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Toward the end of the eighth century Vikings invaded Ireland and for over two centuries battled with the Irish.Finally in 1014 the Irish under King Brian Boru soundly defeated the Viking forces at the Battle of Clontarf.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.An important legacy of the Viking invasion was the establishment of such cities as Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Wexford.The entire island, with a total area of 32,595 square miles, is a little larger than the state of Maine.
About 95 percent of the Republic's population is Roman Catholic; most of the rest are Protestant.Over 25 percent of Northern Ireland's population is Roman Catholic; about 23 percent is Presbyterian; about 18 percent belong to the Church of Ireland; the rest are members of other churches or of no stated denomination. Patrick came to Ireland and introduced the Gaels to Christianity.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.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.