11 Northern Ireland Facts For Kids That Will Absolutely Astonish Them

Ayan Banerjee
Mar 05, 2023 By Ayan Banerjee
Originally Published on Jan 27, 2022
Edited by Jade Scott
Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag
Northern Ireland facts for kids include that the Belfast Agreement, commonly known as the 'Good Friday Agreement' since it was signed on Good Friday, was a watershed moment in the Irish war.

Northern Ireland is the United Kingdom's smallest nation.

It is a part of the United Kingdom, along with England, Scotland, and Wales, and shares space on the island of Ireland in western Europe. Northern Ireland accounts for 16.75% of Ireland, while the remainder of the country is an autonomous republic known as the Republic of Ireland or the Irish Free State.

Northern Ireland, which is governed by British rule, has a border with the Republic of Ireland. Ireland has a total land area of 32,595.13 sq mi (84,421 sq km).

Ireland is Europe's third-biggest island and the British Isles' second-largest island; Great Britain is the largest. Due to the lush foliage, verdant meadows, and gently rolling hills, Ireland is known as the 'Emerald Isle' or Irish Isles.

The island is home to 26 different mammalian species. Red foxes, hedgehogs, badgers, and otters are commonly seen, while the Irish hare and red deer are more elusive and only seen in nature reserves. Despite its limited geographical size, Northern Ireland is a culturally rich region that has produced notable writers and performers.

A traditional symbol, the Irish shamrock, is believed to give you good health, luck, and happiness for the upcoming days for each petal on the shamrock. Northern Ireland was established in 1921, after the partitioning of Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which established a devolved government for the six northeastern counties.

The majority of Northern Irelands' people were unionists who wanted to stay in the United Kingdom.

Hence, Northern Ireland is a separate country. Northern Ireland's population in 2021 was expected to be 1.9 million, with a land area of 5,455.62 sq mi (14,130 sq km). The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are two distinct countries.

The Republic of Ireland, also known as Ireland, is an independent sovereign state, whereas Northern Ireland is a member of the United Kingdom. Ireland is a member of the European Union (EU), although Northern Ireland is not as a result of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU (called Brexit).

Ireland and Northern Ireland have no physical border, as it was removed as part of the Good Friday Agreement. Also, goods and residents of both countries can travel freely between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also know about the national animal of Ireland and are there snakes in Ireland here on Kidadl!

Symbolism And Traditions

Unionists often use the union flag, whilst nationalists typically use the flag of the Republic of Ireland. Both sides also use the flags of secular and religious organizations to which they belong on occasions.

Some organizations, such as the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Church of Ireland, utilize the St. Patrick's Saltire Flag as a symbol of Ireland as it does not have any nationalist or unionist implications.

The flax blossom, which represents the linen industry, has been adopted as a neutral emblem, for example, by the Northern Ireland Assembly. Both nationalists and unionists celebrate St. Patrick's Day, although unionists exclusively commemorate 'The Twelfth'. Ireland's emblems include the shamrock, the red hand, the harp, and the white ribbon.

The O'Neill family's official seal is the 'Red Hand of Ulster'. King Charles' actions prompted revolutions in Ulster and civil war in England when he ascended to the throne.

Oliver Cromwell, England's military leader, then attacked Ireland. During this time, England had been a Protestant country while Ireland had been Catholic. The 'Red Hand' is one of Northern Ireland's only emblems, used by both groups.

Catholics consider it as representing Ulster's nine counties, while Protestants see it as representing Northern Ireland's six counties. Many paintings and banners feature the Red Hand of Ulster.

The antique instrument, the harp, has long been associated with the island of Ireland. Playing the harp was forbidden and seen as a danger to the English invaders, but staying on the royal emblem symbolized Ireland in the rising British Empire.

When the harp is surmounted by a crown, it signifies loyalist Irishmen, and it is used in this form. According to a legend, St. Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, used the shamrock to depict the Holy Trinity, thus, its popular use on Saint Patrick's Day, held annually on 17 March.

It is one of Ireland's national symbols and is mostly associated with the nationalist culture, however, it may also be seen in the unionist tradition, with organizations such as the Royal Irish Rangers donning the Shamrock on that day.

Various groups have employed a variety of peace emblems during the last 30 years. Those fighting for peace have recently worn a white ribbon on their lapels. A traditional Irish shamrock benediction is, for each petal on the shamrock, it gives good health, luck, and happiness today and every day.

Food And Drinks

Ireland's cuisine is recognized for substantial recipes that frequently include root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, as well as grains such as barley and wheat. Salmon and oysters are two common seafood types consumed by Irish people.

Salmon may be fished in Ireland's longest river, Shannon, while oysters can be found throughout the country's west coast, particularly around Galway. Pork, beef, and lamb are the most widely consumed meats. Boxty, bacon and cabbage, colcannon, and Irish stew are some of the most popular foods in Ireland.

Boxty is a type of potato fritter that is typically eaten for breakfast. Sour cream and onion pickle are served alongside the fried raw potato cakes. Bacon and cabbage is a dish that consists of pieces of boiling bacon served with cabbage and potatoes.

Soda bread is a traditional Irish bread made using baking soda rather than yeast. The top of the soda bread has a cross-cut through it which aids in the rising of the dough during the baking process.

Barmbrack is a traditional Irish yeast bread or cake loaded with raisins and sultanas. Barmbrack is typically served on Halloween. The bread or cake will then include a ring, a coin, and a piece of fabric, all of which represent love, money, and bad luck.

