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Territory in the island of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean, ruled since 1937 by the Poblacht na hÉireann

Ireland (Irish: Éire), also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern side of the island. Around 2.1 million of the country's population of 5.15 million people reside in the Greater Dublin Area. Ireland shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint George's Channel to the south-east and the Irish Sea to the east. The state is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann; an upper house, Seanad Éireann; and an elected President (Uachtarán) who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach (Prime Minister, literally "Chief"), who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the Taoiseach in turn appoints other government ministers.

Geographical type: Island Territory

Latitude: 53° N — Longitude: 8° W

Area: 70,273 km²

ISO 3166-2 code: IE

Birthplace of

Richard Cantillon, on 1680

Deathplace of

James P. Hogan, in Dromahaire, on 12 Jul 2010
Francis Hutcheson, in Dublin, on 1746

Measures of Freedom

Economic Freedom Summary Index, Economic Freedom of the World, 19 Sep 2023
2021: 8.11, Rank: 6
Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2023: A Global Measurement of Personal, Civil, and Economic Freedom
2021: 8.79, Rank: 4, Personal freedom: 9.27, Economic freedom: 8.11
Ireland: Freedom in the World 2024 Country Report, Freedom in the World 2024
2024: Status: Free, Aggregate Score: 97/100, Political Rights: 39/40, Civil Liberties: 58/60
Ireland is a stable democracy in which political rights and civil liberties are respected and defended. There is some limited societal discrimination, especially against the traditionally nomadic Irish Travellers. Corruption scandals have plagued the police force, and domestic violence remains a problem.


