The People
The population of Northern Ireland is a blend of peoples. Some two-thirds are the descendants of immigrant English and Scottish farm workers of the 16th and 17th centuries. The rest are of old Irish descent, with ancestry back to the Irish Celts. Both groups share a similar way of life except for religion and politics. Those of old Irish descent are mainly Roman Catholic and want to be united with the Republic of Ireland; those of English and Scottish descent are mainly Protestant and want to retain their union with Britain.
In 2001 Northern Ireland had a population of 1,685,267. The largest city is Belfast, the capital.

English is the official and common language. Only a few persons can still speak the Irish form of Gaelic. About a third of the people are Roman Catholics; the rest are mainly Protestants—Presbyterians, members of the Church of Ireland (Anglican), and Methodists.
Education is free and compulsory from the age of 5 to the age of 16. The publicly supported school system is similar to that in England and Wales. Most primary and secondary schools are segregated along religious lines between Catholics and Protestants. Nearly all the people are literate. Queen's University of Belfast and the University of Ulster, in County Londonderry, are the leading institutions of higher learning.

Irish culture is known for its lively pub scene, traditional music and colorful folklore, with these 3 aspects of life often joining together.
Irish pubs are about much more than drink. It is a place you can find people of all demographics coming together to share their tales and bond over life's little worries. You may enter a pub alone and come out with great new friends from backgrounds totally unlike your own.

Traditional Irish music, while historically played in the home and private music venues, can now be found anywhere and everywhere. It is not uncommon to find music being played in the streets, pubs or pretty much anywhere else you can find a place to sit and strum a fiddle or bang some drums.
The local culture is filed with a folklore that is both abundant and eclectic.

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