8 Reasons Why Ireland Is Important

Ireland has had a somewhat troubled history. From famine in the 19th Century to civil war in the early 20th, through to division and conflict in Northern Ireland from 1970s to 90s, Ireland has not always had it easy. However, in recent years Ireland has risen to be a prominent nation on the world stage. In fact, Ireland is now a major global player. Here we’ll look at some of the main reasons why Ireland is so important.

1. Ireland Is A Rich Country

A first reason why Ireland is important is because it is a rich country.

Ireland has a per capita income of 79,370 USD. This is essentially the amount the average Irish person earns in a year. This is one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Although many would argue that Ireland’s per capita income is skewed upwards due to the country’s tax regime making it attractive to foreign money, still Ireland is for sure a rich country and this makes it important.

The GDP of Ireland is 504 billion USD. This is the total value of the goods and services produced by the country. For a small nation, this is an impressive GDP and further shows how important Ireland is.

Irish people are rich by global standards. Ireland is a developed country where generally people have a good standard of living. The fact that Ireland is a wealthy nation adds to its importance on the world stage.

2. Ireland Has An Amazing Culture

A second reason why Ireland is important is because of its rich culture.

Irish culture is renowned the world over. Irish music and entertainment has a global audience and fans far outside of Ireland. Millions of people enjoy Irish music artists such as the U2, Van Morrison and Sinéad O’Connor, or watch Irish actors such as Cillian Murphy, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson in major international movies. This adds to the importance of Ireland.

Another part of Irish culture that is enjoyed the world over is the country’s beverages. Guinness is one of the most famous beers in the world. Irish whisky is also known to be some of the best.

St Patrick’s – the day celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, is now a worldwide celebration. As far aways as the United States and Australia you will find people celebrating the 17th March. Irish pubs around the world, although not always an accurate reflection of an Irish drinking establishment, show how  much people in other countries enjoy Irish culture. It also shows how important many people see Ireland as being.

3. Irish History Is Fascinating

A third reason why Ireland is important is because of the country’s history.

Ireland has a long and fascinating history. From medieval times through to the conquest by Olivia Cromwell in the 1649, to being incorporated into the United Kingdom and British Empire, then on to partition, civil war and now rejuvenation, Ireland has had a varied past. There are many lessons to be learned from Irish history, and this makes the country important.

There is also a recent history in Ireland of sectarian divide and conflict, especially in Northern Ireland. However, the peace agreements signed in 1990s almost entirely put an end to the violence. These agreements ended decades of conflict and are heralded as some of the most important settlements of any recent conflict. The move from conflict to peace in recent years is a major reason why Ireland is important.

There is so much to learn from Irish history. It is not only fascinating to study, but also links directly to European and American history, as well as the histories of many other countries. This adds to the importance of Irish history.

4. Ireland Is A Neutral Nation

Another reason why Ireland is important is because of its long-standing neutrality.

Since gaining independence in 1922, Ireland has been a neutral nation. It did not partake in World War Two, and was non-aligned during the Cold War. Ireland is not part of NATO, or any other military alliance. The country has long had an anti-imperial stance but has rejected involving itself in most major conflicts throughout its history. There a few truly neutral nations in the world. The fact that Ireland is one makes it important.

Although Ireland has a long tradition of pacifism and neutrality, it has played an active role in United Nations peacekeeping missions for many years. The Irish Defence Force has been involved in peacekeeping missions in Cyprus, Lebanon and the Congo, often with great success. The role Irish forces have played in international peacekeeping further adds to the country’s importance.

5. Ireland Is A Vital Member Of The EU

One reason why Ireland is important is because of its role in the European Union.

Ireland joined the EU in 1973. Since then, it has been an integral member of the organisation. Ireland adopted the Euro as its currency in 2002. Ireland is active and strongly identifies with its position within the European Union. As a key member of the third largest economy in the world, it makes Ireland important.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in 2016, the issue of Northern Ireland came to the forefront. Since the Good Friday Agreement that ended the conflict in Northern Ireland was signed in 1998, there had been no hard border between Northern Ireland, part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland. However, as the UK established a new regulatory regime, this became thrown into question. The issue of the border on the island or Ireland has still not been resolved, but the fact that the European Union stood strongly by the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, throughout the Brexit negotiations, shows how important Ireland is to the EU.

6. There Is Potential For Conflict In Ireland

A big reason why Ireland is important is because of the potential for conflict.

As we’ve said, Ireland has a history of conflict. From the War of Independence and the Civil War in the early 20th Century, through to The Troubles in Northern Ireland between the 1960s and 1990s to the still, albeit smaller, violent activities of dissident Republicans in Northern Ireland today. The history of conflict in Ireland, and what we can learn about this, makes the country important.

Brexit has increased tensions in Northern Ireland and opened many old wounds. With power-sharing between the Republican Shin Fein and Unionist DUP breaking down, there is a potential for a renewed conflict in the North. This is highly sensitive and needs to be dealt with. It is also a another reason why Ireland is so important.

7. Millions Of Irish Have Emigrated

A further reason why Ireland is important is because there are Irish people, and their decedents, all over the world.

Ireland has a long history of emigration. In the mid-19th Century, as the territory was gripped by famine, around a million people departed Ireland, many heading to the United States, Canada and Australia. Emigration continued from Ireland throughout the latter part of the 19th Century and into the 20th. As a result, there are large Irish communities all over the world and millions of people are direct decedents of those who left the country.

Even today, many people leave Ireland to live and work in the UK, US or throughout Europe. The fact that so many people around the world can trace their roots back to Ireland, shows the importance of the country.

8. Ireland Has Immense Natural Beauty

A final reason why Ireland is important is because of the island natural beauty.

Ireland is stunningly beautiful. From the rural landscapes to sweeping coastline, Ireland is home to incredible vistas that have caught the imagination of people for centuries. Ireland is lush and hilly, with many amazing hikes and trails. There are also many small towns and village nestled throughout the island, which are great to explore.

Over ten million people a year visit Ireland, partly drawn by the country’s natural beauty. Artists, song-writers, travelers and tourists have all been inspired by the natural beauty of Ireland. The country works hard to preserve its natural beauty, which is highly commendable.

The fact that Ireland is so beautiful is one reason why so many people think the country is important.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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