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On 18 February , 15 months after the founding of the Irish FA, Ireland made their international debut against England , losing 13—0 in a friendly played at Bloomfield in Belfast.
In , Ireland competed in the inaugural British Home Championship and lost all three games. Ireland did not win their first game until 19 February , a 4—1 win over Wales in Belfast.
Between their debut and this game, they had a run of 14 defeats and 1 draw, the longest run without a win in the s.
Despite the end of this run, heavy defeats continued. On 3 March , they lost 11—0 to Wales and three weeks later, on 24 March, lost 10—2 to Scotland.
Further heavy defeats came on 15 March when they lost 9—1 to England, on 18 February when they lost 13—2 to England and on 2 February when they lost 11—0 to Scotland.
In , the Irish FA also changed its rules governing the selection of non-resident players. Before then the Ireland team selected its players exclusively from the Irish League, in particular the three Belfast-based clubs Linfield , Cliftonville and Distillery.
The change in policy produced dividends as Ireland won 1—0. In , Southern Ireland gained independence as the Irish Free State , later to become a republic under the name of Ireland.
Amid these political upheavals, a rival football association, the Football Association of Ireland , emerged in Dublin in and organised a separate league and international team.
The Irish FA continued to organise its national team on an all-Ireland basis. The team had won the competition eight times, taking the title outright on three occasions.
They were the last winners of the now defunct competition held in , and hence still are the British champions, and the trophy remains the property of the Irish FA.
They were knocked out by France , losing 4—0. In the competition, Northern Ireland became the least populous country to have qualified for the World Cup, a record that stood until Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the World Cup.
Northern Ireland remains, however, the least populous country to have qualified for more than one World Cup finals tournament, to win a World Cup finals match, and to have progressed from the first round of the World Cup finals.
Captain of the national side at the World Cup was Danny Blanchflower , who also captained Tottenham Hotspur in the English league and was twice footballer of the year in England.
His younger brother Jackie was also a key member of the national team, and won two league titles in England with Manchester United , until his career was ended by injuries suffered in the Munich air disaster of February Despite the presence of world class forward George Best , another Manchester United player, for the s and s, Northern Ireland failed to qualify for any major tournaments.
Northern Ireland also qualified for the World Cup. Their opening game was against Yugoslavia at La Romareda stadium in Zaragoza.
It was the international debut of year-old Norman Whiteside , who became the youngest player ever in the World Cup finals, a record that still stands.
The game finished goalless. In the World Cup , they reached the first round. Billy Bingham , a member of the squad, was manager for both of these tournaments.
They have not qualified for any other World Cups since. Lawrie Sanchez was appointed in January after a run of ten games without a goal under the previous manager Sammy McIlroy , which was a European record for any international team until San Marino went over 20 games without scoring between October and August That run ended after his first game in charge, a 1—4 loss to Norway in a friendly in February The run of 16 games without a win ended after his second game, a 1—0 victory in a friendly over Estonia , with a largely experimental side, in March David Healy scored the winner in the 73rd minute.
Initially, Worthington took over until the end of the Euro qualifiers, but was later given a contract until the end of the Euro qualifiers. That was enough to qualify for a Round of 16 spot where they lost to Wales due to an unfortunate own goal by Gareth McAuley.
There was a proposal to build a multisports stadium for Northern Ireland at the disused Maze prison outside Lisburn for the use of Rugby , Gaelic games and football.
The issue assumed ever greater urgency by , following a series of inspections which questioned the suitability of Windsor Park to host international football.
Given the time that is needed to build a new stadium, in the absence of significant work improving Windsor Park, Northern Ireland may be forced to play their home games at a venue outside Northern Ireland for a period.
In March , proposals were announced for the construction of a new 25, seat stadium in the Sydenham area of East Belfast as an alternative to the Maze proposal.
This would form part of a major development, with links to both George Best Belfast City Airport and the Bangor railway line. The stadium itself would be used for both football and rugby union , with Glentoran and Ulster Rugby intended as tenants.
