Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern side of the island. Around a third of the country's population of 4.9 million people resides in the greater Dublin area.
The largest city in the Republic of Ireland is Dublin. Due to its proximity to Britain, it was the most important city in Ireland during the Tudor conquest of Ireland and subsequent British Invasions until after 1922 when the Irish Free State was formed. As the British held a presence here for over 500 years, most of the historic buildings from the 1500s on were built by them.
Among the main attractions in Dublin are Dublin Castle, the seat of British rule in Ireland until 1922, Phoenix Park, one of the largest inner-city parks in the world, The General Post Office, one of Ireland's most famous buildings due to the 1916 Easter rising, Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison turned museum that held and executed the rebels of the 1916 Rising and Trinity College, where the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow are held. In 2010, Dublin was awarded the title of UNESCO City of Literature, as many famous writers such as James Joyce and Samuel Beckett are from the city.
Ireland has many festivals, most of which take place annually. The most famous by far is the St Patrick's Festival which takes place in every county all over Ireland and celebrates Irish culture the world over. Although St. Patrick's Day festivals are held all over the world on 17 March, the festival in Ireland lasts over a week, and includes the parades on the 17 as well as the Skyfest celebrations, a fireworks display held somewhere different in Ireland every year. Part of the celebrations includes Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Week), which aims to promote the Irish language during the two weeks proceeding the festival. The parade in Dublin is the focal point of the festival, with over 500,000 people attending it in 2012