Facts in brief about Northern Ireland

Capital: Belfast.                            

Official language: English.                              

Area: 5,467 mi2 (14,160 km2).                          

Elevation: Highest—Slieve Donard, 2,796 ft (852 m) above sea level. Lowest—The 
Marsh, near Downpatrick, 1.3 ft (0.4 m) below sea level.

Population: Current estimate—1,735,000; density, 317 per mi2 (123 per km2); distribution, 70 percent urban, 30 percent rural. 2001 census—1,685,267.

Chief products: Agriculture—cattle, chickens, eggs, hogs, sheep, milk, potatoes. Manufacturing—aircraft, automobile parts, chemicals, computer chips, Irish linen and other textiles, machinery, processed food, ships.             

Flag and coat of arms: Northern Ireland's flag and coat of arms have a six-pointed star and the ancient Ulster symbol of a red hand. The star and hand appear over the St. George's cross of the English flag. Northern Ireland's flag and arms ceased to be official symbols after the United Kingdom took direct control of the country's government in 1972. The flag is often flown by private citizens, but the official flag has always been the British Union Flag.

The island of Ireland is known as Eire in Irish Gaelic. The name of the capital city, Belfast, derives from the city's Gaelic name, Beal Feirste, which means "mouth of the sandy ford," referring to a stream that joins the Lagan River.

Northern Ireland is the smallest country in the United Kingdom, situated on the second largest island of the British Isles. It occupies one-sixth of the island it shares with the independent Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland is composed of six of the twenty-nine counties of Ireland, covering about 5,452 square miles (14,120 square kilometers). It is separated from the Republic of Ireland by a three-hundred-mile-long artificial boundary.

It consists of the eastern part of the historic region of Ulster and is often called Ulster. It is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the northeast by the North Channel, on the southeast by the Irish Sea, and on the south and west by the Republic of Ireland. Slightly larger than Connecticut, Northern Ireland has an area of 5,452 square miles (14,120 km2). Its greatest length (east-west) is about 110 miles (180 km); its greatest width (north-south), 80 miles (130 km).

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