Many people are confused about thisIreland vs Northern Ireland🇧🇷 I am often asked: "What is the difference between Ireland and Northern Ireland?". Is there a difference? Aren't they one and the same? They aren't, and to clear things up for you, here's an explanation of why they exist.it isa difference and what exactly are the differences between the two.
- Main differences between Ireland and Northern Ireland
- Other key differences between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
- Ireland vs Northern Ireland – Other Differences
- History of Ireland and Northern Ireland
- Frequently asked questions about Ireland vs Northern Ireland
- related posts
The island of Ireland consists of two countries, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ireland or the Republic of Ireland makes up the majority and southern part of the island, while Northern Ireland is in the north-east of the island of Ireland. And please note that 'Southern Ireland' is not a term that exists in Ireland. The part of the country that is not Northern Ireland is simply called Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.
The reason these are two separate countries will be briefly discussed later, but be warned. This can be quite a controversial topic when brought up by people living in both countries. It comes from the long history of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
So let's get into the difference between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Main differences between Ireland and Northern Ireland
As mentioned, the main difference between Ireland and Northern Ireland is that they aretwo separate countries🇧🇷 The Republic of Ireland, often referred to just as Ireland, is an independent sovereign state, while Northern Ireland has been part of the United Kingdom since the 3rd century.thirdMay 1921.
Ireland is a member of the European Union (EU), while Northern Ireland did not result from the UK leaving the EU (known as Brexit).
there is no physicalBorderbetween Ireland and Northern Ireland and was abolished under the Good Friday Agreement. While there has been some concern over the fate of the invisible border between the two countries with Brexit, this is no longer an issue as there is agreement that the physical border will not be reintroduced as a result of Brexit. Goods and people can travel between Ireland and Northern Ireland without cheques.
Northern Ireland will continue to follow many EU rules and as Ireland is a member of the EU the invisible border may remain. However, there will be a regulatory border between the Republic of Ireland and England and Wales and another between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. This information was extractedhere🇧🇷 You will find an additional explanationIn this article.
Other key differences between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
As previously mentioned, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are two separate countries. The capital of Northern Ireland is Belfast while the capital of Ireland is Dublin. Both have international airports and good public transport systems within the cities, making them popular with tourists.
Ireland and Northern Ireland have a total of 32 counties. Ireland has 26 counties, Northern Ireland 6.
26 counties - Republic of Ireland: Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford e Wicklow.
6 counties - Northern Ireland: Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh und Tyrone.
Map of Ireland and Northern Ireland
Every country has its own flag. OflagsIreland and Northern Ireland are very different. The flag of the Republic of Ireland is the tricolor of green, white and orange. The official flag of Northern Ireland is the Union Jack of Great Britain. The Government of Northern Ireland used the Ulster Banner from 1953 to 1973, when government and parliament were abolished. However, it is still occasionally used by some Loyalists and Unionists.
If you travel from Ireland to Northern Ireland, you will findRoad SignsChanging trains when crossing the Ireland-Northern Ireland border. This is because Ireland (or the Republic) uses the metric system of measurement while Northern Ireland still uses the imperial system. Local speed limits and distances are shown in kilometers in Ireland but in miles in Northern Ireland.
The island of Ireland is 32,599 square miles or 84,431 square kilometers. The area of the Republic of Ireland is 27,136 square miles or 70,238 square kilometers while the area of Northern Ireland is 5,463 square miles or 14,148 square kilometers.
Ireland vs Northern Ireland – Other Differences
Here are some other differences between the two countries of Ireland.
ÖPopulationIreland and Northern Ireland together is approximately 6.6 million. Ireland has a population of 4.8 million while Northern Ireland has a population of 1.8 million.
Ireland and Northern Ireland have differentcoins🇧🇷 Ireland has the euro as it is part of the eurozone, while Northern Ireland has the pound. Some places in Northern Ireland accept euros as payment and often have a sign saying "Euros Accepted". However, you cannot pay with pounds in the Republic of Ireland.
