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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland. By: Valentina Siviero, Silvia Comis, Elisa Benvenuti.

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Northern Ireland

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  1. Northern Ireland By: Valentina Siviero, Silvia Comis, Elisa Benvenuti

  2. Northern Ireland is a constituent country of the United Kingdom, lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km²), about a sixth of the island's total area. At the time of the UK Census in April 2001, its population was 1,685,000, between a quarter and a third of the island's total population. Northern Ireland consists of six of the nine counties of the province of Ulster. In the UK, it is generally known as one of the four Home Nations that form the Kingdom. Some of these terms have controversial implications in relation to political ideologies concerning the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland's legal system descends from the pre-1920 Irish legal system (as does the legal system of the Republic of Ireland), and is therefore based on common law. It is separate from the jurisdictions of England and Wales or Scotland.

  3. History The area now known as Northern Ireland has had a diverse history. From serving as the bedrock of Irish resistance in the era of the plantations of Queen Elizabeth and James I in other parts of Ireland, it became the subject of major planting of Scottish and English settlers after the Flight of the Earls in 1607 (when the Gaelic aristocracy fled to Catholic Europe).

  4. Geography & Climate The centrepiece of Northern Ireland's geography is Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake both on the island of Ireland and in the British Isles. A second extensive lake system is centred on Lower and Upper Lough Erne in Fermanagh. The largest island of Northern Ireland is Rathlin, off the Antrim coast. Strangford Lough is the largest inlet in the British Isles. The whole of Northern Ireland has a temperate maritime climate, rather wetter in the west than the east, although cloud cover is persistent across the region.

  5. Culture With its improved international reputation, Northern Ireland has recently witnessed rising numbers of tourists who come to appreciate the area's unique heritage. Attractions include cultural festivals, musical and artistic traditions, countryside and geographical sites of interest, pubs, welcoming hospitality and sports (especially golf and fishing). Since 1987 pubs have been allowed to open on Sundays, despite some limited vocal opposition.

  6. The Ulster Cycle The Ulster Cycle is a large body of prose and verse centring around the traditional heroes of the Ulaid in what is now eastern Ulster. This is one of the four major cycles of Irish Mythology. The cycle centres around the reign of Conchobar mac Nessa, who is said to have been king of Ulster around the time of Christ. He ruled from Emain Macha (now Navan Fort near Armagh), and had a fierce rivalry with queen Medb and king Ailill of Connacht and their ally, Fergus mac Róich, former king of Ulster. The foremost hero of the cycle is Conchobar's nephew Cúchulainn.

  7. Languages Those are the languages spoken in Northern Ireland: - English language - Irish language - Ulster Scots - Ethnic minority languages

  8. Education Education in Northern Ireland differs slightly from systems used elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Unlike most areas of the United Kingdom, in the last year of Primary school, children can sit the eleven plus transfer test, and the results determine whether they attend Grammar schools or Secondary schools. This system is due to be changed in 2008 amidst some controversy. Irish Gaelic medium and Integrated Education are increasing. Northern Ireland still has a highly religiously segregated education system.

  9. Musical instruments • The tipical instruments are: • - Guitar • - Bouzouki • - Mandolin • - Bodhrán • - Harmonica. • - Fiddle • - Flute and whistle • - Uilleann pipes • - Harp • Accordion and concertina • - Banjo

  10. Symbolism & Traditions There is no longer an official Flag of Northern Ireland, as the 'Northern Ireland Flag' was abolished along with the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1972. Unionists tend to use the Union Flag and sometimes the Flag of Northern Ireland, while nationalists usually use the Flag of Ireland, or sometimes the Flag of Ulster. Both sides also occasionally use the flags of secular and religious organizations they belong to. Some groups, including the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Church of Ireland use the Flag of St. Patrick as a symbol of Ireland which lacks the same nationalist or unionist connotations. St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by both nationalists and unionists, and while Belfast City Council has refused to provide any funding for the city's annual parade to date, they have promised to do so for 2006.

  11. Londonderry Derry or Londonderry often called the Maiden City, is a city in Northern Ireland. The old walled city of Londonderry lies on the west bank of the River Foyle, and the present city now covers both banks (Cityside to the west and Waterside to the east) and is connected by two bridges. The district extends to rural areas to the southeast of the city. Shopping. Derry is the western Northern Ireland's major shopping centre and helps to serve outlying areas including rural parts of the county, as well as Tyrone. Retail developments in Letterkenny have, however, lessened cross-border traffic from north County Donegal. Everything the modern shopper needs is available in Derry. The city centre has two main shopping centres; the Foyleside Shopping Centre (also Northern Ireland's largest shopping centre) which has 45 stores and 1430 parking spaces, and the Richmond Centre, which has 39 retail units.

  12. Armagh Armagh is a city in Northern Ireland, the county town of County Armagh. Armagh was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994, and City status was officially re-conferred in 1995. Armagh is the least populated city in Northern Ireland.

  13. Belfast Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It is the largest city in Northern Ireland and the province of Ulster, and the second-largest city on the island of Ireland. Belfast is situated on Northern Ireland's eastern coast.

  14. Lisburn Lisburn is a city in Northern Ireland, south-west of and adjoining Belfast. Although it has city status, the area covered consists of the town of Lisburn, surrounded by an extensive rural and semi-rural hinterland. The council area includes Hillsborough, Moira, Dromara, Glenavy, Dunmurry and Drumbo The administrative headquarters are in the town of Lisburn. Lisburn is also known as the birthplace of the Irish linen industry.

  15. Newry Newry is the fourth largest city in Northern Ireland and eighth on the island of Ireland. It was founded in 1144 alongside a Cistercian monastery and is one of Northern Ireland's oldest towns. It sits at the entry to the Gap of the North, close to the border with the Republic of Ireland. It grew as a market town and a garrison and became a port in 1742 when it was linked to Lough Neagh by the first summit-level canal in the British Isles.

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