Ireland, separated by the Irish Sea from Great Britain, is home to 6.4 million people.
Although less than 10% of the population speaks Irish regularly outside of school, it is still the official language. English is the most widely spoken language.
The Republic of Ireland is a parliamentary democracy with a written constitution and a popularly elected president who has mostly ceremonial powers. The Government is headed by a prime minister, who is appointed by the President on the nomination of the lower house of parliament.
Christianity is the predominant religion, with the largest church being the Roman Catholic Church with approximately 85% of the population as followers. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion.
The currency is the Euro.