The Republic of Ireland is a "constitutional parliamentary republic" headed by the President of Ireland, currently Michael D. Higgins. The President is elected by the Irish people, who in turn appoint the Taoiseach. The head of government is the Taoiseach (or Prime Minister) and is responsible for appointing the members of the government. Executive power in the country is vested in the Taoiseach, Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and members of the Dáil (Assembly of Ireland). The legislature is represented by the National Parliament known as the Oireachtas, which comprises Dáil Éireann, Seanad Éireann and the 4 Irish courts - District, Circuit, High and Supreme Court.
Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, headed by the British monarch, now King Charles III. Northern Ireland has a decentralized government headed by the Prime Minister and Deputy Minister. The legislature is led by the Northern Ireland Assembly with a President who presides over the NI Assembly with three Vice-Presidents. Judicial power is exercised by the Lord Chief Justice of NI and 3 courts - the UK High Court, the Judicial Court and the High Court consisting of the Court of Appeal, the Crown Court and the County Courts.
ÖpoliceIn Ireland, the Garda Síochána are unarmed, while the Police Service of Northern Ireland serves Northern Ireland and is armed with Glock 17 revolvers.
As forLanguages, English is the official language of Northern Ireland while the Republic of Ireland has two, English and Gaeilge (Irish). English is the predominant language in Ireland, except in areas of the Gaeltacht where Irish is the first language of the people. In the Republic of Ireland you will find signs using both, particularly for road signs, place names and buildings.
The island of Ireland is a predominantly Christian island in termsReligion🇧🇷 The Republic of Ireland is a predominantly Catholic country. However, Northern Ireland has a higher proportion of Protestant Christians.
Öaccentsin both countries are also very different. The Northern Irish accent has influences from the Republic, Scotland and England and differs markedly from Southern accents.
EUReland and History of Northern Ireland
To understand why Ireland and Northern Ireland are separate countries, you need to delve a little into the history books and go back over 800 years. This story gives an insight into the division and conflict between Ireland and Northern Ireland in modern times.
The "800 years" of British rule began with the Norman invasion of Ireland. In 1169 originally English barons led by Strongbow came to the aid of the King of Leinster in a dispute. Two years later, King Henry II landed with considerable troops, forcing Strongbow and the remaining Irish Gaelic lords to accept him as king.
In 1534 King Henry VIII declared himself head of the Church of England and thus King of Ireland. Irish lords led by Lord Thomas Fitzgerald attempted a rebellion against the Crown which was quickly put down. Henry also ordered the dissolution of the monasteries after his dispute with the Catholic Pope, and ceded church lands to the new Anglican (Protestant) Church.
In 1594 the Earl of Tyrone started a rebellion in Ulster that lasted until his defeat and surrender in 1603, known as the Nine Years' War. This signaled the end of Gaelic Ireland and renewed plantation colonization, where loyal Protestants in Scotland and England were given confiscated lands. This sowed the bitter seeds of division that continue to this day.
In 1695, the penal laws were introduced, depriving Catholics of their basic rights, including the ban on owning a horse, marrying outside their religion, and buying or inheriting property. At the same time, Irish music, culture and education were banned to stamp out Catholicism.
After several more uprisings against British rule, the Act of Union was passed in 1801. This united Ireland politically with Great Britain. The Irish Parliament was dissolved and direct rule from Westminster was introduced.
In 1829, Daniel O'Connell passed the Catholic Emancipation Act, restoring some rights to Catholics. Although he was elected MP, he was unable to hold office because he was Catholic. He became the first Lord Mayor of Dublin.
Between 1845 and 1851 Ireland was hit by the Great Famine. The potato crop failed due to the rot and over 1 million died and many more emigrated due to famine. Food aid was challenged by the British government and much of the remaining good crop was exported abroad, most of it to Britain. The Great Famine left a deep scar on the Irish people, both culturally and socially.
