IntroductionIreland, Irish Eire ârˈə [to it are related the poetic Erin and perhaps the Latin Hibernia ], island, 32,598 sq mi (84,429 sq km), second largest of the British Isles. The island is divided into two major political units—Northern Ireland (see Ireland, Northern), which is joined with Great Britain in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland (see Ireland, Republic of). Of the 32 counties of Ireland, 26 lie in the Republic, and of the four historic provinces, three and part of the fourth are in the Republic.
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