Ireland

Geography, Climate, Population

Ireland is an island, which consists of Republic of Ireland ( comprising about five-sixths of the island of Ireland) and Nothern Ireland. It is situated in the west of Great Britain, in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The main cities are the capitals of each states, Dublin (capital of Republic) – over 40% of the population resides there, and Belfast (cap. Of Nothern I.).
The whole landscape consists mainly of the lowlands or pleateaus. There are almost no mountains but the range of mountains along the cost, which also is not very high. The highes peak is called Carrantuohill- 1040 m. Sometimes it is called a „bowl“. The coastline, long about 5600 km, is very steep, just because of the cliffs.
Ireland has also been called the Emerald Island thanks to its verdure, beautiful romantic spots…and it is involved by the moderate climate there are mild winters, cool summers, about half the time overcast – lots of rain, so the climate is consistely humid.
The longest and also the most celebrated river is Shannon, other lakes can we find in the west.
The whole Ireland is an area of about 84 000 sq. km (70 000 sq. km – Rep. of Ir., 14 000 sq, km – Nothern Ir.). It is a strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and nothern Europe.
The population of Ireland is predominately of Celtic origin, no significant ethnic minorities exist. It has got about 3,5 mil inhabitants, but many of Ir. People live abroad ( in USA and other). The population decreased from the 1840’s, when about 6,5 million person lived in an area included in the republic, until about 1970, largely because of a high emigration rate.
Political system

The government is based on the constitution of 1937. This dodument proclaims Ireland a sovereign, independent, democratic state.
Executive branch :
The head of state is the president ( 2002 – Mary Mcaleese, since November 1997 ), elected by direct popular vote for a 7-year term, max. for 14 years, who is also the supreme commander of the defence forces.
It is vested in the government, which is responsible to the lower house of the national legislature and is headed by the prime minister ( Bertie Ahern, since June 1997 )
Legislative authority :
is vested in a bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (60 seats) and the Houses of Representatives (166 seats).
The most importent party is republicans.
The flag consists of three bands – green : old gaelic and anglosaxon origins
- orange : William of Orange
- white : peace, truth
Judicial branch :
is vested in a supreme court, judges are appointed by the president, than high court, court of criminal appeal and the discrict courts.

Economy

Ireland is a small, modern, trade-independent economy with very big growth, one of the most quickly developing country.
Agriculture, one of the most important sector is now dwarfed by the industry. The agriculturalmost income is animal husbandry ( cattle, sheep, hogs, horses), poultry production is also important.The principal field crops are wheat, barley, oats,potatoes, sugar beats,beef, diary products... The fishing industry is expanding.
Although mining play a relativaly minor role in Ir. Economy, Ireland is one of the leading exporters of lead and zinc in Europe. Natural gas is extracted off the southwestern coast,so they do not have any natural resources. They are produce of energy, represented generally by the fossil fuel, but also hydro energy and other.
The have a huge resources of peat, which is dug for domestic and industrial fuel, they are second country in the world in this production. They export – office machinery and data-processing equipment, electrical machinery, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, live animals, animal products. They import nearly everything – textiles, clothing, machinery, peroleum, iron and steal.
The Irish pound is the basic unit of currency and it is one of the strongest currenciesin the world.
Commerce and Trade- Dubli and Cork are the manufacturing, financial and commercial centres of Ireland. Dublin is the most important seaport, Cork is the main port of transatlantic passenger travel.Other significant ports include Dún Laoghaire, Waterford, Rosslare and Limerick.
Ireland became a member of the European Community in 1973. Their major trading partners are GB, Ger., US, Fr and Japan.
Tourism has been effectivaly promoted and has increased steadilly in importance (great hospitality, rivers, lakes, mountains offer many advantures)
Transportation and Communications : Ireland has 2700 km of railway track, 92 300 km of highway system, a bulk of navigable inland waterways and several international airports. All postal, telegraph, telephone and broadcasting services are operated by government agencies or statutory bodies.

CULTURE

They have very specific music made by violins, flutes or backpipes. They do not use their hands while dancing. The national sports are hurling- a strenuous game similar to field hockey, and gaelic football, which can be considered as a mix of rugby, soccer and basketball. Horse racing is highly popular sport throughout the republic. Thank to its level ladnscape there are good conditions to play golf.

