Ireland ( or ;), also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a sovereign state in Europe occupying about five-sixths of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located in the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a quarter of the country's 4.6 million inhabitants. The state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, one of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint George's Channel to the south east, and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic with an elected president serving as head of state. The head of government, the Taoiseach, is nominated by the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann.
Following the Irish War of Independence, which resulted in the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the modern Ireland gained effective independence from the United Kingdom as the Irish Free State in 1922. Northern Ireland exercised an option (called the Ulster Month) to remain in the United Kingdom. Initially a dominion within the British Empire (later the Commonwealth of Nations), the Free State attained official British recognition of full legislative independence in the Statute of Westminster of 1931. A new constitution was adopted in 1937, by which the name of the state became Ireland. In 1949 the remaining duties of the king—defined by the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act 1936—were removed and Ireland was declared a republic under the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but since 1999 the two have co-operated on a number of policy areas under the North-South Ministerial Council created under the Good Friday Agreement.
Long one of Europe's poorest states, modern Ireland ranks among the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita. After joining the European Union (then called the European Economic Community) in 1973, Ireland enacted liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic expansion. The country achieved considerable prosperity from 1995 to 2007, during which it became known as the Celtic Tiger. An unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the global economic crash, halted this era of rapid economic growth.
Although still recovering from its economic troubles, Ireland remains one of the world's most prosperous countries. In 2011 and 2013, it was ranked as the seventh-most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index. Ireland also performs well in several metrics of national performance, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD. It pursues a policy of neutrality through non-alignment and is consequently not a member of NATO, although it does participate in Partnership for Peace.
How places in the Republic of Ireland are organized
The Republic of Ireland traditionally has been divided into 26 counties, with Tipperary county split into two counties in the 1890's and Dublin county split into three counties in the 1990's. The standard at WeRelate is to title Irish place pages according to their traditional (pre-split) county when it is known, with also-located-in links to the post-split counties.
All places in Republic of Ireland
Further information on historical place organization in Republic of Ireland
Irish records online.