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During the Home Rule Crisis the possibility was discussed of a "temporary" partition of these six counties from the rest of Ireland. In 1914, the Third Home Rule Act received Royal Assent. However, its implementation was suspended before it came into effect owing to the outbreak of the First World War, and the Amending Bill to partition Ireland was abandoned. The war was expected to last only a few weeks but in fact lasted four years. By the end of the war (during which the 1916 Easter Rising had taken place), the Act was seen as unimplementable. Public opinion in the majority "nationalist" community (who sought greater independence from Britain) had shifted during the war from a demand for home rule to one for full independence. In 1919, David Lloyd George proposed a new bill which would divide Ireland into two Home Rule areas: twenty-six counties being ruled from Dublin and six being ruled from Belfast. Straddling these two areas would be a shared Lord Lieutenant of Ireland who would appoint both governments and a Council of Ireland, which Lloyd George believed would evolve into an all-Ireland parliament. Events had however overtaken the government. In the general election of 1918, the pro-independence Sinn Féin won 73 of the 105 parliamentary seats in Ireland and unilaterally established the First Dáil, an extrajudicial parliament in Ireland.
Northern Ireland (Irish: Tuaisceart Éireann [ˈt̪ˠuəʃcəɾˠt̪ˠ ˈeːɾʲən̪ˠ] ( listen); Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlann or Norlin Airlan) is a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the north-east of the island of Ireland. It is variously described as a country, province, or region of the United Kingdom, amongst other terms. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, Northern Ireland is largely self-governing. According to the agreement, Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland on some policy areas, while other areas are reserved for the British Government, though the Republic of Ireland "may put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between [the two governments]". Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by an act of the British parliament. Unlike Southern Ireland, which would become the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of Northern Ireland's population were unionists or loyalists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom. Most of these were the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain; however, a significant minority, mostly Catholics, were nationalists or republicans who wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule. Today, the former generally see themselves as British and the latter generally see themselves as Irish; some people from both communities describe themselves as Northern Irish. Historically, Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility between these two communities in what Nobel Peace Prize-winner David Trimble called a "cold house" for Catholics. In the late 1960s, conflict between the two communities, and involving state forces, erupted into three decades of violence known as the Troubles, which claimed over 3,000 lives and caused over 50,000 casualties. The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 was a major step in the peace process although sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems.
Cities and towns by population ]
Geography and climate Main articles: Geography of Ireland and Geography of the United Kingdom Northern Ireland was covered by an ice sheet for most of the last ice age and on numerous previous occasions, the legacy of which can be seen in the extensive coverage of drumlins in Counties Fermanagh, Armagh, Antrim and particularly Down. The centrepiece of Northern Ireland's geography is Lough Neagh, at 151 square miles (391 km2) 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 north Antrim coast. Strangford Lough is the largest inlet in the British Isles, covering 150 km2 (58 sq mi). There are substantial uplands in the Sperrin Mountains (an extension of the Caledonian mountain belt) with extensive gold deposits, granite Mourne Mountains and basalt Antrim Plateau, as well as smaller ranges in South Armagh and along the Fermanagh–Tyrone border. None of the hills are especially high, with Slieve Donard in the dramatic Mournes reaching 850 metres (2,789 ft), Northern Ireland's highest point. Belfast's most prominent peak is Cavehill. The volcanic activity which created the Antrim Plateau also formed the eerily geometric pillars of the Giant's Causeway on the north Antrim coast. Also in north Antrim are the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Mussenden Temple and the Glens of Antrim.
