Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George’s Channel.
Geopolitically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. As of 2016, 4.8 million people live in the Republic of Ireland, and 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland.
The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus very moderate, and winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant.
A strong Irish culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language. The island’s culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, and sports such as association football, rugby, horse racing, and golf.
Norway is a Scandinavian country encompassing mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords. Oslo, the capital, is a city of green spaces and museums. Preserved 9th-century Viking ships are displayed at Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum. Bergen, with colorful wooden houses, is the starting point for cruises to the dramatic Sognefjord. Norway is also known for fishing, hiking and skiing, notably at Lillehammer’s Olympic resort.
Scotland is a country in Western Europe which forms part of the United Kingdom. Its government was joined with that of England’s through the 1707 Acts of Union. A devolved government now administers many of the affairs of the country, though ultimate authority still resides with Westminster. Scotland has a distinct legal system and national sporting associations. 5.2 million people live in Scotland and the largest city in the country is Glasgow, though the capital is Edinburgh where the government sits at the Scottish Parliament opposite Holyrood Palace.