Northern Ireland, also known as Ulster, is still a part of the United Kingdom. It is made up of six countries: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Tyrone. One third of the population lives in and around the capital, Belfast. Belfast is also the most important port and commercial and industrial centre. Some parts of the territory, those that are not close to the capital, have remained mainly rural.
The Irish population is divided into two groups: the Protestants and the Catholics. The Protestants are of British origin. They are descendants of British settlers who came to Ireland in the XVI and XVII centuries, during and after the Reformation. The Catholics are mostly natives of Ireland.
The Protestants were the majority and dominated the Catholics with strong discrimination. In 1968 the Catholics began the movement for equal civil rights. The fighting between the two groups of the population continue to this day.
Northern Ireland has a strong cultural tradition: songs, dances, literature and festivals.
It has its own Art Council, and there are orchestras, theatres, ballet and opera companies.