Northern Ireland has a diverse history from the time of Elizabeth I when it was an area for English and Scottish settlers and was met by Irish resistance. It was the Act of Union in 1801 which merged the kngdoms of Great Britain and Ireland with one parliament. Northern Ireland is one of four parts of the United Kingdom. Located on the island of Ireland, it has a land border with the Republic of Ireland. It is the only part of the United Kingdom that has an international land border and this was formed in 1920 by the Government of Ireland Act.
Surveys indicate that almost 60% of the population want to remain a part of the United Kingdon. Around 20% would still welcome a united Ireland. The Assembly is often referred to as communities of Nationalists and Unionists. Many are not agreeable to this terminology and would prefer not to be categorised in this way.
The dialect spoken here has a distinct influence from the West Midlands and Scotland. Although ethnic background determines part of the spoken word English is most used by the people living in Northern Ireland. The return of a recent census indicates that Chinese is now the second most used language although consideraton should be made that by other international statistics the Chinese population is still very small. Northern Ireland has good ferry links with Scotland and England, three airports and excellent transport systems throughout the country.
The charm of the people and natural beauty combined with new and exciting places to visit is bringing more tourists every year to Northern Ireland. With the heritage, musical festivals, the pubs, golf courses and good fishing this country has much to offer. The coastline with sandy beaches, forests, mountains and little towns nestling in the vibrant green countryside ensures every day will be memorable. Good roads and motorways with picnic areas and caravan sites are plentiful and the only traffic jams will be with the cows going home to be milked. The weather is changeable with rain and wind but the blue sky is worth waiting for and feel invigorated by the clean fresh air.
In Belfast one of the most visited attractions is W5 a Project of the Millennium and is the first interactive science centre on the Island of Ireland. It also has a state of the art Conference Centre allowing business and pleasure to be enjoyed under one roof. The options for days out are endless and include Belfast Zoo, The Titanic Quarter, the Castle, Grand Opera House and not forgetting the International Ice Bowl.
This City of Derry offers good food and drink and is full of history. The Giant's Causeway is a World Heritage sight and has been a local attraction for many centruries. The world's oldest distillery dating back to King James I is Old Bushmills and Derry will celebrate its 400th birthday in 2008.
Invest in Northern Ireland (I N I) is supporting local companies to be enterprising and consider their potential by expanding into the global market. Innovation and prestige is being supported by research and development and involving modern technology. This will ensure productivity is increased and provide long term employment and put Northern Ireland on the map now and in the future.