Republic of Ireland, the, Ireland, the Irish Republic, Eire, Southern Ireland
a country that forms the larger part of the island of Ireland, and which is a member of the EU. Population: 3,917,203 (2002). Capital: Dublin. It was formerly ruled by the British, but it became an independent country in 1921 , when Ireland was divided into Northern Ireland (which remained as part of the UK) and the Irish Free State, which later became the Republic of Ireland. Ireland is mainly a Roman Catholic country. Its official languages are Irish Gaelic and English. Traditionally, Ireland's main industry was farming, but it has developed new industries.