The close geographical proximity of Great Britain has had a profound impact on Irish history. The interaction and confrontation between the two peoples and cultures culminated in 1801 with the absorption of Ireland into Great Britain. The Irish struggled to retain their separate ethnic identity - defined by a distinctive language and cultural traditions, and by the Roman Catholic religion - and ultimately, to win independence. Religious discord, social and political instability, and outbreaks of armed rebellion mark the historical record. The Irish managed to survive and, in the end, they succeeded in securing their cherished goal of national self-identity. A democratic and prosperous nation open to the world, Ireland today comprises a synthesis of both Irish and English heritages. Providing a broad narrative and relating the central events that have shaped the country, "A Brief History of Ireland" touches on all aspects of Ireland''s history, including political, economic, cultural, social, and foreign affairs. Recounting this country''s long history - from the arrival of the Celts to recent economic developments that have brought booming prosperity and social change - the volume notes what makes Ireland unique among nations, including noteworthy contributions made by the Irish.
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