HISTORY

Early settlers :
The first people settled in Ireland about 6000 B.C. They lived on fish and other food that they gathered in the area. About 3000 B.C., a second wave of settlers arrived who used domestical animals and who knew how to make textiles and pottery. They lived in small communities and the survivals of all these people in Ireland are the megaliths – great stone monuments. About 2000 B.C., a group of metalworkers arrived in Ireland. The knew how to make bronze and made the counrty an important centre of metalwork. From about 400 B.C. up to the birth of Christ, groups of invadersarreived. They were called Celts. Their language was an old form of what is now Irish. They were farmers who grew cerals and spent much of time tending cattle and sheep.
Their priests called druids offered sacrifices to the gods but also served as a teachers and judges. The Celts divided the country into about 150 small communities. The whole community was well organized on the top was always some chieftain. It did not exist the towns.
Saint Patrick (372) was an irish missionare born to rich family, who was kidnapped, taken to Ir. as a slave, had to look after sheep, wanted to go home, escaped, returned to Great Britain, but after that he was not sutisfied, so he went to France and was educated by monks in latin 432 the pope sent him back to Ir., appointed him a bishop and wanted him to convert the Cellts to christianity which turned out to be very difficult because of their catholic belief, but he managed to do it he celebrated masses under the sky, founded many churches, monastries..
- shamrock: Father, Son, Holy Spirit
- he is said to expalse all the snakes from Ireland
- after his death he was declared saint
During the Dark ages of Europe (500-800) Ir. became a great candle of education and scholarship, also thanks to the monastery schools.
In about 795-950 started the Viking’s era. They started their invasion by attacking the coastline places and than they began to stay there. At first the Irish were not succesful in defending themselves against the invaders. Although they put up a stronger resistance ti win the victories, they didn’t drive the Vikings out of the country. Vikings began to develope trade, married into Irish families and, eventually, became Christians. By the end of 900’s, Brian Boru had conquered his neighbours, defeated Vik. and made himself the strongest king.
In 1171 Henry II. crossed to Ireland to assert his authority and from this time we can speak about political involvement of England.
Later Henry VIII: added a title – „King of Ireland“, he forced Irish people tochange their belief to anglican.
Than there were bloody battles because of O. Cromwell.
During the War of Roses (1455-1485) Ireland was left largely undisturbed.
The Irish welcomed the accesion of King James II. to the Eng. throne in 1685, because he was a Roman Catholic and the Ir. hoped that he would allow them to recover their lands. But in 1688, the Eng. people deposed James II. and offered the throne to William of Orange, a Dutch prince.He defeated James in1689 at the Boyne. In 1691 the Treaty of Limerick was signed. One clause of treaty seemed to promise that Roman Catholic would be free to practise their religion, but this permition was not kept.
In 1800 Ir. parliament made the Act of Union, where William Pitt promised that Britain would grand political rights to Roman Catholic, but it also dissapointed.
During the whole 18, cent. there was a big emmigrant’s wave to USA, Australia, New Zealand..
Daniel O’Connell, a Roman Catholic lawyer formed a Catholic Association to work for full political rights for Roman Catholic, all the Ir. people supported him and he was finaly elected to Parliament.
After that there was The Young Irelanders, who tried to win Protestant support, but most Protestant opposed them.
Than came a „Great“ Potatoe Famine in 1846, because the blight appeared. Hundreds of thousands died and were burried in common graves. Nearly million people emigrated believed that Britain was was the cause of all their suffering.
During the years 1919 – 1921 there was a War of Independence, finally the Treaty was signed and 26 countries were constituted the Irish Free State and given the status of a dominion. But the country did not find a peace, there were still fights between Free Staters, who supported the treaty and the Republikans, who opposed them. In June 1922 the civil war began. It ended in 1923.
In 1937 parliament accepted the own Constitution , which described Ireland as a „sovereign, independent, democratic state“ called Eire.
In 1949 the country became a Republic.
On Jan. 1, 1973, the Republic of Ireland joined the European Community. A period of great economic growth followed.

LITERATURE

JONATHAN SWIFT

He was an Anglo-Irish churchman, politicel writer, poet and one of the greatest satirists in world literature.
Swift was born in Dublin in 1667. A few month later his father died and he was left to be taken care of by his uncles. He waqs educated in one of the best school in Ireland and than he began attending Trinity College in Dublin. Six years later he was forced by the politicanviolence tžo join his mother in England. Most of the next years he spent in household of Sir William Temple and there he had rich library disposal. However Swift was also a most devoted churchman.
He became an editor of Torie publication. He became a dean of St. Patrick’s cathedral and after his death in 1745 he was burried there.
Works :
Gulliver’s Travels
A Tale of a Tub
The Abolishing of Christianity
Journal to Stella
The drapier’s Letters
A modest proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen
Correspondence

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

An Irish dramatist, who wrote more plays than Shakespeare, literary critic, a socialist spokesman an a leading figure in the 20th century theater. He was a free thinker, a supporter of women’s rights. In 1925 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Shaw was born in Dublin and he had a troubled childhood , his father was a drunker, Shaw’s mother left the family home to teach music in London,so he, and his two sisters were brought up mostly by servants. Later the family moved to a better neighbourhood…
He began his career by writing music and drama critism, and novels..
His early plays, Widower’s Houses, which criticized slum landlords were not well received.
- ideological attack on evil of capitalism
- explorations of moral and social problems
Candida – comedy
John Bull’s other island
Major Barbara – money and power can be better weapons than love
Pygmalion – written for the actress Patrick Cambell, correspondence, basis for two films and musicals
Saint Joan – masterpiece, based on the life of Joan of Arc, but he did portrait her not as a heroine but as a stubborn, sexless young woman of a great spirit, written 4 years after Joan was declared a saint
Arms and the man
Shaw died in 1950 and his ash was mixed with his wife’s ash according to his wish. During the long career he wrote over 50 plays and was regarded as a second Shakespeare.

OSCAR WILDE

JAMES JOYCE

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