How Southern and Northern Ireland Differ

Southern Ireland is also known as the Republic of Ireland and has many differences from Northern Ireland. The two parts of Ireland have different politics and different religions. Southern Ireland is also a much larger geographical area than is Northern Ireland and has in fact 26 counties compared with only 6 counties in Northern Ireland.

The Troubles

Northern Ireland has suffered a great deal of strife and conflict over the years between the protestant majority and catholic minority of the population. The several years of conflict that occurred in Northern Ireland were known as the “Troubles” and were marked by many violent conflicts between those parties who wanted independence from Britain, and those who did not want independence from Britain. Opposing parties tended to follow religion with individuals who were protestant fighting against individuals who were catholic. Southern Ireland has not had as much conflict and consists mainly of a catholic population.

The Republic of Ireland is not under direct British rule, while the Northern Ireland is under direct British rule. There has over the years been much conflict in Northern Ireland because of British rule with some members of the population striving for independence from Britain. Northern Ireland has stayed under British rule. Peace was established in Northern Ireland in 1998 when the Belfast agreement was signed which allowed for protestant unionists and catholic nationalists to share power in the government of Northern Ireland.

The Cultures

Northern Ireland culture is more similar to British culture than Southern Ireland because they are under British rule. Southern Ireland is a sovereign nation which endeavors to keep their traditions alive. Even the currency that is used between the two regions is different. In fact, the British pound is the preferred currency of Northern Ireland, but the euro is the preferred currency of the Republic of Ireland.

Northern Ireland was established and founded long before Southern Ireland. Southern Ireland gained its name in 1948 and became independent of what is now known as Northern Ireland which was established in 1921.The head of state of Northern Ireland is the British Monarchy while the head of state of Southern Ireland is the President of Ireland since it is separate of Britain.

Northern Ireland is part of the UK and flies the union flag.  Their government is within a constitutional monarchy while Northern Ireland has their own flag and own republican government. Other differences between the two regions are evident. For instance, even though people drive on the left-hand side of the road in both areas, the distances are designated in miles in Northern Ireland, while distances are designated in kilometers in the Republic of Ireland.

Other differences include the population growth of the regions, with the Republic of Ireland showing a much stronger population growth rate compared with Northern Ireland. This could be tied to religion since most of the religion of Southern Ireland is catholic, which is not the case in Northern Ireland. There are clear differences between Southern and Northern Ireland.