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Ireland

Ireland

Ireland is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island in the world. It lies to the northwest of continental Europe and is surrounded by hundreds of islands and islets. To the east of Ireland is Great Britain, separated from it by the Irish Sea. The island is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers just under five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, which covers the remainder and is located in the northeast of the island.  Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures, particularly in the fields of literature and, to a lesser degree, science and education. A strong Irish culture exists, as expressed for example through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language, alongside a common Western culture, such as contemporary music and drama, and sports such as soccer, rugby and golf, and the English language.

Dublin
Dublin is the largest city in Ireland and the capital city of the Republic of Ireland. The English name is derived from the Irish name Dubh Linn, meaning "black pool". Dublin is situated near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, and at the centre of the Dublin Region.  Originally founded as a Viking settlement, it evolved into the Kingdom of Dublin and became the island's primary city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century, and for a brief period was the second largest city within the British Empire and the fifth largest in Europe. After the Act of Union in 1801, Dublin entered a period of stagnation, but remained the economic centre for most of the island. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, the new parliament, the Oireachtas, was located in Leinster House. Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State and later of the Republic of Ireland.

Galway
It is the fifth largest and the fastest-growing city in Ireland. It is also the third largest city in the Republic and the only city in the Province of Connacht. Located on the west coast of Ireland, it sits on the River Corrib between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay.

Kilkenny
Kilkenny is regarded for its culture with craft and design workshops, the Watergate Theatre, public gardens and museums. Annual events include Kilkenny Arts Week, the Cat Laughs comedy festival and music at the Rhythm and Roots festival and the Source concert. It is a popular base to explore the surrounding towns, villages and countryside.

Westport (Mayo)
Westport, on the shores of Clew Bay in County Mayo, is designated as one of Ireland's "heritage towns". It is one of the few planned towns in the country and was designed in the 18th century by James Wyatt. It is located in one of Ireland's most scenic areas, and is an attractive and lively town. The Mall is one of Westport's most interesting present-day features. It consists of a row of lime trees overhanging the Carrowbeg River.

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