Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland (Irish: Tuaisceart Éireann, Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlann) is a constituent country of the United Kingdom, which is on the island of Ireland.

Northern Ireland
In orange is Northern Ireland And a lighter peach orange colour is the United Kingdom and the white is the rest of the European continent.
In orange is Northern Ireland And a lighter peach orange colour is the United Kingdom and the white is the rest of the European continent.
StatusCountry (constituent unit)
and largest city
54°36′N 5°55′W / 54.600°N 5.917°W / 54.600; -5.917
Ethnic groups
GovernmentConsociational devolved legislature within unitary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Charles III
Parliament of the United Kingdom
• Secretary of StateChris Heaton-Harris
• House of Commons18 MPs (of 650)
LegislatureNorthern Ireland Assembly
3 May 1921
18 July 1973
17 July 1974
19 November 1998
• Total
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• 2019 estimate
Increase 1,893,700[3]
• 2011 census
• Density
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GVA2018 estimate
 • Total£49 billion[5]
 • Per capita£26,000
HDI (2018)0.887[6]
very high
CurrencyPound sterling (GBP£)
Time zoneUTC (Greenwich Mean Time)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+44[c]
ISO 3166 codeGB-NIR
  1. The official flag of Northern Ireland is the Union Jack de jure.[7] The Ulster Banner was used by the Parliament of Northern Ireland from 1953 until the latter was abolished in 1973. The Ulster Banner is still used by some organisations and entities and has been adopted as an unofficial flag of the region by unionists but its use is controversial. See Northern Ireland flags issue for more.
  2. ^  Northern Ireland has no official language. English serves as the de facto language of government and diplomacy and is the de jure language of legal proceedings. Irish and Ulster Scots are officially recognised by Her Majesty's Government as minority languages.
  3. ^  +44 is always followed by 28 when calling landlines. The code is 028 within the UK and 048 from the Republic of Ireland where it is treated as a domestic call.

The whole island of Ireland used to be a kingdom, called the Kingdom of Ireland but after the Act of Union in the year 1800, it became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This stayed until 1922, after a War Of Independence, when Ireland was divided into the Republic of Ireland, the sovereign state that takes up the southern part of the island, and Northern Ireland, which stayed as part of the UK.

About 1.8 million people live in Northern Ireland, which has the capital and largest city is Belfast. The historic administrative roles of its 6 counties have since 1972 been replaced by 26 unitary authorities Counties of Northern Ireland.

Sometimes people use other names for Northern Ireland. Some call it Ulster, a completely politically incorrect name as some parts of Ulster are actually in the Republic of Ireland. Others call it "the North" or "the Six Counties", because they do not want to recognize that a part of Ireland is not fully independent. Northern Ireland is the smallest part of the United Kingdom at 5,345 sq mi.

The only official flag in Northern Ireland is the Union Flag of the United Kingdom. The Ulster Banner, however, is still used as the flag of Northern Ireland by loyalists and unionists, and to represent Northern Ireland internationally in some sporting competitions.


English is spoken by almost everyone in Northern Ireland. Another important language is Irish (sometimes called "Irish Gaelic") and a language known as Ulster Scots, which comes from Eastern Ulster and Lowland Scotland. The Irish language became less widely spoken in the 20th century, but a revival has led to increased usage, especially in Belfast, the Glens of Antrim and counties Tyrone and Fermanagh. This revival has been driven largely through the creation of Irish-language schools. The Irish language is spoken by some nationalists (whether Catholic or Protestant) people. Ulster Scots is almost exclusive to areas of North Antrim and the Ards Peninsula.

Some languages like Chinese, Urdu or Polish are becoming more common in Northern Ireland as people from other countries move to Northern Ireland.


Christianity is the largest religion in Northern Ireland, with over 80% of the population identifying themselves with a Christian denomination at the 2011 census. Almost 42% of these people identify as Protestant, 41% as Roman Catholic, and just over 17% as nothing or another religion. The largest Protestant churches are the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland.

Belfast Agreement

Since the Belfast Agreement (sometimes called the Good Friday Agreement) of Friday, 10 April 1998, there has been mainly peace between the two communities in Northern Ireland, the Protestants and Catholics. This agreement was agreed by most of the people in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as the Irish and British governments. It allows for the self-government of Northern Ireland and greater north–south co-operation and co-operation between Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Additionally, it makes clear the right of the people of Northern Ireland to decide their constitutional future.

The Belfast Agreement confirmed that while being British citizens, the people of Northern Ireland can also apply for to Irish nationality.


The most popular sports in Northern Ireland are association football, gaelic football and rugby union. Athletics, boxing, cricket, golf, hockey, hurling, snooker and motor sports are also common. Most sports are organised on an all-Ireland basis, and in international competitions, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland compete together as Ireland (e.g. Ireland national rugby union team, Ireland national cricket team). The main exception is football.

Football in Northern Ireland is governed by the Irish Football Association (IFA). In international competitions Northern Ireland has its own team - the Northern Ireland national football team. The Northern Ireland team has qualified for three FIFA World Cups (in 1958, 1982 and 1986). Perhaps the most famous player from Northern Ireland was George Best.

Track and field athletes from Northern Ireland can choose to compete either with athletes from Great Britain (as the team "Great Britain & Northern Ireland"), or with athletes from the rest of Ireland (as "Ireland").

Belfast is home to the Ulster Rugby team (which competes in the Pro 12 league and Heineken Cup), and the Belfast Giants ice-hockey team.


Trains are run by NI Railways which run from Belfast to Portrush, Londonderry, Bangor, Larne, Portadown and Newry. The Enterprise is run by both NI Railways and Irish Rail and links Belfast to Dublin.

Northern Ireland Media


  1. "Northern Ireland Census 2011 Output" (PDF). Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. 11 December 2012. p. 15. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  2. "The Countries of the UK". Office for National Statistics. Office for National Statistics (United Kingdom). Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  3. "Population estimates – Office for National Statistics". Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  4. Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (December 2012). "Census 2011 Key Statistics for Northern Ireland" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  6. "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  7. "The Flags Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000". Government of the United Kingdom. 8 November 2000. Retrieved 26 October 2019.