Geography and climate Main articles: Geography of Ireland and Geography of the United Kingdom The Lower and Upper River Bann, River Foyle and River Blackwater form extensive fertile lowlands, with excellent arable land also found in North and East Down, although much of the The valley of the River Lagan is dominated by Belfast, whose metropolitan area includes over a third of the population of Northern Ireland, with heavy urbanisation and industrialisation along the Lagan Valley and both shores of Belfast Lough. 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. The weather is unpredictable at all times of the year, and although the seasons are distinct, they are considerably less pronounced than in interior Europe or the eastern seaboard of North America. Average daytime maximums in Belfast are 6.5 °C (43.7 °F) in January and 17.5 °C (63.5 °F) in July. The damp climate and extensive deforestation in the 16th and 17th centuries resulted in much of the region being covered in rich green grassland. The highest maximum temperature recorded was 30.8 °C (87.4 °F) at Knockarevan, near Garrison, County Fermanagh on 30 June 1976 and at Belfast on 12 July 1983. The lowest minimum temperature recorded was −18.7 °C (−1.7 °F) at Castlederg, County Tyrone on 23 December 2010. The Mourne Mountains, County Down
Belfast Demographics Main articles: Demographics of Northern Ireland, People of Northern Ireland and Religion in Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Tuaisceart Éireann (Irish) Norlin Airlann (Ulster Scots) Location of Northern Ireland (dark green) – in Europe (green & dark grey) – in the United Kingdom (green) Capital and largest city 54°36′N 5°55′W Languagesa English Regional languages Irish Ulster Scots Ethnic groups (2011) 98.28% White 1.06% Asian 0.20% Black 0.46% Other Sovereign state United Kingdom Government Consociational devolved assembly within constitutional monarchy - Monarch Elizabeth II - First Minister Peter Robinson - Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness British Government - Prime Minister David Cameron - Secretary of State Theresa Villiers Legislature Northern Ireland Assembly Devolution - Government of Ireland Act 3 May 1921 - Constitution Act 18 July 1973 - Northern Ireland Act 17 July 1974 - Northern Ireland Act 19 November 1998 Area - Total 13,843 km2 5,345 sq mi Population - 2014 estimate 1,841,245 - 2011 census 1,810,863 - Density 131/km2 339/sq mi GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate - Total $45.22 billion - Per capita $25197 GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate - Total $48.36 billion - Per capita $25859 Currency Pound sterling (GBP) Time zone GMT (UTC) - Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1) Date format dd/mm/yyyy (AD) Drives on the left Calling code +44b a. ^ Northern Ireland has no official language. The use of English has been established through precedent. Irish and Ulster Scots are officially recognised by the British Government as minority languages. b. ^ +44 is always followed by 28 when calling landlines. The code is 028 within the UK and 048 from the Republic of Ireland Religion in Northern Ireland Religion Protestantism** 42% Roman Catholicism 41% No religion or not stated 17% Non-Christian religions 1% *May not add to 100% due to rounding ** Church of Ireland, Presbyterian Church in Ireland and others
Demographics The population of Northern Ireland has risen yearly since 1978. The population in 2011 was 1.8 million, having grown 7.5% over the previous decade from just under 1.7 million in 2001. This constitutes just under 3% of the population of the UK (62 million) and just over 28% of the population of the island of Ireland (6.3 million). The population of Northern Ireland is almost entirely White (98.2%). In 2011, 88.8% of the population were born in Northern Ireland, with 4.5% born in other parts of the United Kingdom, and 2.9% born in the Republic of Ireland. 4.3% were born elsewhere; triple the amount there were in 2001. Most are from Eastern Europe and Baltic states. The largest non-white ethnic groups were Chinese (6,300) and Indian (6,200). Black people of various origins made up 0.2% of the 2011 population and people of mixed ethnicity made up 0.2%. In the 2011 census, 41.5% of the population identified as belonging to Protestant or other non-Roman Catholic Christian denominations. The biggest of these denominations were the Presbyterian Church (19%), the Church of Ireland (14%) and the Methodist Church (3%). The largest single denomination is the Roman Catholic Church, to which 41% of the population belonged. 0.8% identified with non-Christian religions or philosophies, while 17% identified with no religion or did not state one. In terms of community background (i.e. one's own religion or the religion one was brought up in), 48% of the population came from a Protestant background, 45% from a Catholic background, 0.9% from non-Christian backgrounds and 5.6% non-religious backgrounds.
