Northern Ireland


UK Flag


Country: Northern Ireland (Irish: Tuaisceart Éireann)

Georgian transcript: ჩრდილოეთ ირლანდია

Capital: Belfast (Irish: Béal Feirste 'mouth of the sand-bank ford') (ბელფასტი)

Continent: Europe

Official languages: English; Irish, Ulster-Scots

Religion: Christianity (Catholicism, Protestantism)

Patron saint: Saint Patrick

Status: Country (constituent unit)

Government: Consociational devolved legislature within a unitary constitutional monarchy

Population: 1 876 695 (2017)

Demonym: Irish

Currency: Pound sterling (GBP) (გირვანქა სტერლინგი)

Drives on the left

Time zone: Greenwich Mean Time; British Summer Time (UTC +1:00)

Calling code: +44

Internet TLD: .uk

Website: Government of Northern Ireland

Neighbouring country: Republic of Ireland


Northern Ireland on the UK map


Northern Ireland (Irish: Tuaisceart Éireann; Ulster-Scots: Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province, or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland.


Belfast, Northern Ireland. Credit: gavsgav


Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to 'put forward views and proposals' with 'determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments'.


Castle, Belfast
Castle, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Credit: endamac


Northern Ireland was created in 1921 when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Unlike Southern Ireland, which became the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of Northern Ireland's population were unionists, willing to remain within the United Kingdom. Most of these were the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain. However, a significant minority, mostly Catholics, were nationalists who wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule. Today, the former generally see themselves as British and the latter generally see themselves as Irish.


The Titanic Museum, Belfast
The Titanic Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Credit: josefko48


The official flag of Northern Ireland is the of the United Kingdom. The Ulster Banner was used by the Northern Ireland government from 1953 until the government and parliament were abolished in 1973. Since then it has had no official status. However, it is still used as the flag of Northern Ireland by loyalists and unionists, and to represent Northern Ireland internationally in some sporting competitions.


Belfast the Botanical Capital
Belfast the Botanical Capital, Northern Ireland. Credit: Lee Osborne


The Saint Patrick's Saltire represents Northern Ireland indirectly as Ireland in the Union Flag. It is sometimes flown during Saint Patrick's Day parades in Northern Ireland and is used to represent Northern Ireland during some royal events. In recent years there have been calls for a new, neutral flag for Northern Ireland.


Glass building on Victoria Square, Belfast
Glass building on Victoria Square, Belfast. Credit: Ben Kerchx


Northern Ireland shares both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the UK. Those of Catholic background tend to identify more with Irish culture, and those of Protestant background more with British culture. Since the end of the Troubles, Northern Ireland has witnessed rising numbers of tourists. Attractions include cultural festivals, musical and artistic traditions, countryside and geographical sites of interest, public houses, welcoming hospitality and sports (especially golf and fishing). Since 1987 pubs have been allowed to open on Sundays, despite some opposition.


Fish monument, Belfast
Fish monument, Belfast. Credit: 304cina62


Northern Ireland uses the same telecommunications and postal services as the rest of the United Kingdom at standard domestic rates and there are no mobile roaming charges between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. People in Northern Ireland who live close to the border with the Republic of Ireland may inadvertently switch over to the Irish mobile networks, causing international roaming fees to be applied. Calls from landlines in Northern Ireland to numbers in the Republic of Ireland are charged at the same rate as those to numbers in Great Britain, while landline numbers in Northern Ireland can similarly be called from the Republic of Ireland at domestic rates, using the 048 as a prefix.


Antrim, Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
Antrim, Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland. Credit: Desi Mxwell


Treble clef heart

In Northern Ireland, 'God Save the Queen' is used as the official anthem.