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The third largest island in Europe is Ireland. Continental Europe is located northwest and many islands are found around it. Britain is located to the east across the Irish sea. Eighty three per cent of the island is The Republic of Ireland, the northeast of the island is Northern Island which is part of the United Kingdom.
Ireland has a mild, but changeable climate and therefore has a mass of green vegetation. Until the 1600's it was covered in woodland, but unfortunately now very little forest is left.
Approximately 6.2 million people inhabit Ireland, with just under 4.5 million living in the Republic of Ireland and less than 1.8 million in Northern Ireland. During the 19th century more than 8 million lived in Ireland before the Great Famine.
From the early 1500s Ireland was gradually taken over by the English. The Protestant English rule in the 1600s was used to economically disadvantage the Roman Catholic majority. The Irish Free State was created in the 20th Cenutuy with the island being split with Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kigndom.
Between the 1960's and the 1990's there was much unrest, but in 1998 an agreement was signed to try and bring both sides together. Since then Ireland has seen immence economic growth.
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