If you are hoping to move to the UK for work or visit, or even work with people from the UK it is important to understand the countries that make up the United Kingdom. Learning English is very useful but knowing a little about the countries is important too. Here is our very useful guide to Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is one of the 4 countries in the United Kingdom, the others are England, Scotland and Wales. Ireland is important to understand for a few reasons but one is that it is different from the Republic of Ireland even though it is on the same island next to the mainland. Northern Ireland is north of the Republic which is not part of the UK.
There are around 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland which is only around 3% of the population of the UK. The capitol city is call Belfast. It is a country filled with rolling green hills, mountains and beautiful beaches. A number of big movies have been filmed there as well as Game of Thrones. It is also the home of the world famous Giant’s Causeway which is an amazing bit of coastline made up of columns of rocks that look like they have been created by man.
Northern Ireland was once a place of conflict. The disagreement was between people who wanted to be part of the UK and people who wanted to be part of the Republic of Ireland. For many years there were bombings and violence in and outside of the country. But in the 1990s there was a peace agreement which still stands today. It is important to be aware that people from Northern Ireland still have different feelings about the UK and could be offended by discussing these things.
English is the most common language in Northern Ireland and almost everyone will and can speak it. Irish Gaelic is a traditional language that is known by a lot of people but not spoken very widely.
Traditional Irish music is common right across Northern Ireland and it is often very similar to the music from the Republic. This folk style music is still enjoyed by all ages even though modern popular music is available.
Much of the food is similar across both parts of Ireland and a lot of it is very common across the UK. However, Northern Ireland has a special type of breakfast called an Ulster Fry. This is very similar to a traditional English breakfast with sausages, eggs and bacon. However, in Northern Ireland, it is served with soda bread.
Gaelic football is very popular in Northern Ireland. This is very similar to Rugby. Most other sports are common in the country including football, rugby and even pastimes like mountain climbing. For most major events both Northern Ireland and the Republic join together, but they do have separate teams for football.
Northern Ireland is a beautiful country to visit. If you work with or speak to people from this country remember not to assume Ireland is all one country as this could offend someone.
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