Ulster GAA , however, who were a partner in the Maze proposal, stated that in the event of a new stadium being built in East Belfast, which is a major [unionist] area, their preference would then be to remain at Casement Park in [nationalist] [west] Belfast.
The IFA were initially non-committal about any of the proposals for improving their facilities, be it rebuilding Windsor Park, or supporting either the Maze or Sydenham proposals.
In September , however, they issued an announcement in favour of the redevelopment of Windsor Park. The plan was to redevelop Windsor Park into an 18, all-seater stadium with a series of phased works originally intended to begin in the summer of The redevelopment would include the demolition of the existing East and South Stand structures, to be replaced by new purpose built stands that would partially enclose the stadium; complete renovation of the existing North and West Stands; and construction of both new conferencing facilities and a new headquarters facility for the IFA.
In February , planning permission for the redevelopment was granted. It was initially planned for the work to begin in September Crusaders believed this to be against European Union competition law as well as a form of state aid towards Linfield.
It was ruled that it was a possibility for the redevelopment to be classed as state aid towards Linfield. The aspect of the challenge concerning competition law, however, was dismissed.
In July , Crusaders agreed to a possible settlement brought forward by the judicial review. The details of the settlement were not made public, but Crusaders said that it had the "potential to benefit the entirety of the football family".
The redevelopment finally got under way on 6 May after the —14 domestic season had finished, eight months later than originally planned.
The work is due to be completed in Steps taken to eradicate the sectarian element within the support have been successful.
The IFA have made huge strides. At a friendly match in Dublin in against Scotland, the IFA carried out an inquiry following an incident in which Northern Ireland fans sang sectarian songs.
The Green and White Army is the name given to the fans that follow the Northern Ireland national football team. Since the defeat of England in , there has been an increased demand for tickets exceeding supply.
The European Footballer of the Year , Best won 37 caps and scored 9 goals for his country. Results updated as of 12 November after the match against Switzerland.
The following players were selected for the friendly against Republic of Ireland and the Nations League game against Austria in November Caps and goals updated as of 18 November , after the match against Austria.
The following players have been called up to the Northern Ireland squad during the last 12 months. Billy Bingham manager —71, —93 ASS: Pat Jennings —86 RB: Jimmy Nicholl —86 CB: Aaron Hughes — CB: Gareth McAuley — LB: Mal Donaghy —94 RM: Keith Gillespie — CM: Danny Blanchflower —63 CM: Steven Davis — LM: George Best —77 CF: David Healy —13 CF: As a consequence of the worsening security situation, autonomous regional government for Northern Ireland was suspended in Alongside the violence, there was a political deadlock between the major political parties in Northern Ireland, including those who condemned violence, over the future status of Northern Ireland and the form of government there should be within Northern Ireland.
In , Northern Ireland held a referendum to determine if it should remain in the United Kingdom, or be part of a united Ireland.
The vote went heavily in favour The Troubles were brought to an uneasy end by a peace process which included the declaration of ceasefires by most paramilitary organisations and the complete decommissioning of their weapons, the reform of the police, and the corresponding withdrawal of army troops from the streets and from sensitive border areas such as South Armagh and Fermanagh , as agreed by the signatories to the Belfast Agreement commonly known as the " Good Friday Agreement ".
This reiterated the long-held British position, which had never before been fully acknowledged by successive Irish governments, that Northern Ireland will remain within the United Kingdom until a majority of voters in Northern Ireland decides otherwise.
The Constitution of Ireland was amended in to remove a claim of the "Irish nation" to sovereignty over the entire island in Article 2. The new Articles 2 and 3 , added to the Constitution to replace the earlier articles, implicitly acknowledge that the status of Northern Ireland, and its relationships within the rest of the United Kingdom and with the Republic of Ireland, would only be changed with the agreement of a majority of voters in each jurisdiction.
This aspect was also central to the Belfast Agreement which was signed in and ratified by referendums held simultaneously in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
At the same time, the British Government recognised for the first time, as part of the prospective, the so-called "Irish dimension": It established a devolved power-sharing government within Northern Ireland, which must consist of both unionist and nationalist parties.
