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A Comprehensive Comparison of India and Ireland Historically

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National name: Ireland, or Eire in the Irish language

President: Mary McAleese (1997)

Taoiseach (Prime Minister): Bertie Ahern (1997)

Area: 27,135 sq mi (70,280 sq km)

Population (2004 est.): 3,969,558 (growth rate: 1.2%); birth rate: 14.5/1000; infant mortality rate: 5.5/1000; life expectancy: 77.4; density per sq mi: 146

Capital (2003 est.): Dublin, 1,018,500

Other large cities: Cork, 193,400; Limerick, 84,900; Galway, 67,200

Monetary units: Euro (formerly Irish pound [punt])

Languages: English, Irish (Gaelic)

Ethnicity/race: Celtic, English

Religions: Roman Catholic 91.6%, Anglican 2.5%, other 5.9%

Literacy rate: 98% (1981 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2003 est.): $117 billion; per capita $29,800. Real growth rate: 2.1%. Inflation: 3.7%. Unemployment: 5%. Arable land: 19%. Agriculture: turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; beef, dairy products. Labor force: 1.8 million (2001); agriculture 8%, industry 29%, services 64% (2002 est.). Industries: food products, brewing, textiles, clothing; chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, transportation equipment, glass and crystal; software. Natural resources: zinc, lead, natural gas, barite, copper, gypsum, limestone, dolomite, peat, silver. Exports: $98.31 billion (f.o.b., 2003 est.): machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products (1999). Imports: $57.54 billion (f.o.b., 2003 est.): data processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals; petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing. Major trading partners: UK, U.S., Belgium, Germany, France.

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 1.6 million (2002); mobile cellular: 3 million (2002). Radio broadcast stations: AM 9, FM 106, shortwave 0 (1998). Radios: 2.55 million (1997). Television broadcast stations: 4 (many low-power repeaters) (2001). Televisions: 1.82 million (2001). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 22 (2000). Internet users: 1.31 million (2002).

Transportation: Railways: total: 3,312 km (2002). Highways: total: 92,500 km; paved: 87,043 km (including 115 km of expressways); unpaved: 5,457 km (2000 est.). Waterways: 700 km (limited for commercial traffic) (1998). Ports and harbors: Arklow, Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Foynes, Galway, Limerick, New Ross, Waterford. Airports: 36 (2002).

International disputes: disputes with Iceland, Denmark, and the UK over the Faroe Islands continental shelf boundary outside 200 NM.

In the 970s the UÐ"­ NÐ"©ill of north Ireland were dominant. However, in 980, Brian Boru came to the throne in Munster. He was a skilled warrior and first defeated the Vikings of Limerick before attacking Connacht and Leinster. So effective was his campaign that, in 997, the King of the UÐ"­ NÐ"©ill met Brian Boru and agreed to divide Ireland between them, with Boru getting Munster, Dubhlinn and Leinster and the UÐ"­ NÐ"©ill getting Connacht and their own territory. However, Brian Boru was not satisfied. When Dubhlinn and Leinster revolted in 999, Brian Boru viciously put them down and, such was his demonstration of power, that the King of the UÐ"­ NÐ"©ill himself submitted to Brian Boru in 1002. Over the next 4 years he undertook two circuits of Ireland to assert himself as High King of the whole island.

However, his power was only skin-deep. Leinster and Dubhlinn held a second revolt in 1013, the result of which was that Brian Boru's armies despoiled most of Leinster and sieged Dubhlinn itself for 4 months. Giving up as Christmas set in, he returned with a vengeance in 1014. Meanwhile, the Vikings of Dubhlinn had rallied extra troops from western Scotland and the Isle of Man. In the ensuing battle, called the Battle of Clontarf, many thousands of people died. While Brian Boru's army won, he himself was killed. The next leader of Munster was not the skilled warrior that Boru had been and the UÐ"­ NÐ"©ill reasserted their supremacy. Although Dubhlinn had been defeated, the Vikings were allowed to rule it for a further 70 years, albeit on Irish terms. Its significance grew and it eventually became the symbolic capital of the island.

The period 1014 to 1150 is complex. Suffice to say that there was a period of prolonged dynastic warfare between the kingdoms. The armies were modernised, with cavalry and navies being introduced. The Kings themselves spent so long at war that they employed governors to look after their kingdoms. The last High King in this period was Rory O'Connor of Connacht who first subdued Munster before setting his sights on Dubhlinn. He was opposed by an alliance of the UÐ"­ NÐ"©ill and Leinster but with the assassination of the UÐ"­ NÐ"©ill king in 1166, O'Connor routed the Leinstermen and drove their king, Dairmait Mac Murchada, out of Ireland. His subsequent appeal for help to England changed history.

During this same period, the Christian church in Ireland had become corrupt and power was too distributed. Between 1100 and 1150, reformers from both Ireland and Europe reformed the church, made it more centralised and got rid of much of the corruption. Ireland was divided into dioceses and was placed under the supremacy of the monastery Armagh. Other, more modern, monastic orders started to arrive in Ireland at this time too.

Events in Britain are also vital to understand. In the 800s, the Vikings had conquered much of central Britain and it was only when the various English kingdoms united under Alfred the Great that they were stopped. The Vikings never left England: rather, the two regions slowly fused together to form a united kingdom of England that was ruled by Danes. Not sooner was it up and running, however, when in 1066 England was invaded by the Normans - descendants of Vikings living in northern France. Under William the Conqueror, the throne of England passed to Norman hands. Like their European rivals, the Kings of England sought influence and England expanded in Wales and western France. It is little wonder, then, that they took the opportunity provided by Dairmait Mac Murchada to expand control in Ireland too.

In the 970s the UÐ"­ NÐ"©ill of north Ireland were dominant. However, in 980, Brian Boru came to the throne in Munster. He was a skilled warrior and first defeated the Vikings of Limerick before attacking Connacht and Leinster. So effective was his campaign that, in 997, the King of the



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