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Ireland, Republic of

Political Geography and People

The republic's 26 counties are Monaghan, Cavan, and Donegal (constituting part of the historic province of Ulster); Louth, Meath, Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Carlow, Wexford, Kilkenny, Laoighis, Offaly, Westmeath, and Longford (comprising Leinster); Tipperary, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, and Clare (comprising Munster); and Leitrim, Roscommon, Galway, Mayo, and Sligo (comprising Connacht). In addition to the capital, other urban areas are Limerick, Cork, Dún Laoghaire, Waterford, Galway, and Dundalk.

The population is largely Celtic with a minority of English and more recent European and non-European immigrants drawn (since the 1990s) by the country's economic growth. The population is largely Roman Catholic (88%). Although there is no officially established church, the Roman Catholic church has historically played a dominant role in education in the Irish Republic. English and Gaelic are the official languages, with English the more widely used. Gaelic is most common in the west of the country.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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