General Information about Ireland
Éire or Ireland is divided into four provinces: Leinster, Connacht, Ulster and Munster.
The climate is mild with an annual temperature of around 10 C. The coldest months are January and February. During the summer, temperatures range from 14 to 20 C. The warmest months are July and August with average temperature reaching 16 c. There are about 18 hours of daylight during July and August and you will find it only gets truly dark after 11 pm.
As a golden rule Irish weather is not predictable! You could be wearing a t-shirt in March and need a woolly jumper for August! Ireland gets a lot of rain, so remember to pack a light coat.
The 32 Counties
Ireland is often referred to as the 32 counties, with its two states, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, nicknamed respectively the Six Counties and the 26 Counties. The counties were a creation of British rule in Ireland and were set up in the 19th century to provide a framework for local government. Subsequently adopted by sporting and cultural organisations such as the Gaelic Athletic Association, which organises its activities on county lines, today the county division attracts strong loyalties, particularly in the sporting field.
All that Australian, Canadian, EU, New Zealand and US residents need to visit the country for a period of three months or under is a valid passport. If you intend staying longer you must prove that you can support yourself for this time and a medical examination is often required. It is also worth noting that if you are resident outside the EU, this does not include the right to work. If you do wish to work in the country, you should contact your nearest Irish diplomatic office. This is also where you need to go if you not resident in any of the aforementioned regions or are in any doubt as to whether you need a visa to enter the country. UK residents do not need a passport to travel to Ireland.
Visitors from EU countries are entitled to medical treatment under the EU Reciprocal Medical Treatment agreement. Before you travel you should collect a form, E111, from your local social security office. Check that the doctor or dentist that you use is registered with the Irish Health Board and inform him or her that you want to be treated under the EU's social security arrangements. In the event of an emergency, visitors may telephone or go directly to the casualty department of the major hospitals.
The flag is twice as wide as it is tall. The green side is by the flagpole. This flag was first used in 1848. Colors in the flag represent the native population and religious beliefs in Ireland. Green: Signifies the native people of Ireland. Orange: Represents the British supporters of William of Orange who settled in Northern Ireland in the 17th century. White occupies the center of the flag and signifies peace between these two groups of people.
A symbol of Friendship, Love and Loyalty. The Claddagh design is said to originate from the Galway Area, and the Aran Islands. The Claddagh ring was originally worn by men, but later used as a Marriage Ring for Men and Women. The symbol is comprised of 2 hands, a heart and a crown. The hands symbolize the parties involved. The heart is the seat of affection or love with the crown being perfection.
The harp symbol has been recognized as the emblem of Ireland since the 13th century. It was officially adopted as Ireland’s national symbol when the Irish Free State was created in 1922. The most famous Harp of Ireland is the Brian Boru harp which is located at the Trinity College in Dublin. The Boru harp is the oldest surviving Irish harp, and is the model used for the State emblem.
The Trinity Symbol is an ancient Celtic design. The Trinity emblem is an ancient symbol for a high spiritual dignity. In the Christian faith, it represents the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity symbol has been inscribed in stone, and also has been colored. Red for power, faith, language and sacrifice. Blue -represents faith and trust. Green –color of the plants and trees, suggests hope of life eternal.
The Celtic Cross is possibly the best known symbol of Early Christianity in Ireland. The High Celtic Cross is a self contained monument, and are as high as 20 feet. They are generally made of sandstone, and their main characteristic feature is a circle connecting the arms. The rings around the high cross may have been a symbol of the cosmos, and at the center is the Crucifixion of Christ. Or, the ring may have been a structural piece, to prevent the arms of the cross from snapping off. There are many decorations on the crosses many including scenes from the bible, while others feature animal Interlace, and scroll work. The crosses at Monasterboise and Cross of Scriptures, Clonmacnoise are good examples for the traditional Celtic Cross
For more information visit: http://www.irelandinformationguide.com/Republic_of_Ireland