However, times of change came. Between 1886 and 1895, British Prime Minister William Gladstone attempted to introduce Home Rule into the House of Commons, promoted by Charles Stewart Parnell. This was a demand that the government of Ireland should be returned from Westminster to his Irish homeland. This was opposed by a loyalist group that formed the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), whose members vowed to oppose any attempt to impose autonomy on Ireland.
Self-government was finally passed in 1914 but was suspended due to the outbreak of World War I. Crown.
On Easter Sunday 1916 a group of republicans took over the main post office in Dublin, led by Pádraig Pearse, who declared Ireland a republic. After 6 days of fighting the Republicans surrendered and were taken to Kilmainham Gaol where 15 of them were executed. Support for the Republicans grew rapidly after this event.
In 1918 Republicans under the Sinn Féin banner won a vast majority of Ireland's seats, declared independence and formed the first Dáil Éireann. This was an act of war and the Irish War of Independence lasted from 1919 to 1921 until the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed. This created the 26-county Irish Free State and the 6 counties of Ulster, which remained in the United Kingdom.
The contract was imperfect. Some believed it was a stepping stone to full independence, while others saw it as a betrayal of republican ideals and the end of opposition to British rule. However, the Irish Free State eventually became the Republic of Ireland.
In 1969, demonstrations by the Civil Rights Association of Northern Ireland in Derry were disrupted by loyalist attacks and heavy police action, and this marked the beginning of what is known as The Troubles, a 30-year period between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and loyalist paramilitaries .
A ceasefire was reached with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. A decentralized government was formed in Northern Ireland, which is still in office despite being suspended several times. That truce was in jeopardy with Brexit, and Northern Ireland feared that if a physical or 'hard' border were reinstated, the IRA would take up arms again and the problems would start all over again.
Whilst there is more to the history of British rule on the island of Ireland, this gives a brief account (if you can call it that) of how the once united island of Ireland was divided due to strong cultural, religious and governmental disagreements that arose from conflicts. The island of Ireland is now one island, home to two countries, but many hope that one day there will be a united Ireland again. I hope this also explains why the issue is controversial for some of the people living in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Frequently asked questions about Ireland vs Northern Ireland
Is Ireland part of Great Britain?
Northern Ireland is a country or region of origin of the United Kingdom. But the Republic of Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom. It's an independent country.
Is Northern Ireland a country?
Technically no. Northern Ireland is an origin country (or region) of the United Kingdom. It is not a separate country and never has been. It is part of the United Kingdom but not a country, state, kingdom or nation.
How can you tell if you've traveled to Northern Ireland?
While there is no physical border and no passport or customs controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland, there is an invisible border. You can tell that you have crossed the border by looking at the traffic signs. Road signs change when driving from Ireland to Northern Ireland. Speed limits and distance signs in Northern Ireland are shown in miles while in the Republic of Ireland they are shown in kilometers. You may see signs that say "Welcome to Northern Ireland/City in NI" or "You are enter NI/City in NI".
Can you drive across the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland with a rental car?
Unless you have specifically told your rental company that you will be crossing the border, no. Because these are two different countries, car rental companies need to ensure that the insurance premium covers driving in both countries and this can add significant cost to your car rental budget. And don't think that you can just go unnoticed. If the car is equipped with a tracker, the rental company will be notified and a premium will be charged for crossing the border without prior notification.
If you are wondering about the difference between Northern Ireland and Ireland, what those differences are and why, I hope you found this post helpful in explaining and answering these questions.
Cath is an Irish expat now living in Portugal. She returns to Ireland regularly to explore more of the beautiful island with her family.
