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Northern Ireland

3.06.2010

Northern Ireland is the smallest component of the United Kingdom of Great Britainrlt consists ot 6 counties of the Ulster’s province, so the name “Ulster” is sometimes used as equivalent to Northern Ireland. The country has a total area of about 5,462 square miles. It became the part of the United Kingdom in 1921. This country occupies the north-eastern corner of Ireland. In the south and west Northern Ireland is bounded by the Irish Republic. It is washed by the Atlantic Ocean in the north, the North Channel and the Irish Sea in the east.


The population of the country is 1.5 million people. 98 per cent of the population are the Irish. The official language of the country is English, the national one is Irish. Many Irish surnames begin with O’-O’Neil for example; O’-means the son of Neil.


There are mpuntains in the north, separated by the Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the United Kingdom. In Northern Ireland the central plain with boggy areas is surrounded by mountains and hills where heather, fern and moss predominate. Characteristic of the trees are oak, birch, pine, fir-tree, bamboo. The insular position of this country accounts for the absence of many plants and animals which are common in Britain. The country has 2 national parks.


The country is rich in different kinds offish like salmon, eel, herring, flat fish, cod and others.


The climate is mild and wet, and rains are frequent and abundant in this country. That is why Irishmen call their country the clearest place in the world. Grass grows well in Ireland because of damp soil; it makes the island look so beautiful. “Emerald Isle” -is the poetic name of this country. The average temperature in winter is +4°C, in summer is +14° C. Northern Ireland is also the country of castles and monasteries. The main rivers of the country are the Bann (there are two rivers of this name: the Upper Bann and the Lower Bann), the Lagan, the Shannon. They are short but deep and connected by navigable canals.


The whole economy of Ulster is closely integrated with that of Great Britain. The country suffers from lack of minerals. It has no coal and the deposits of iron and bauxite are not rich enough to be worked. However the richest agricultural soils are found there and mixed farming is the general practice. The country has long been an important manufacturer of textile machinery. Now it is a well-known centre of textile and especially linen. It produces electronic instruments, oil-well equipment, ships and planes. Peat from boggy areas is used as fuel. The main industry of Northern Ireland is agriculture. Many farmers grow soy-bean, flax, tobacco, turnip, beet, oats, fruit and potatoes. Livestock products provide the most of the farms’ income. Sheep-farming, dairying , extensive potato growing and fishing are the chief occupations.


The capital of the country is Belfast (440 th.). It is a port of great importance and it is also a university city. Belfast is the commercial and industrial centre of the province (in particular shipbuilding and aircraft are well developed). Another big port is Londonderry, it has also a university. Speaking about the character of the Irish people it is necessary to mention that they always mock at everything ridiculous and absurd, they like music and singing. The national Irish musical instrument is the harp. Native Irish sports include Gaelic football and hurling (which resembles field hockey), horse race.


Ireland’s greatest contribution to world culture is in the field of literature. Ireland has 2 literatures, one- in the native language, and another in – the English one. Among the famous Anglo-Irish writers are George Bernard Show, Sean O’Casey, Oscar Wilde, Oliver Goldsmith, James Joyce and others. Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Show and William Butler Yeats have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Irish people like limericks very much. Limericks is a nonsense poem of 5 lines. And limericks are considered to be the best reflection of the nation’s humour.


Heremon O’Neill, the name of the other we do not know. “The first of us to touch the Irish land will be the king of it”-they agreed. At last they were near the Irish coast. The two boats were going fast. But the boat of O’Neill was not so fast as the boat of the other chieftain. When the boats were quite near the land, O’Neill quickly cut off his right hand and threw it over to the land. His hand touched the land and he became the king of Ireland. St. Patrick is the saint patron of the country. St. Patrick’s flag has a red cross on a white field. The national holiday of Irish people is the 17th of March. It is a tradition to decorate themselves with a little shamrock, which has become the national emblem.


Questions

  • Where is Ireland situated?
  • What territory does it occupy?
  • What language do the people speak in Northern Ireland
  • Why do the Irish people call their country the clearest place in the world?
  • Do you know the poetic name of the country?
  • What does Northern Ireland produce?
  • What do you know about the flora and the fauna of the country?
  • Northern Ireland is mainly the agrarian country, isn’t it?
  • Is the capital of this country Belfast?
  • What musical instrument is the most popular in Northern Ireland?
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