On 28 July , the Provisional IRA declared an end to its campaign and has since decommissioned what is thought to be all of its arsenal.
This final act of decommissioning was performed in accordance with the Belfast Agreement of and under the watch of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning and two external church witnesses.
Many unionists, however, remain sceptical. The International Commission later confirmed that the main loyalist paramilitary groups, the UDA, UVF and the Red Hand Commando, had decommissioned what is thought to be all of their arsenals, witnessed by a former archbishop and a former top civil servant.
Politicians elected to the Assembly at the Assembly election were called together on 15 May under the Northern Ireland Act  for the purpose of electing a First Minister and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and choosing the members of an Executive before 25 November as a preliminary step to the restoration of devolved government.
The main political divide in Northern Ireland is between unionists, who wish to see Northern Ireland continue as part of the United Kingdom, and nationalists, who wish to see Northern Ireland unified with the Republic of Ireland, independent from the United Kingdom.
These two opposing views are linked to deeper cultural divisions. Unionists are predominantly Ulster Protestant , descendants of mainly Scottish , English, and Huguenot settlers as well as Gaels who converted to one of the Protestant denominations.
Nationalists are overwhelmingly Catholic and descend from the population predating the settlement, with a minority from the Scottish Highlands as well as some converts from Protestantism.
Discrimination against nationalists under the Stormont government — gave rise to the civil rights movement in the s.
While some unionists argue that discrimination was not just due to religious or political bigotry, but also the result of more complex socio-economic, socio-political and geographical factors,  its existence, and the manner in which nationalist anger at it was handled, were a major contributing factor to the Troubles.
The political unrest went through its most violent phase between and Most of the population of Northern Ireland are at least nominally Christian, mostly Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations.
For the most part, Protestants feel a strong connection with Great Britain and wish for Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom.
Many Catholics however, generally aspire to a United Ireland or are less certain about how to solve the constitutional question.
Protestants have a slight majority in Northern Ireland, according to the latest Northern Ireland Census.
The make-up of the Northern Ireland Assembly reflects the appeals of the various parties within the population.
Of the Members of the Legislative Assembly MLAs , 56 are unionists and 40 are nationalists the remaining 12 are classified as "other".
Since , Northern Ireland has had devolved government within the United Kingdom, presided over by the Northern Ireland Assembly and a cross-community government the Northern Ireland Executive.
Reserved matters comprise listed policy areas such as civil aviation , units of measurement , and human genetics that Parliament may devolve to the Assembly some time in the future.
Excepted matters such as international relations , taxation and elections are never expected to be considered for devolution.
On all other governmental matters, the Executive together with the member Assembly may legislate for and govern Northern Ireland.
Elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly are by single transferable vote with five Members of the Legislative Assembly MLAs elected from each of 18 parliamentary constituencies.
In addition, eighteen representatives Members of Parliament, MPs are elected to the lower house of the UK parliament from the same constituencies using the first-past-the-post system.
However, not all of those elected take their seats. In addition, the upper house of the UK parliament, the House of Lords , currently has some 25 appointed members from Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland itself forms a single constituency for elections to the European Parliament. Northern Ireland is a distinct legal jurisdiction , separate from the two other jurisdictions in the United Kingdom England and Wales , and Scotland.
Northern Ireland law developed from Irish law that existed before the partition of Ireland in Northern Ireland is a common law jurisdiction and its common law is similar to that in England and Wales.
However, there are important differences in law and procedure between Northern Ireland and England and Wales. There is no generally accepted term to describe what Northern Ireland is: There is also no uniform or guiding way to refer to Northern Ireland amongst the agencies of the UK government.
Unlike England, Scotland and Wales, Northern Ireland has no history of being an independent country or of being a nation in its own right. Many commentators prefer to use the term "province", although that is also not without problems.
It can arouse irritation, particularly among nationalists, for whom the title province is properly reserved for the traditional province of Ulster, of which Northern Ireland comprises six out of nine counties.
Some authors have described the meaning of this term as being equivocal: Some authors choose this word but note that it is "unsatisfactory".