Languages Main articles: Languages of the United Kingdom and Languages of Ireland Approximate boundaries of the current and historical English/Scots dialects in Ulster. Mid-Ulster English is in light blue. Ulster Scots (green) is no longer spoken in that entire area. The Irish-speaking Gaeltacht is not shown. English is spoken as a first language by almost all of the Northern Ireland population. It is the de facto official language and the Administration of Justice (Language) Act (Ireland) 1737 prohibits the use of languages other than English in legal proceedings. Under the Good Friday Agreement, Irish and Ulster Scots (an Ulster dialect of the Scots language, sometimes known as Ullans), are recognised as "part of the cultural wealth of Northern Ireland". Two all-island bodies for the promotion of these were created under the Agreement: Foras na Gaeilge, which promotes the Irish language, and the Ulster Scots Agency, which promotes the Ulster Scots dialect and culture. These operate separately under the aegis of the North/South Language Body, which reports to the North/South Ministerial Council. The British government in 2001 ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Irish (in Northern Ireland) was specified under Part III of the Charter, with a range of specific undertakings in relation to education, translation of statutes, interaction with public authorities, the use of placenames, media access, support for cultural activities and other matters. A lower level of recognition was accorded to Ulster Scots, under Part II of the Charter. English Main article: Mid-Ulster English The dialect of English spoken in Northern Ireland shows influence from the lowland Scots language. There are supposedly some minute differences in pronunciation between Protestants and Catholics, the best known of which is the name of the letter h, which Protestants tend to pronounce as "aitch", as in British English, and Catholics tend to pronounce as "haitch", as in Hiberno-English. However, geography is a much more important determinant of dialect than religious background.
George Best, Northern Irish international footballer and 1968 Ballon d'Or Field sports Football In Northern Ireland, sport is popular and important in the lives of many people. Sports tend to be organised on an all-Ireland basis and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland often field a single team. The most notable exception is association football, which has separate governing bodies for each jurisdiction.
GOLF Perhaps Northern Ireland's most notable successes in professional sport have come in golf. Northern Ireland has contributed more major champions in the modern era than any other European country, with three in the space of just 14 months from the US Open in 2010 to the Open Championship in 2011. Notable golfers include Fred Daly (winner of The Open in 1947), Ryder Cup players Ronan Rafferty and David Feherty, leading European Tour professionals David Jones, Michael Hoey (a winner on Tour in 2011) and Gareth Maybin, as well as three recent major winners Graeme McDowell (winner of the US Open in 2010, the first European to do so since 1970), Rory McIlroy (winner of two majors) and Darren Clarke (winner of The Open in 2011). Northern Ireland has also contributed several players to the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team, including Alan Dunbar and Paul Cutler who played on the victorious 2011 team in Scotland. The Golfing Union of Ireland, the governing body for men's and boy's amateur golf throughout Ireland and the oldest golfing union in the world, was founded in Belfast in 1891. Northern Ireland's golf courses include the Royal Belfast Golf Club (the earliest, formed in 1881), Royal Portrush Golf Club, which is the only course outside Great Britain to have hosted The Open Championship, and Royal County Down Golf Club (Golf Digest magazine's top-rated course outside the United States). Golf Prominent Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy
The BBC has a division called BBC Northern Ireland with headquarters in Belfast. As well as broadcasting standard UK-wide programmes, BBC NI produces local content, including a news break-out called BBC Newsline. The ITV franchise in Northern Ireland is Ulster Television (UTV). The state-owned Channel 4 and the privately owned Channel 5 also broadcast in Northern Ireland and access is also available to satellite and cable services. All Northern Ireland viewers must obtain a UK TV licence to watch live television transmissions. RTÉ, the national broadcaster of the Republic of Ireland, is available over the air to most parts of Northern Ireland via reception overspill and via satellite and cable. Since the digital TV switchover, RTÉ1 & 2 and the Irish-language channel, TG4, are now available over the air on the UK's Freeview system from transmitters within Northern Ireland. Although they are transmitted in standard definition, a Freeview HD box or television is required for reception. As well as the standard UK-wide radio stations from the BBC, Northern Ireland is home to many local radio stations, such as Cool FM, CityBeat, and Q102.9. The BBC has two regional radio stations which broadcast in Northern Ireland, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle. The Belfast Telegraph is the leading newspaper, and UK and Irish national newspapers are also available. There is a range of local newspapers such as the News Letter and the Irish News. Northern Ireland uses the same telecommunications and postal services as the rest of the United Kingdom at standard domestic rates and there are no mobile roaming charges between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. People in Northern Ireland who live close to the border with the Republic of Ireland may inadvertently switch over to the Irish mobile networks, causing international roaming fees to be applied. Northern Ireland can be called from the Republic of Ireland at trunk rates, as opposed to international rates, using the 048 prefix. Broadcasting House, Belfast, home of BBC Northern Ireland