Agenda for Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Triumph of Liberty, 2000
Lengthy biographical essay of the Leveller John Lilburne
Cromwell ... moved to suppress the Irish who had been revolting against English rule since 1641. In Drogheda and Wexford, on Ireland's east coast, Cromwell ordered a massacre Irish rebels would never forget, and he transferred title for vast Irish lands to English owners. Historian George Macaulay Trevelyan observed: "In Ireland as Oliver left it and as it long remained, the persecuted priests were the only leaders of the people because the English had destroyed the class of native gentry. The Cromwellian settlement rendered the Irish for centuries the most priest-led population in Europe."
Big-Spending Republicans Can Learn from Ireland's Reforms, by Benjamin Powell, 17 Sep 2003
Contrasts U.S. government spending in the 1990's (under Bill Clinton) and early 2000's (under George W. Bush) with the approach taken in Ireland from the late 1980's
Ireland's recent growth has shown just how successful this approach can be. After years of high spending, taxing, inflating, and deficits, the Irish government was confronted with a fiscal crisis in 1986 ... [T]hey made dramatic cuts in government spending ... In 1986, Ireland slashed spending in areas such as health expenditures (6 percent), education (7 percent), agricultural spending (18 percent), roads and housing (11 percent), and the military (7 percent), and completely abolished other agencies ... In 1987 Ireland followed those moves up with the largest budget cuts in 30 years.
The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, May 2004
Historical account of Ireland from its earliest inhabitants, through various invaders, conflicts with the English and between Catholics and Protestants, to the mid-nineteenth century
The island of Ireland lies at the extreme western edge of Europe, separated from England by the narrow Irish Sea. Today, it is divided into two parts: 6 northern counties called Northern Ireland are a part of the United Kingdom; 26 other counties form a self-governing republic that has been known by different names but is commonly referred to as Ireland ... On January 1, 1801, an Act of Union joined Ireland and England under a single Parliament in London ... The Act affected Ireland in several ways. Some Irish became committed to repealing the Act ... [O]thers became committed to violence.
The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Jun 2004
Historical account of Ireland from 1840 to the first decade of the twentieth century, including the Young Irelanders, the famines, the Irish in North America, Captain Boycott, the demand for home rule, the Gaelic League and the emergence of Sinn Fein
By 1841, Ireland had a population of more than eight million. The potato had become the basis of the Irish diet because it was cheap, easy to cultivate, and nutritious. In 1845, "The Great Hunger" came when a potato blight severely damaged that crop ... The famine hardened Irish hatred for Britain whose mercantilist policies they blamed ... By 1879, the land issue again galvanized Ireland. After the Great Hunger, rents had increased by as much as 30 percent ... A less violent group also emerged under the guidance of Arthur Griffith: Sinn Fein, or "Ourselves Alone," emphasized self-reliance.
The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 3, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Jul 2004
Historical account of Ireland from 1912 to 1921, including the formation of the Irish Assembly, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty that concluded the Irish War of Independence
The newly elected Sinn Féiners formed the Dáil Éireann—the Irish Assembly—and held their first parliament on January 21, 1919 in Dublin. The Dáil, with its own courts and using its own funds, was declared to be Ireland's rightful government ... The British raided the Dáil and arrested its democratically elected leadership. One leader, Éamon de Valera, was deported to England and prison but he returned to Ireland. In the following election, de Valera was declared president. The Irish election of 1920 was a public vote of confidence for the suppressed Irish government ...
The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 4, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Aug 2004
Historical account of the partitioned Ireland from 1922 to the 1970's, including Éamon de Valera, the creation of the Republic of Ireland, the conflicts with and eventual split up of the IRA, and civil rights marches and riots in the North
In April 1922, the IRA seized the "Four Courts" in Dublin—the center of the Irish judicial system—and held them for three months ... The 1932 election brought de Valera back to power as president. He repealed the Public Safety Act, abolished the "Oath," and released his old comrades from prison ... Neutrality by the South had been a statement of sovereignty, which was cemented on April 1, 1949, when the Republic of Ireland Act declared Éire to be a republic. In 1955, the Republic of Ireland joined the United Nations and its diplomats began to speak out as Third World victims of colonialism.
Related Topics: Great Britain, World War II
Gertrude B. Kelly: A Forgotten Feminist, by Wendy McElroy, The Freeman, Oct 1998
Biographical essay on Dr. Gertrude B. Kelly, Irish immigrant, individualist feminist and contributor to Benjamin Tucker's Liberty
As an immigrant from Ireland in 1873, Gertrude Kelly's introduction to individualistic philosophy was probably through the columns of "Honorius" in Irish World—an organ of the Irish No Rent movement ... Kelly could not have been indifferent to the absentee British landlords whose claims to most of Ireland's fertile soil came from conquest and legal privilege. The exorbitant rent and interest they charged the Irish ... were a major cause of that country's poverty ... [S]he turned to the cause of women's suffrage and of Irish independence, becoming a prominent member of the Irish Women's Council.
Government Interventionism in Ireland, Part 1, by Scott McPherson, Freedom Daily, May 2004
Account of Irish history in the early 20th century, contrasting the views of unionists in Ulster with those of nationalists desiring home rule or outright separation from Britain