Many people inside and outside Northern Ireland use other names for Northern Ireland, depending on their point of view.
Disagreement on names, and the reading of political symbolism into the use or non-use of a word, also attaches itself to some urban centres.
Choice of language and nomenclature in Northern Ireland often reveals the cultural, ethnic and religious identity of the speaker.
Those who do not belong to any group but lean towards one side often tend to use the language of that group. Although some news bulletins since the s have opted to avoid all contentious terms and use the official name, Northern Ireland, the term "the North" remains commonly used by broadcast media in the Republic.
Northern Ireland was covered by an ice sheet for most of the last ice age and on numerous previous occasions, the legacy of which can be seen in the extensive coverage of drumlins in Counties Fermanagh, Armagh, Antrim and particularly Down.
The largest island of Northern Ireland is Rathlin , off the north Antrim coast. There are substantial uplands in the Sperrin Mountains an extension of the Caledonian mountain belt with extensive gold deposits, granite Mourne Mountains and basalt Antrim Plateau , as well as smaller ranges in South Armagh and along the Fermanagh—Tyrone border.
The Lower and Upper River Bann , River Foyle and River Blackwater form extensive fertile lowlands, with excellent arable land also found in North and East Down, although much of the hill country is marginal and suitable largely for animal husbandry.
The valley of the River Lagan is dominated by Belfast, whose metropolitan area includes over a third of the population of Northern Ireland, with heavy urbanisation and industrialisation along the Lagan Valley and both shores of Belfast Lough.
The whole of Northern Ireland has a temperate maritime climate , rather wetter in the west than the east, although cloud cover is persistent across the region.
The weather is unpredictable at all times of the year, and although the seasons are distinct, they are considerably less pronounced than in interior Europe or the eastern seaboard of North America.
Average daytime maximums in Belfast are 6. The highest maximum temperature recorded was Northern Ireland is the least forested part of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and one of the least forested parts of Europe.
Northern Ireland consists of six historic counties: These counties are no longer used for local government purposes; instead, there are eleven districts of Northern Ireland which have different geographical extents.
These were created in , replacing the twenty-six districts which previously existed. Although counties are no longer used for local governmental purposes, they remain a popular means of describing where places are.
The Gaelic Athletic Association still uses the counties as its primary means of organisation and fields representative teams of each GAA county.
The original system of car registration numbers largely based on counties still remains in use. In , the telephone numbering system was restructured into an 8 digit scheme with except for Belfast the first digit approximately reflecting the county.
With their decline in official use, there is often confusion surrounding towns and cities which lie near county boundaries, such as Belfast and Lisburn , which are split between counties Down and Antrim the majorities of both cities, however, are in Antrim.
Northern Ireland has traditionally had an industrial economy, most notably in shipbuilding, rope manufacture and textiles, but most heavy industry has since been replaced by services, primarily the public sector.
Tourism has been a major growth area since the end of the Troubles. Key tourism attractions include the historic cities of Derry, Belfast and Armagh and the many castles in Northern Ireland.
More recently, the economy has benefited from major investment by many large multi-national corporations into high tech industry. The local economy has seen contraction during the Great Recession.
In response, the Northern Ireland Assembly has sent trade missions abroad. Northern Ireland has underdeveloped transport infrastructure , with most infrastructure concentrated around Greater Belfast, Greater Derry and Craigavon.
Passenger railways are operated by Northern Ireland Railways. The only preserved line of this gauge is the Downpatrick and County Down Railway.
The cross-border road connecting the ports of Larne in Northern Ireland and Rosslare Harbour in the Republic of Ireland is being upgraded as part of an EU-funded scheme.
The population of Northern Ireland has risen yearly since The population in was 1. The population of Northern Ireland is almost entirely white The largest non-white ethnic groups were Chinese 6, and Indian 6, Black people of various origins made up 0.
At the census, In terms of community background i. In the census in Northern Ireland respondents gave their national identity as follows.
Several studies and surveys carried out between and have indicated that, in general, most Protestants in Northern Ireland see themselves primarily as British, whereas a majority of Roman Catholics regard themselves primarily as Irish.
