Ireland is located on an island, at the western edge of Europe. The northeastern corner of the island is occupied by Northern Ireland, which belongs to Britain and is separated from the independent republic to its south. Ireland's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes its climate mild and its weather humid and often rainy.
Population: 4.9 million
Ethnic Groups: Irish (84.5%), other White (9.8%), Asian (1.9%), Black (1.4%), Mixed and Other (0.9%), Unspecified (1.6%)
Languages: English (Official), Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (Official, spoken mainly in areas along the western coast)
Religions: Roman Catholic (84.7%), Church of Ireland (2.7%), other Christian (2.7%), Muslim (1.1%), Other (1.7%), Unspecified (1.5%), None (5.7%)
CIA: The World Factbook - Last Updated July 17, 2017
In Canada: 4,627,000
In the GTA: 544,380
In Toronto: 262,965
Primary Areas of Settlement in the GTA (Social Atlas):
King, Halton Hills, New Market, Aurora, Milton, Oakville, East Gwillimbury, Uxbridge, Caledon, and the City of Toronto.
The south became independent in 1922 (Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom). Ireland has made great progress in the last generation, but was hit hard by the recent global financial crisis. Much of Ireland's Christian history is due to the missionary work of St. Patrick during the fifth century. The Catholic Church was once very influential in Ireland. For example, divorce was illegal in Ireland until 1997, and Catholic holidays (Good Friday, Easter, and Christmas) are widely celebrated. Marriages usually take place in a church. Although Ireland is still considered very Catholic, the influence of the Catholic Church is declining rapidly.