Ireland at the turn of the 20th century was poised for change ... In 1801 the British government had even declared Ireland to be, constitutionally, a province of the United Kingdom, ruling the island directly from London. This sat well with the pro-British minority in the north. By the end of the 19th century, however, the majority of the Irish, the Catholics, were no longer willing to be passive political minions of the British Empire. This had been demonstrated on no fewer than four occasions through attempts at organized rebellion over a period of less than 70 years.
Government Interventionism in Ireland, Part 2, by Scott McPherson, Freedom Daily, Jun 2004
Continued examination of the differences between Irish Protestants and Catholics in the early 20th century, suggesting the principles advocated by Mises could have resulted in better outcomes
In 1881, the Young Ireland Society was formed. The Gaelic Athletic Association and the Gaelic League followed soon after. The Gaelic League began selling Irish-language textbooks and by 1906 had 900 branches ... Had Irish nationalists espoused a philosophy of true political freedom ... rather than one of government interventionism, statism, and political control, there is every reason to believe that the majority of unionists would at least have been less suspicious of their Catholic neighbors and more prepared to see the Home Rule Act as no threat to their British values.
Government Money Deserves a "Swift" Abolition, by Nicholas Curott, 5 Oct 2006
Recounts Jonathan Swift's campaign against currency debasemen in 18th century Ireland and decries modern day inflation brought on by government-controlled money
In 1722, it had been many years since new copper farthings had been coined in Ireland, and their scarcity was cause for considerable inconvenience. The Irish Parliament applied to England for leave to coin new ones, but predictably their request was denied ... [This] was [an] opportunity for a few Englishmen to shower benefits on themselves by exploiting the Irish. The privilege of collecting the plunder finally settled on William Wood. How ... did Wood gain these favors? ... Wood secured the patent by bribing the Duchess of Kendall, the King's mistress, who sold him the patent for £10,000.
Related Topics: Inflation, Money
Introduction, by Donald Rutherford (editor), Collected Works of Nassau William Senior, 1998
Biographical and bibliographical essay on Nassau William Senior
In 1831 [Senior] published his advice to the government in A Letter to Lord Howick on a Legal Provision for the Irish Poor based on evidence to the Committee on the State of the Poor in Ireland and a pamphlet of Dr Doyle. Senior noted that most of the Irish population had avoided extreme poverty as the subsistence of the population had not declined during a period of population growth ... Senior had no objection to the migration of Irish labourers to English rural areas short of labour. He admitted that Irish wages were less than forty per cent of the English level ...
Jane Cobden: Carrying on Her Father's Work, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 25 Jul 2014
Biographical essay on Jane Cobden, daughter of Richard Cobden, who continued her father's advocacy of free trade and other ideals
Wikipedia quotes Richard Cobden from 1848:
Almost every crime and outrage in Ireland is connected with the occupation or ownership of land. ... If I had the power, I would always make the proprietors of the soil resident, by breaking up the large properties. In other words, I would give Ireland to the Irish.
He also wrote:
... great masses of landed property were held by the descendants of a conquering race, who were living abroad, ... while the natives were at the same time precluded from possessing themselves of landed property, and thus becoming interested in the peace of the country.
John Bright: Voice of Victorian Liberalism, by Nicholas Elliott, The Freeman, Aug 1988
Biographical essay, discussing in detail many of Bright's activities, in and out of Parliament, such as the repeal of the Corn Laws, opposition to the Crimean War, his view on colonial India and the United States, Parliamentary reform and Ireland
Bright had been a personal friend of Irish reformer Daniel O'Connell ... Bright took up the grievances of the Irish and, after O'Connell's death in 1847, was often their most persistent representative in Parliament. He rejected all attempts to impose the Church of England upon the native Catholics; instead he called for the withdrawal of this "symbol of conquest." The other issue was land policy: Irish agriculture had always been weak because large-scale English owners maintained idle lands, and because tenants scratched a precarious existence with no legal right of tenancy.
Richard Cobden's Triumphant Crusade for Free Trade and Peace, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jun 1995
Extensive biographical essay, including Cobden's relationship with John Bright as they campaigned for repeal of the Corn Laws, and his later peace activism
[I]n miserable Ireland ... nearly everyone depended on potatoes to survive. Except for northeastern Ulster, Ireland had never gone through an industrial revolution, and Irish peasants were believed to be the poorest in Europe—even worse off than American black slaves. Millions of Irish peasants lived in mud huts without a scrap of furniture. Well, the potato crop rotted everywhere. Peasants began dying from famine and related epidemics of typhus, cholera, and other diseases. Eventually, over a million Irish perished, and hundreds of thousands more emigrated.
To Defeat the Assault on Liberty, Our Appeals Must Be Moral, by Jim Powell, 13 May 2013
Argues, by providing several historical examples, that "compelling moral appeals for liberty" are needed to confront various current problems such as government spending and debt, higher taxes and disregard of constitutional limits on executive power
Daniel O'Connell led the nonviolent movement to abolish British-enforced civil disabilities on Irish Catholics—among other things, they hadn't been permitted to own land, inherit property or vote in Parliamentary elections. O'Connell declared, "We will plant in our Native Land the Constitutional Tree of Liberty. That noble tree will flourish. Beneath its sacred shade, the People of Ireland—Catholics, Protestants and Dissenters of every Class—will sit in peace. They will see Old Ireland what she ought to be—Great, Glorious and FREE, First Flower of the Earth, first gem of the Sea."

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Republic of Ireland" as of 7 May 2024, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.