Overall, the Catholic population is somewhat more ethnically diverse than the more homogeneous Protestant population. Compared to a similar survey carried out in , this shows a fall in the percentage of Protestants identifying as British and Ulster and a rise in those identifying as Northern Irish.
These figures were largely unchanged from the results. They are also, with similar exceptions, entitled to be citizens of Ireland. This entitlement was reaffirmed in the Good Friday Agreement between the British and Irish governments, which provides that:.
As a result of the Agreement, the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland was amended. The current wording provides that people born in Northern Ireland are entitled to be Irish citizens on the same basis as people from any other part of the island.
Neither government, however, extends its citizenship to all persons born in Northern Ireland. Both governments exclude some people born in Northern Ireland, in particular persons born without one parent who is a British or Irish citizen.
The Irish restriction was given effect by the twenty-seventh amendment to the Irish Constitution in The position in UK nationality law is that most of those born in Northern Ireland are UK nationals, whether or not they so choose.
In the census in Northern Ireland respondents stated that they held the following passports. English is spoken as a first language by almost all of the Northern Ireland population.
It is the de facto official language and the Administration of Justice Language Act Ireland prohibits the use of languages other than English in legal proceedings.
Foras na Gaeilge , which promotes the Irish language, and the Ulster Scots Agency , which promotes the Ulster Scots dialect and culture.
Irish in Northern Ireland was specified under Part III of the Charter, with a range of specific undertakings in relation to education, translation of statutes, interaction with public authorities, the use of placenames, media access, support for cultural activities and other matters.
The dialect of English spoken in Northern Ireland shows influence from the lowland Scots language. The Irish language Irish: Today, the language is often associated with Irish nationalism and thus with Catholics.
However, in the 19th century, the language was seen as a common heritage, with Ulster Protestants playing a leading role in the Gaelic revival.
Some words and phrases are shared with Scots Gaelic, and the dialects of east Ulster — those of Rathlin Island and the Glens of Antrim — were very similar to the dialect of Argyll , the part of Scotland nearest to Ireland.
And those dialects of Armagh and Down were also very similar to the dialects of Galloway. Use of the Irish language in Northern Ireland today is politically sensitive.
The erection by some district councils of bilingual street names in both English and Irish,  invariably in predominantly nationalist districts, is resisted by unionists who claim that it creates a "chill factor" and thus harms community relationships.
Efforts by members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to legislate for some official uses of the language have failed to achieve the required cross-community support, and the UK government has declined to legislate.
There has recently been an increase in interest in the language among unionists in East Belfast. Ulster Scots comprises varieties of the Scots language spoken in Northern Ireland.
For a native English speaker, "[Ulster Scots] is comparatively accessible, and even at its most intense can be understood fairly easily with the help of a glossary.
However, because in the past Catholic families tended to send their deaf children to schools in Dublin [ citation needed ] where Irish Sign Language ISL is commonly used, ISL is still common among many older deaf people from Catholic families.
Northern Ireland shares both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the United Kingdom. Those of Catholic background tend to identity more with Irish culture, and those of Protestant background more with British culture.
This has caused the two communities to become pillarised. Parades are a prominent feature of Northern Ireland society,  more so than in the rest of Ireland or in Britain.
Most are held by Protestant fraternities such as the Orange Order , and Ulster loyalist marching bands. Each summer, during the "marching season", these groups have hundreds of parades, deck streets with British flags , bunting and specially-made arches, and light large towering bonfires.
There is often tension when these activities take place near Catholic neighbourhoods, which sometimes leads to violence. Since the end of the Troubles, Northern Ireland has witnessed rising numbers of tourists.
Attractions include cultural festivals, musical and artistic traditions, countryside and geographical sites of interest, public houses , welcoming hospitality and sports especially golf and fishing.
Since public houses have been allowed to open on Sundays, despite some opposition. The Ulster Cycle is a large body of prose and verse centring on the traditional heroes of the Ulaid in what is now eastern Ulster.
This is one of the four major cycles of Irish mythology. The cycle centres on the reign of Conchobar mac Nessa , who is said to have been king of Ulster around the 1st century.
