The NORTHERN IRELAND PORTAL
Northern Ireland is the smallest and least populous constituent country of the United Kingdom. It occupies roughly one sixth of the island of Ireland and is the only part of the United Kingdom to share a land border (that of the Republic of Ireland) with a different state.
Northern Ireland was created in 1921 out of the continuation of the Act of Union 1800, when the island of Ireland as a whole became part of the United Kingdom. Twenty-six counties of Ireland were separated from the United Kingdom in 1921, following the Irish War of Independence and subsequent Treaty. The remaining six counties were named Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Government operated for 50 years, until it was suspended in 1972 due to civil disturbances known as The Troubles. Several attempts have since been made to restore some form of devolved government to the region, culminating in the recent Belfast Agreement. It is sometimes described as a province, referring to it being a province of the United Kingdom, though it is also part of a larger Irish province called Ulster.
Belfast is Northern Ireland's capital city. The official flag of Northern Ireland is the Union Flag, although the former flag of the Government of Northern Ireland is still widely used to represent Northern Ireland, particularly in sporting events. It is based on the older flag of Ulster (with the addition of a crown, a star and a white background.) Flags and emblems are politically contentious, and several flags are widely flown. Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland, including Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland had the largest textile industry in the world before the last industrial and technological revolutions, combined with outsourcing of labour, made production cheaper elsewhere. Belfast is also known for having two of the largest gantry cranes in the world, towering above the largest dry dock in the world, in its ship building factory Harland & Wolff, which is also famous for producing the ill-fated RMS Titanic.
RMS Titanic was an Olympic class passenger liner that collided with an iceberg and sank in 1912. The second of a trio of superliners, she and her sisters, RMS Olympic and HMHS Britannic, were designed to provide a three-ship weekly express service and dominate the transatlantic travel business for the White Star Line. Built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world at the time of her sinking. During Titanic's maiden voyage (from Southampton, England; to Cherbourg, France; Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland; then New York), she struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. (ship's time) on Sunday evening April 14, 1912, and sank two hours and forty minutes later, after breaking into two pieces, at 2:20 a.m. Monday morning April 15.
Belfast City Hall under construction in 1901.
Edmund "Eddie" Irvine, Jr. (b. 10 November 1965, Newtownards) is a former Formula One racing driver from Breezemount in Conlig.
His professional racing career began in 1983 and he progressed to Formula Three racing in 1988, before moving on to Formula 3000 in 1989. He got his break in the top of the Formula racing series after he started racing for Jordan in the Formula 3000 series in 1990, and was subsequently picked up by the Jordan Formula One team in 1993. His reputation steadily increased in Formula One, eventually leading Ferrari to sign him in 1996.
1999 was his most successful season: He won four races and took the Drivers' Championship to the last race, finishing a close second to McLaren driver Mika Häkkinen. Having felt held back by Ferrari's support of his team mate Michael Schumacher, he left Ferrari to join the new Jaguar Racing team in 2000. He was the only driver to get Jaguar to the podium in the team's short F1 history; he achieved this feat twice.
Irvine is seen by many as a playboy in the mould of James Hunt, in contrast to the sport's modern stars, who are seen as staid and less flamboyant. Irvine is also remembered for his tendency to speak his mind, often to the irritation of some.
He was a millionaire through property investment before reaching Formula One. Outside of F1 Irvine is said to have built up a multi-million pound property portfolio, owning around 40 properties throughout the world.In April 2006, the Sunday Times Rich List named Irvine as the fifth richest person of Northern Ireland, having increased his personal fortune to approximately £160 million.He is now executive producer of a film being produced about Paddy Mayne and he has been linked to a future role at the Spyker MF1 Racing Formula One team.
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