Ireland - Holidays, Flights and Hotels
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A ring of coastal mountains surrounds low central plains. The highest peak is Carrauntuohill (Irish: Corrán Tuathail), which is 3,414 feet (1,041 m). The island is bisected by the River Shannon, at 240 miles (386 km) the longest river in Ireland. The island's lush vegetation, a product of its mild climate and frequent but soft rainfall, earns it the sobriquet "Emerald Isle". The island's area is 84,412 km² (32,591 square miles).
Ireland is divided into four provinces: Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. In Irish these are referred to as cúigí (cúige, "fifth"). Previously there were five provinces - Connacht, Munster, Ulster, Leinster and Meath, comprising the counties of Meath, Westmeath and Longford. These were further divided into 32 counties for administrative purposes. Six of the Ulster counties remain under British sovereignty as Northern Ireland following Ireland's partition in 1922 (the remaining 26 forming present-day Republic of Ireland); since the UK's 1974 reshuffle these county boundaries no longer exist in Northern Ireland for administrative purposes, although Fermanagh District Council is almost identical to the county. In the Republic, the county boundaries are still adhered to for local government, albeit with Tipperary and Dublin subdivided (some cities also have their own administrative regions). For election constituencies, some counties are merged or divided, but constitutionally the boundaries have to be observed. Across Ireland, the 32 counties are still used in sports and in some other cultural areas and retain a strong sense of local identity.
Ireland's least arable land lies in the south-western and western counties. These areas are largely spectacularly mountainous and rocky, with beautiful green vistas.
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The police force is known as An Garda Síochána (or just "Garda"), and police officers as Garda (singular) and Gardaí (plural, pronounced Gar-dee), though informally the English term Guard(s) is usual. The term Police is rarely used, but is of course understood. Regardless of what you call them, they are generally unarmed, courteous and approachable.
Crime is relatively low by most European standards but not very different. Late night streets in cities can be dangerous, as anywhere. If you need the Gardaí, an ambulance or the fire brigade, you can use 999 or 112 as the emergency number; both work from landlines and mobile (cell) phones.