Northern Ireland comprises a patchwork of communities whose national loyalties are represented in some areas by flags flown from flagpoles or lamp posts.
The Union Jack and the former Northern Ireland flag are flown in many loyalist areas, and the Tricolour, adopted by republicans as the flag of Ireland in ,  is flown in some republican areas.
The official flag is that of the state having sovereignty over the territory, i. Since , it has had no official status.
The Union Flag and the Ulster Banner are used exclusively by unionists. This red saltire on a white field was used to represent Ireland in the flag of the United Kingdom.
It is still used by some British army regiments. Foreign flags are also found, such as the Palestinian flags in some nationalist areas and Israeli flags in some unionist areas.
At the Commonwealth Games and some other sporting events, the Northern Ireland team uses the Ulster Banner as its flag—notwithstanding its lack of official status—and the Londonderry Air usually set to lyrics as Danny Boy , which also has no official status, as its national anthem.
The Irish national anthem is also played at Dublin home matches, being the anthem of the host country. Northern Irish murals have become well-known features of Northern Ireland, depicting past and present events and documenting peace and cultural diversity.
Almost 2, murals have been documented in Northern Ireland since the s. In Northern Ireland, sport is popular and important in the lives of many people.
Sports tend to be organised on an all-Ireland basis, with a single team for the whole island. However, many players from Northern Ireland compete with clubs in England and Scotland.
NIFL clubs are semi-professional or Intermediate. No clubs have ever reached the group stage. The six counties of Northern Ireland are among the nine governed by the Ulster branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union , the governing body of rugby union in Ireland.
Ulster is one of the four professional provincial teams in Ireland and competes in the Pro14 and European Cup. It won the European Cup in They are currently able to compete in Test cricket, the highest level of competitive cricket in the international arena and they are one of the twelve full-member countries under the ICC.
Gaelic games include Gaelic football , hurling and camogie , handball and rounders. Of the four, football is the most popular in Northern Ireland.
Players play for local clubs with the best being selected for their county teams. Northern Ireland has contributed more major champions in the modern era than any other European country, with three in the space of just 14 months from the US Open in to The Open Championship in Northern Ireland has produced two world snooker champions; Alex Higgins , who won the title in and , and Dennis Taylor , who won in The highest-ranked Northern Ireland professional on the world circuit presently is Mark Allen from Antrim.
The sport is governed locally by the Northern Ireland Billiards and Snooker Association who run regular ranking tournaments and competitions.
Although Northern Ireland lacks an international automobile racecourse, two Northern Irish drivers have finished inside the top two of Formula One , with John Watson achieving the feat in and Eddie Irvine doing the same in The wrestling promotion features championships, former WWE superstars and local independent wrestlers.
Unlike most areas of the United Kingdom, in the last year of primary school, many children sit entrance examinations for grammar schools.
Integrated schools , which attempt to ensure a balance in enrolment between pupils of Protestant, Roman Catholic and other faiths or none , are becoming increasingly popular, although Northern Ireland still has a primarily de facto religiously segregated education system.
In the primary school sector, forty schools 8. The state-owned Channel 4 and the privately owned Channel 5 also broadcast in Northern Ireland.
Access is available to satellite and cable services. Besides the UK and Irish national newspapers, there are three main regional newspapers published in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland uses the same telecommunications and postal services as the rest of the United Kingdom at standard domestic rates and there are no mobile roaming charges between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Both the national flag and the national anthem of present-day Ireland drive origins directly from the Rising. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Part of the United Kingdom lying in the north-east of the island of Ireland, created For the electoral constituency, see Northern Ireland European Parliament constituency.
Sovereign state Legal jurisdiction. The official flag of Northern Ireland is the Union Jack de jure. However, the Ulster Banner was used by the Parliament of Northern Ireland from to and is still used by some organisations and entities, and is seen as the unofficial flag of the region by unionists but its use is controversial.
See Flag of Northern Ireland for more. English serves as the de facto language of government and diplomacy and has been established through precedent.