Is there a difference between Northern Ireland and Ireland? ›
Northern Ireland (Irish: Tuaisceart Éireann [ˈt̪ˠuəʃcəɾˠt̪ˠ ˈeːɾʲən̪ˠ] ( listen); Ulster-Scots: Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is variously described as a country, province or region.What is the difference between the two Irelands? ›
The smaller Northern Ireland was duly created with a devolved government (Home Rule) and remained part of the UK. The larger Southern Ireland was not recognised by most of its citizens, who instead recognised the self-declared 32-county Irish Republic.What is the key cultural difference between Ireland and Northern Ireland? ›
Christianity is the religion with largest following throughout the whole island. The difference is that Northern Ireland has a higher proportion of people who identify as Protestant, whereas the Republic of Ireland's population is predominately Catholic.Why is there a split between Ireland and Northern Ireland? ›
Why was Ireland divided in 1921? Resistance to British rule in Ireland had existed for hundreds of years. Irish nationalists, the majority of them Catholic, resisted this rule in a number of peaceful or violent ways up until the start of the First World War.Are you still Irish if you're from Northern Ireland? ›
Nationality and citizenship
These include the birthright of the people of Northern Ireland to identify and be accepted as British or Irish, or both, and to hold both British and Irish citizenship.
In 2021: 42.8% identified as British, alone or with other national identities. 33.3% identified as Irish, alone or with other national identities. 31.5% identified as Northern Irish, alone or with other national identities.Are there still 2 Irelands? ›
Geopolitically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.Do Ireland and Northern Ireland have different flags? ›
The only official flag for Northern Ireland is the Union Flag, the flag of the United Kingdom; there is no official local flag that represents only Northern Ireland.Which part of Ireland is Catholic? ›
Ireland is split between the Republic of Ireland (predominantly Catholic) and Northern Ireland (predominantly Protestant).Do the northern Irish like Americans? ›
While this article's initial focus is on whether the Northern Irish are friendly to Americans, it's worth saying that they're friendly to everyone, really. While there are some differences between the north and the south of Ireland, you'll find that our reputation for friendliness is very much deserved.
Is Northern Ireland more Protestant or Catholic? ›
Data from the 2021 census showed 45.7% of respondents identified as Catholic or were brought up Catholic, compared with 43.5% identifying as Protestants. The previous census in 2011 showed Protestants outnumbered Catholics 48% to 45%.Why is Northern Ireland known as The Black North? ›
The Black North is an expression sometimes used to describe Northern Ireland. Typically it refers to the majority presence of Protestants (whose main denominations include Church of Ireland, Presbyterian Church of Ireland and Methodist Church in Ireland) in some of the six counties that comprise Northern Ireland.Why do Catholic and Protestant fight in Ireland? ›
Tensions Leading to the Troubles
While Ireland was fully independent, Northern Ireland remained under British rule, and the Catholic communities in cities like Belfast and Derry (legally called Londonderry) complained of discrimination and unfair treatment by the Protestant-controlled government and police forces.
Most of Ireland gained independence from Great Britain following the Anglo-Irish War. Initially formed as a Dominion called the Irish Free State in 1922, the Republic of Ireland became a fully independent republic following the passage of the Republic of Ireland Act in 1949.Which part of Ireland is Protestant? ›
The Protestants live throughout Ireland but they are more numerous in the counties immediately bordering Northern Ireland: Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim, the first three once part of Ulster.What do Irish call themselves? ›
Four polls taken between 1989 and 1994 revealed that when asked to state their national identity, over 79% of Northern Irish Protestants replied "British" or "Ulster" with 3% or less replying "Irish", while over 60% of Northern Irish Catholics replied "Irish" with 13% or less replying "British" or "Ulster".What do the Irish call Northern Ireland? ›
Northern Ireland is literally translated to Tuaisceart Éireann in Irish (though it is sometimes known as Na Sé Chontae 'The Six Counties' as well as Tuaisceart na hÉireann '[the] North of Ireland' by republicans) and Norlin Airlann or Northern Ireland in Ulster Scots.Is Belfast British or Irish? ›
Belfast is in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. Belfast is in located in the northeastern quadrant of the island of Ireland; it is not part of the Republic of Ireland.What race do the Irish belong to? ›
Today, the majority of Irish people are from the Irish ethnic group and are white. Most are Roman Catholic, and nearly all of them speak English. About 40% of Irish people speak the language, Irish. There is a substantial minority of Irish who are of Scottish or English descent.What race is Northern Ireland? ›
In 2021 the number of people with a white ethnic group was 1,837,600 (96.6% of the population). Conversely, the total number of people with a minority ethnic group stood at 65,600 people (3.4% of the population).
