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), is a sovereign state in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland.
The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern part of the island, and whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's 4.75 million inhabitants.
It joined the European Economic Community (EEC), the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973.
The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but during the 1980s and 1990s the British and Irish governments worked with the Northern Ireland parties towards a resolution to "the Troubles".
The state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
It had the status of dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and effectively became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state.
It was feared that any tariff barriers would heavily affect that region.
One million Irish died of starvation and/or disease and another 1.5 million emigrated, mostly to the United States.
From 1874, and particularly under Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880, the Irish Parliamentary Party gained prominence.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 19, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period.
This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash.