Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Bit About Ireland

One of the things I always like to do before traveling is to find out a bit about the place I'm going!  It puts my travels in context.  The C.I.A. Factbook provides great, basic information about the world, so that's where I checked first!

A little geography:  The island of Ireland is about the size of the U.S. state of West Virginia, although Ireland's population is much larger at 4,722,028. The Republic of Ireland makes up about 5/6 of the country, with Northern Ireland making up the remaining 1/6.  When one thinks of Ireland, green is the color that comes to mind and with good reason. This satellite photo from Wikipedia shows why!

Ireland became independent from the U.K. in 1921 by treaty.

The chief of state of the Republic is President Michael D. Higgins and the head of government is Enda Kenny.  I knew that Ireland was a republic or parliamentary democracy with a bicameral Parliament(Oireachtas), but I didn't realize how the Senate(Senad Erieann) was chosen and I found it very interesting. Ther are 60 seats in the Senate with graduates of the University of Dublin and the National University of Ireland having 3 seats each.  Eleven members are nominated by the prime minister and the remainder of the candidates are from five vocational panels.  The lower house (Dail Eireann) is elected by popular vote and there are 166 seats. I want to find out a bit more about how the compilation of the Senate came about. I am also interested to see how the U.S. presidential election will be covered in the Irish newspapers, since the election will be held soon after our visit!

In terms of religion, over 90% of the population of the Republic is Catholic. Of course, religion has played a huge role in the history of this country and island and we'll be blogging more about that.

Ireland also has two languages:  Irish or Irish Gaelic and English.  Most of the speakers of Irish are located along the west coast, although Irish is taught in school.

One of the statistics, which I found most interesting, is that obesity rate in Ireland is 13% compared to 35.7% in the U.S.!

The capital of Ireland is Dublin and we will be spending most of our time in this beautiful city. I have been to Dublin before for a short visit and look forward to getting to explore it more fully.   Some concise histories of Dublin can be found at: and


Ashley Snow said...

Hi Dr. Vitulli and Dr. Santolli,

My name is Ashley and I am in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. This post was very informative. I also like to do some research on a place before I visit. You definitely did your research. This post gave me some new knowledge about Ireland. I did not know it was about the size of West Virginia. I am glad you included the common religion, the common languages, and their type of government. It is interesting that there obesity rate is 13%.

Lauren Cunningham said...

Hello! My name is Lauren and I am a student in Dr. Strange's course
EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I hope you are enjoying your trip to Ireland! I am very envious of you! Your post was very informative and I feel like I, now, have a better understanding of many characteristics of Ireland. I didn't realize that over 90% of the people who live there, are Catholic. That is very interesting. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your stay!


Samuel Anderson said...

Hi, Dr. Vitulli and Dr. Santolli,

My name is Samuel Anderson. I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed reading your blog. It was very informative. The detail about Ireland that caught my attention the most was the obesity rate. I am a Health Education major and I find information like that very interesting! Thanks for sharing and enjoy the rest of your trip.

Myles said...

Hi, Dr. Vitulli and Dr. Santolli,
I know you are enjoying your trip and I hope i get the opportunity to visit Ireland as well. Thanks for the blogs.

Windy Powell said...

What an amazing opportunity you guys have gotten to take part in. I have never thought of researching the places I’m going to visit until now and I love the back ground info, it seems to give a little more meaning to things. I will be trying that out on my next trip. I also think it’s very interesting to that Ireland has such a small percentage of obesity compared to the U.S.