarva, and is known as the Sham Fight. Also about the independent thinking Irish clans and the Plantation of Ulster. And when you hear plantation, don’t think of cotton fields.

The Plantation of Ulster was probably the single most influential denominator in shaping Northern Ireland. Intrigued? It is coming soon!

Northern Ireland Travel brings to you: Northern Ireland History – Great Potato Famine

Then there is the Great Potato Famine in three pages: Ireland Before the Famine, the Great Famine itself and the Aftermath. The Great Potato Famine prompted the people to move abroad in great waves of Irish immigration.

Northern Ireland History – Famous Shipwrecks

We also have a section on famous shipwrecks. The seas around Ireland are very busy sea lanes and have seen their fair share of shipwrecks, from older times to more recent. Their stories are fascinating, but often very sad. We have included information on some of the more famous ones, a small tribute to the countless lives lost at sea.

Northern Ireland History – The Troubles

And finally, the Troubles. An intense conflict, almost like an Irish civil war that left its scars yet from which Northern Ireland is in the process of healing.

Read carefully and, who knows, it is so interesting you might decide to become a history buff like me!

Return from Northern Ireland History to Northern Ireland Tourism Homepage 2008-2014.
All rights reserved.



Basic Facts: Explains the political administration of United Kingdom, Great Bri

Basic Facts about the British Isles and the relationship between them.

Basic Facts: Introduction

United Kingdom, Great Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, British Isles.

Everyone has heard these terms, but few outsiders know exactly what each is.


Basic Facts: Introduction

United Kingdom, Great Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, British Isles.

Everyone has heard these terms, but few outsiders know exactly what each is.

The relationship between different territories within the United Kingdom is probably more complicated than is the case in any other country, so take a few moments the basic facts so that you know exactly what the national geography of the British Isles is all about.

Basic Facts: what countries make up the British Isles?

The term “British Isles” refers to two isles situated close to each other, Ireland and Britain, plus the dozens of smaller ones that geographically belong to these two.

The British Isles are made up of two countries: the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.


Basic Facts: what countries make up the United Kingdom? Did you know there is no such thing as a country called Great Britain?

The country is actually called United Kingdom or UK for short.

The UK is made of two sub-entities, Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This is why the official name is, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Which means Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom but not part of Great Britain.

Most non-British don’t know this. Even some Brits don’t. I recall a time when I went to the Greek Embassy in London to get a passport for my child. The passport officer who was processing the application and knew we came from Northern Ireland was about to enter “Great Britain” as our country of residence. I pointed out to him that technically, Northern Ireland was not part of Great Britain but the UK. He looked at me in disbelief. “I have been here for so many years,” he said, “and this is the first time I hear this”.

Basic Facts: What countries are part of Great Britain?

Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales (plus adjacent islands), i.e. it is the name of the bigger of the two islands.

Basic Facts: What is Northern Ireland?

By contrast, Northern Ireland, is a piece of land across the sea on the second of the two islands, Ireland.

Though it is on the island of Ireland, it is not part of the country of Ireland, the Republic of Ireland.

Complicated? Don’t worry, things usually are on this part of the world.

So, Northern Ireland is not part of the Republic of Ireland but rather, together with Great Britain forms the country called United Kingdom. It is part of the same country as England, Scotland and Wales.

Differences between Northern Ireland and Mainland UK

  • Banknotes and money in Northern Ireland

Though part of the same country the Northern Irish still want to be different from their brethren across the sea.

Take money for example. Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales all have the same currency, Sterling, or the British Pound as it is also called.

Yet, they all print their own bank notes and mint their own coins. And while you will get away with English banknotes in Scotland and Scottish ones in England, Northern Ireland ones are different.

Every time I tried to pay with Northern Ireland banknotes in England or Scotland the reply invariably came: “What is this?” Eventually they always accept them because Northern Ireland banknotes are legal tender and of exactly the same value as their English and Scottish counterparts. After a while I started enjoying perplexing sales people with strange Northern Ireland banknotes and have them run to their manager for advice with the people queuing behind me thinking I was trying to pull one off! Just the look of disbelief when they first see the Northern. Irish notes is worth all the hassle.

  • Bringing a car over from UK mainland to Northern Ireland
  • When we moved from England to Northern Ireland and I declared my address to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, they gave me a certificate of export for my car and I had to re-register it in Northern Ireland. Why in the world give me a certificate of export when I was only moving technically within the same country, within the UK? These Brits are strange!

  • Mortgages and Insurance in Northern Ireland versus the UK
  • When we started looking for a mortgage to buy a house we discovered that most mainland British banks did not give mortgages for Northern Ireland. “But it is the same country,” I tried in vain to explain.

    And when we tried to insure our car we likewise discovered that most mainland British insurance companies did not insure cars in Northern Ireland. Thankfully, things have improved recently both in terms of mortgages and insurance.

    So while Northern Ireland is technically part of the UK and therefore part of the same country as England, Scotland and Wales, there are differences.


    Basic Facts: The Island of Ireland

    Apart from the UK (N. Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales) the other country of the British Isles is the Republic of Ireland, usually called “Ireland” for short.

    However, the country of Ireland does not coincide with the island of Ireland.

    Confused again? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

    One island, Two Countries: about Ireland

    The Republic of Ireland covers about 80% of the area of the island of Ireland. The remaining 20% is Northern Ireland, a different country.

    When did Ireland separate from the UK?

    Once both parts belonged to the UK. But in 1921 the southern part opted to separate and eventually became independent while Northern Ireland opted to remain in the UK. So, one island, two countries.

    What is different and what is common between (the Republic of) Ireland and Northern Ireland

  • In the South the currency is the Euro; in the North it is the British Pound.
  • In the South they measure speed and distances in kilometers; in the North in miles.
  • In the South it is kilograms; in the North kilograms and lbs.
  • The good thing is that in both countries they speak English, though in the South Gaelic is also used, especially in road signs.
  • They both drive on the left side of the road .
  • They both have the same three-pin electric plugs. Believe me, it helps!
  • ireland-counties-map

    Basic Facts: What is Ulster

    Another name you need to be aware of is Ulster. The whole island of Ireland is made up of four provinces or geographical areas: Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught. Each province is subdivided into nine counties.


    What are the counties of Ulster?

    Munster, Leinster and Connaught belong to the Republic of Ireland so no confusion there. However, Ulster is divided.

    Six counties make up Northern Ireland:

    • Antrim
    • Armagh
    • Down
    • Fermanagh
    • Londonderry
    • Tyrone.
    • Three counties are within the Republic of Ireland:

    • Cavan
    • Donegal
    • Monaghan.

    Northern Islanders will often use the name Ulster to refer to their little part of the world. When you hear this be aware that technically Ulster covers counties in both North and South. You will need to know this when, for example, you read about the different flags, for there is one Ulster Flag for the six counties that make up Northern Ireland and another Ulster Flag for the nine counties.

    Basic Facts: Conclusion

    So there, I have spent one and a half hours trying to explain the “hows” of UK and Ireland political administration.

    And I haven’t even mentioned the Isle of Man or the Channel islands or… Ok, ok, I will stop here.

    Bottom line? To understand British political administration you need a degree in Political Science or, at least, the prerequisites for it!

    At any rate, do enjoy Northern Ireland and if you are lucky enough to visit the Republic of Ireland and cross over to Mainland UK, you won’t regret it. They are great countries to visit!

    Return from Basic Facts to Northern Ireland Tourism Homepage 2008-2014.
    All rights reserved.