Irish facts

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Culture, language, religion, geography, art, sport, entertainment (cont.)

The death penalty was abolished in the mid-twentieth century in the Republic. It was last used for the murder of a member of the Gardai.

Travel tax is levied on anyone leaving the republic by air. But did you know that groups leaving the country for education reasons may avoid this?

The population of the Republic is 3.6 million [source: ENFO] while there are about 1.6 million in the North [source: UK national statistics]. The population in Ireland before the potato famine in 1848 was about 8 million.

Landscape is incredibly diverse, despite being such a small island. The most spectacular areas are Co. Clare for its limestone and the Giant's Causeway, Co. Antrim for its weird basalt formations

The River Shannon is the longest river in these islands. It traverses the city of Limerick before it enters the Atlantic ocean.

Most western counties face the Atlantic ocean - next landfall west is the USA.

There is very little mineral wealth in Ireland - small deposits of coal are found in Arigna, Co. Cavan and Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny. Peat bogs are found throughout the midlands of Ireland as well as pockets in the north and Donegal and Mayo; most of these are harvested by the state under their agency Bord na Mona.

The Republic has never had conscription to its army. The Irish army has been an integral part of the United Nations, despite its small size. It has been instrumental in peace-keeping in many troubled parts of the world.

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