Paul Rankin and Michael Deane are two of Northern Ireland's most well-known chefs. The Ulster fry is Northern Ireland's most well-known traditional dish.

Fish and chips and 'bangers and mash' are two additional popular dishes. Yellowman is a Northern Ireland specialty. Yellowman is a chewy toffee-textured honeycomb that is offered in non-standard blocks and chips during the Auld Lammas Fair, where it is served with other confectionaries and frequently, dulse.

A dark and heavy drink, Guinness is one of the popular drinks in Northern Ireland. Others include Bushmills and White Bush.

Island of ireland in western Europe

Culture Of Northern Ireland

The Irish people are quite friendly. They are fond of folklore, and Irish music is popular. The Irish have various unique instruments that they use. Their musical tradition includes the bouzoukis, the violin, and the uilleann pipes.

The Irish harp is an essential instrument since it is an Irish national emblem and may be found on historic Irish coinage (Ireland now uses the euro currency). The Irish have a unique kind of country dancing and wear shoes with wooden taps that generate noise while they dance.

Riverdance, a musical production, popularized Irish dancing. The Irish like myths and folk stories, and the leprechaun is believed to grant wishes.

Sport is very significant in Ireland, particularly Gaelic athletics. The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) guarantees that games such as hurling and Gaelic football remain a part of Irish culture. Northern Ireland's cultural life tends to follow the contours of political and sectarian conflicts and is defined by a plethora of shibboleths.

For example, Roman Catholics from the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants may listen to the same song but refer to it differently. Irrespective of age, gender, and class, religion is at least as important in explaining many variances in culture.

Although the nationalist and unionist groups share an interest in global culture, such as Hollywood movies, football (soccer), and popular music, both communities preserve their own cultural customs.

The Orange Order and the tradition of marching bands have been focal points of cultural engagement in Protestant working-class communities. The government, through its different institutions, is very interested in fostering cultural traditions that cross sectarian lines.

Northern Ireland's cultural life is mostly public and oral. Outsiders are astonished by the vibrant social life, the value placed on discussion and the clever comment, and the enduring interest in music.

Geography And Climate

Ireland is not a landlocked country. It is located to the west of the United Kingdom, which is the closest nation to Ireland. It has an approximate size of 32595.13 sq mi (84421 sq km).

The lowest point of Northern Ireland is the North Slob which is 0in (0 m) above sea level whereas the highest point is Carrauntoohil which is 3408.79 ft (1039 m) above sea level. Ireland is comprised of low-lying mountains that surround a central plain.

The river Shannon, which begins in the plateau region near Sligo and runs slowly south-southeast for 161 mi (260 kilometers) to the sea at Limerick, is one of Ireland's numerous slow-flowing rivers. Ireland is made up of counties as well as physical areas. The Republic of Ireland is the largest part of Ireland, and it consists of 26 counties.

Northern Ireland is divided into six counties, and Ulster, which is part of the United Kingdom, is divided into nine counties. The Irish Sea, the North Channel, and the St George's Channel divide Ireland from the UK. Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland.

Ireland is an island country on Europe's westernmost tip. It is the second biggest island on the continent. The Republic of Ireland occupies the majority of this continent, while Northern Ireland is a huge chunk of territory in the north. Ireland is famous for its vast areas of lush, green meadows, earning it the moniker 'Emerald Isle'.

There are also significant expanses of difficult, rocky terrain. Ireland was entirely buried by massive glaciers some 15,000 years ago.

The passage of these massive ice sheets removed the soil, leaving vast swaths of flat, limestone terrain. The moist peat bogs of Ireland's midlands and west coast are the soggy leftovers of dried-up ancient lakes left by glaciers.

The highlands of Ireland rise mostly towards the southwest, frequently ending in precipitous cliffs that drop hundreds of feet into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Irish People

Many years ago, several ethnic groups lived in Dublin. Later, the territory was colonized by Vikings, the Normans, the Welsh, and the Flemish. They ultimately founded colonies that grew into some of the country's major cities, including the Dublin population.

Today, Ireland is a cosmopolitan country, yet the great majority of its citizens are Irish. Around 40% of Irish people speak Irish Gaelic but the de facto official language of the country is English. Ireland is well-known for its Celtic music and dancing.

Famous dance organizations such as 'Riverdance' and 'Lord of the Dance' tour the world, enthralling audiences with their Irish dance performances. The majority of the population lives in the country's east, mostly in and around Dublin, the capital city.

Dublin is home to around 40% of the Republic of Ireland's population. Ireland's largest cities are Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Galway. Dublin is the only city in the world with a population of over one million people.

Northern Ireland is home to many famous writers and actors. Seamus Heaney and C.S Lewis hailed from this part of Ireland.

Actors like Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt also live in Northern Ireland. The Titanic, the ship, was built here and there is a Titanic museum located in Belfast. George Best is one of the popular players of soccer from this part of the island.

In this part of the island, almost 46% of the population is young, and Chinese is a minority language that is widely spoken.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for northern Ireland facts for kids then why not take a look at Ireland culture facts, or Ireland geography facts.

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Written by Ayan Banerjee

Bachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Ayan Banerjee picture

Ayan BanerjeeBachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.

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Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag

Master of Arts specializing in History

Sudeshna Nag picture

Sudeshna NagMaster of Arts specializing in History

Having earned a Master's degree in History from the Presidency University in Kolkata, Sudeshna was able to refine these skills and broaden her knowledge base. Not only is she an accomplished fact-checker, but she is also deeply invested in gender research, societal interactions, and mental health. Her professional repertoire also includes experience in translation between Bengali and English content

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