Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is located left from Great Britain. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles. Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland, 32,595 square miles) and Northern Ireland (201.5 square miles), which is part of the United Kingdom. The population of Ireland is about 6.6 million. Just under 4.8 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland. It is spoken Irish and English. The capital city in Ireland is Dublin. The largest City in North Ireland is Belfast.

The earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 12,500 years ago. England claimed sovereignty in the 12th century. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, creating the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. In 1973 the Republic of Ireland joined the European Union.

Though Ireland has no formal honours system, there are systems of awards run by the state. The highest award of the military awards and decorations is the Military Medal for Gallantry decoration awarded by the Government of Ireland.


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Irish Medals.

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