Toward the end of the eighth century Vikings invaded Ireland and for over two centuries battled with the Irish.
Thus began a great religious and cultural period for the country.
While the rest of Europe was swiftly declining into the Dark Ages, Irish monasteries—preserving the Greek and Latin of the ancient world—not only became great centers of learning, but also sent many famous missionaries to the Continent.
Ulster is made up of nine counties; the northeastern six constitute Northern Ireland.
The area of the Republic of Ireland is 27,137 square miles, that of Northern Ireland is 5,458 square miles.
The entire island, with a total area of 32,595 square miles, is a little larger than the state of Maine.
The population of the Republic of Ireland in 1991 was approximately 3,523,401, that of Northern Ireland 1,569,971.The country is divided into four provinces: Leinster, Munster, Connaught, and Ulster.All of the first three and part of the fourth are situated within the Republic of Ireland.The island of Ireland lies west of Great Britain across the Irish Sea and St. It is divided into two separate political entities: the independent Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, a constituent of the United Kingdom.Dublin is the capital of the former, Belfast of the latter.An important legacy of the Viking invasion was the establishment of such cities as Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Wexford.