The territory now known as Northern Ireland (Tuaisceart Eireann in Irish), was historically known as Ulster, one of the four historic provinces of Ireland.
When the southern 26 counties of southern Ireland left the union in 1921, the northern six countries-mostly populated by Protestants-opted to remain a part of the United Kingdom.
The six original counties (Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Tyrone, and Derry) have today been replaced by 26 District Council Areas (equivalent to unitary authorities in England and Wales).
Belfast, population 274,000, is the capital and major city.
Other cities include Derry, Armagh, Newry and Lisburn.
Northern Ireland occupies about one-sixth of the area of the island of Ireland, covering 5,399 square mi (13,843 square km) and sharing the UK's only land boundary with another member of the EU.
Its 1.7 million people speak mostly English but also maintain a tradition of speaking the local dialects of Irish Gaelic and Ulster Scots (a dialect of English brought over by Scottish settlers in the 17th century).
Belfast has a large Chinese immigrant population, making Chinese the second-largest language group after English.
Most of the population is divided religiously and politically between a Protestant majority who are mostly Unionist (favoring continued membership in the United Kingdom) and a Catholic minority who are mostly (but not entirely) nationalist (favoring union with the Republic of Ireland).
Tensions emerging from this divide became violent between the 1960s and 1990s, the period known as "The Troubles," and although quieter in the mid-2000s, the conflict has yet to be fully resolved.
The landscape of Northern Ireland consists mostly of low hills.
There are two areas of low mountains: the Mournes, from South Down to Strangford Lough in the east, and the Sperrins in the northwest.
The Mournes are granite massifs, with deposits of gold, and include the highest point in Northern Ireland (Slieve Donard, 2,798 ft or 848 m).
The northeast, in Antrim, is also significantly hillier, the result of ancient volcanism that has left behind one of the most interesting geologic features in the United Kingdom, the Giant's Causeway.
These geometric pillars face the North Channel, which separates Ireland from Scotland at the nearest point by only 13 mi (21 km).
Much of the center and western part of Northern Ireland are lowlands, much of this occupied by several large lakes, including the largest lake in the UK, Lough Neagh (153 square mi or 396 square km), and the long series of lakes, Upper and Lower Lough Erne, the waters of which ultimately flow out into the Atlantic through County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland.
The rivers Bann and Blackwater feed Lough Neagh, but only the Bann flows out the other side.
Other important rivers include the Foyle on the northwest border and the Lagan, which flows through Belfast into the Belfast Lough.
Northern Ireland had its own parliament from 1921 to 1973, when it was suspended because of The Troubles.
The struggles began as Catholic minority protests against discrimination in housing and jobs and representation in government.
Much of the violence was led by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its political wing, Sinn Fein.
The death toll since 1969 has surpassed 3,600.
In April 1998, the Good Friday Agreement was signed, which created a new Northern Ireland Assembly and called for formal cooperation between the governing institutions of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The assembly was created in 1999, but its history has been rocky, and direct rule from London was instituted once again in October 2002.
New elections were held in November 2003, but the assembly remained suspended.
- A new camera came out that allows you to make unique photos
"This technical sensation gets its owner to make “not simple” photos.
Germany has developed an interesting type of camera. When running GPS it founds itself on the map and searches for the photographs on the web, which are linked to the geolocation and which are made at a distance of 30-35 m away from the camera. If it gives you out more than thirty five searches the camera will fail when the shutter button is pressed and no snapshot will be made. This smart device can only count the number of pictures shot at one place so far without taking into account its content. However, it is believed that this drawback is to be solved soon. It’s likely that in the nearest future a specially designed app for smartphones is to come out with the same functional features.
Device developers say that using this camera they want to teach tourists how to make real and original shots and at the same time clear the internet from the identical photographs. "
- The capital city of Bulgaria opened a new museum
"The children-oriented museum invites them to explore the environmental world in a game style.
The so-called “Museiko” museum has been located at the kids’ centre in Sofia. Young explorers are able to go back to the past and gasp the meteorites dropped on our planet. There are also a lot of entertainment activities for kids: they will be offered to look at the world through the frog’s eyes, try their hands in archeology and construction, and puzzle out the nature mysteries and many other things.
At different levels of the museum children and parents are able to find themselves at various time spaces, which are the past, the present and the future. They will not only get the idea of the all possible opportunities in different scientific fields, but also will be able to play games on anxiety development and love to the activities in creativity. Besides this, different accelerated learning techniques will be used while working with young visitors. "