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Ireland is a republic with a parliamentary
regime. It is a pluralistic democracy with
a president, the present one is Ms Mary
McAleese, who was elected on 31st October
1997 for a seven year term of office.
The President is assisted by a Prime
Minister, who holds executive power, the
present Prime Minister is Berthie Ahern,
elected on 1st June 1997. The Prime
Minister is responsible towards
Parliament. Parliament is made up of the
Chamber of Representatives, the Dail, with
166 members elected by general election
every five years, and the Senate, the
Seanad, with 60 members, 11 of whom are
nominated by the Prime Minister, 43
designated by socio-professional
organizations and 6 who represent the
Ireland was inhabited by the Celts
from the 4th century BC.
The Gaels, well armed warriors, arrived
later and dominated the country, dividing
it up into small kingdoms which were then
regrouped into bigger territories :
Ulster, South Leinster, North Leinster,
Connacht and Munster.
Ireland's golden age took place in the
period during which it was under church
influence but also under a cultural and
artistic influence. This period came to an
end with the Scandinavian invasions in the
7th and the 9th centuries.
centre of the country is a large plain
edged with mountain chains. This plain in
places is uneven, it is covered in lakes
and drained by the Shannon River which is
the longest river in the country.
To the west of the river is a chalk
desert, the Burren, composed of caves and
The country is going through a period of
enormous economic growth.
Over the last years the economic debt has
been regressing, whereas it was still very
high in 1995. In 2000 the economic growth
rate was 11%, which is the highest rate
recorded among the 19 western European
countries. Ireland has the most dynamic
economy in the zone. A part of the reason
for this is that it is at last catching up
with the rest of Europe, having been for
years one of the poorest countries.
The main agricultural revenue in Ireland
comes from livestock, 80% of the country
is pasture land and 88% of the total
agricultural production is stock breeding.
Ireland produced 7,093,000 head of cattle
5,624,000 sheep in 2000. It is the fifth
biggest cattle producer per inhabitant in
the world. This sector is suffering from
the 'mad cow' crisis which has lowered the
market value and is causing havoc
Industry is concentrated on high tech
sectors and focused on exportation.
Exports of goods and commodities
represented 76% of the GDP in 1996
compared to 53% in 1986.
In March 2000 Ireland became the leading
exporter in the world of computor
software, beating the USA and
910 financial establishments have their
offices in the old Dublin docks which have
been transformed by the government into an
off-shore zone. This financial pole is
specialized in bank refunding. In the
volume of capital invested, Dublin has
already overtaken the Anglo-Norman
islands, and in the sector of inter-bank
loans, Luxemburg is now only in second
place. Dublin has become a banking
paradise for investors all over the
has a temperate climate, the winters are
not very severe and the summers are
February is the coldest month with
temperatures going between 4° and
7°. The hottest months are July and
August where it goes up to 25°. The
most sun is usually in May in the north,
the west and the centre of Ireland, in the
other areas it is in June. There is a lot
of rain during December and January, the
least is in April. The climate changes a
lot and is unpredictable.
you go :
Read as much as you can about the
country (see our list of Guides).
You imperatively have to speak English if
you want to find a job.
The University of Rennes II gives Irish
Gaelic lessons by correspondence :
Université de Rennes
II,département celtique, 6 ave
Gaston Berger, 35043 Rennes cedex.
Sean O'Conaill gives private Gaelic
lessons in Paris, his address is
Finnegan's Wake, 9 rue des Boulangers,
You can stay three months in Ireland
without completing any formalities.
If you stay longer than that or if you
want to enrol on the Irish Labour
Exchange, you have to register with the
Dept of Justice. It is only a simple
formality and you don't need to have a
residence permit to do it.
Department of Justice, 72 St
Stephens Green. Dublin 1.
Once you have done this you will receive a
certificate which will be demanded by the
enter Ireland you need a valid passport or
a National identity card which is less
than 10 years old.
Minors must have parental authority if
they are travelling alone.
If you are taking your car you have to
have your car registration papers with
you, the international green insurance
card and a driving licence. The vehicle
must have number plates on the front and
on the back.
vaccinations are obligatory.
For any health problem, in Ireland as in
any other country of the EEC you have to
have an E111 form with you to get
reimbursed for any medical charges you may
have. You can get this form from your
Social Security centre in France.
If you should have a road accident, dial
999 whatever region of Ireland you are in,
particularly if anyone is injured. All
accidents should be reported to the Irish
Visiting Motorist Bureau, 3/4 South
Frederick Street, Dublin 2, tel 01
6797233, fax 01 6798693.
Pets have to go into quarantine for six
months if you want to bring them into the
country. It is impossible to avoid this
Take sporty comfortable clothes, with a
big sweater (you can buy a beautiful Aran
sweater there),and good walking shoes -
don't forget your raincoat.
For business meetings you will need a suit
Here are some size equivalents if you are
shopping in Ireland :
In Ireland driving is on the left. The
speed limit is 30 mph (50 km/h) in town
and built up areas, and 60mph (100 kms/h)
on main roads, 70 mph (110 km/h) on
It is obligatory to wear a seat belt.
The economy is really booming, but the
infrastructures have not managed to keep
It is a nightmare driving through Dublin
and public transport is not very
efficient, there is no underground and
buses don't keep to their timetables.
The bay in Dublin is one of the most
polluted in Europe.