Are people from Northern Ireland friendly? ›
Northern Irish people are incredibly kind and pleasant, so it's no wonder they have been voted among the happiest people in the UK.Why did Ireland stop speaking Irish? ›
The decline of the Irish language was the result of two factors: the Great Irish Potato Famine and the repeal of Penal Laws. The Potato Famine led to a decline in the Irish-speaking population. The repeal of Penal Law made Catholics interested in learning English as a way to get ahead in life.Who controls Ireland now? ›
The current government is a coalition of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Green Party with Micheál Martin as Taoiseach and Leo Varadkar as Tánaiste.Why is Ireland not in the UK? ›
A war of independence followed that ended with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which partitioned Ireland between the Irish Free State, which gained dominion status within the British Empire, and a devolved administration in Northern Ireland, which remained part of the UK.
People wear whatever colour they wish. Any more than a White wedding dress represents the Klu Klux Klan, the colour Orange is not representative of political affiliations on the Island of Ireland.Is Northern Ireland Irish or British? ›
The island of Ireland comprises the Republic of Ireland, which is a sovereign country, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.Is a Northern Irish person British? ›
People born in Northern Ireland are generally considered British citizens by birth under the British Nationality Act 1981 if one of their parents was either a British citizen or legally settled in the UK at the time of their birth.Does Ireland believe in Jesus? ›
The predominant religion in the Republic of Ireland is Christianity, with the largest denomination being the Catholic Church. The Constitution of Ireland says that the state may not endorse any particular religion and guarantees freedom of religion.Is Belfast Catholic or Protestant? ›
As you can see, west Belfast is mainly Catholic, in most areas over 90%. For many years, the Catholic population expanded to the southwest, but in recent years it has started expanding around the Shankill and into north Belfast. The east of the city is predominantly Protestant, typically 90% or more.What are Catholic Irish called? ›
Taig in Northern Ireland is most commonly used as a derogatory term by loyalists to refer to Catholics. Tadhg was once so common as an Irish name that it became synonymous with the typical person, with phrases like Tadhg an mhargaidh ("Tadhg of the market") akin to "the man on the Clapham omnibus" or "average Joe".
Which US state has the most Irish citizens? ›
The most Irish state in the U.S. is New Hampshire, where 20.2% of the state's residents are Irish. The least Irish state in the U.S. is Hawaii, where only 4.3% of the state's residents are Irish. The most Irish city in the U.S. is Ocean City, NJ, which is 30.22% Irish.Can I live in Ireland as a US citizen? ›
Americans can visit Ireland for up to 90 days without needing to apply for a visa or preclearance. However, if you wish to emigrate to Ireland, you will need to apply for preclearance before you travel to the country. There are different emigration routes that you can take if you want to relocate to Ireland.What is an Irish American called? ›
Irish Americans or Hiberno-Americans (Irish: Gael-Mheiriceánaigh) are Americans who have full or partial ancestry from Ireland. About 32 million Americans — 9.7% of the total population — identified as being Irish in the 2020 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.Is Northern Ireland part of the UK or Ireland? ›
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), since 1922, comprises four constituent countries: England, Scotland, and Wales (which collectively make up Great Britain), as well as Northern Ireland (variously described as a country, province or region).Is Dublin in Ireland or Northern Ireland? ›
Ireland (Irish: Éire [ˈeːɾʲə] ( listen)), also known as the Republic of Ireland (Poblacht na hÉireann), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern side of the island.Does England still rule Ireland? ›
Most of Ireland gained independence from Great Britain following the Anglo-Irish War. Initially formed as a Dominion called the Irish Free State in 1922, the Republic of Ireland became a fully independent republic following the passage of the Republic of Ireland Act in 1949.