The Republic of Ireland is an island state in Western Europe. It constitutes the main portion of the island of Ireland, with Northern Ireland—which is part of the United Kingdom—covering the remainder in the northeast.
Ireland offers a variety of natural and urban attractions for visitors. It is made up of a ring of coastal mountains surrounding low central plains. The island’s lush vegetation, a product of its mild climate and frequent but soft rainfall, earns it the sobriquet “Emerald Isle.”
Ireland’s cities are also major tourist attractions, with the capital Dublin being the most popular. Dublin’s excellent pubs, fine architecture and good shopping (and, of course, the Guinness Brewery, founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness) have made it the fourth most visited European capital. Cork, Galway, Kilkenny and Waterford are also popular Irish cities. Golf is a popular sport in Ireland and golf tourism is a major industry.