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Northern Ireland vs. Republic of Ireland: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 15, 2024
Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom. Republic of Ireland is an independent sovereign nation.

Key Differences

Northern Ireland is one of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom. Republic of Ireland is a sovereign nation, independent from the UK, occupying most of the island of Ireland.
Northern Ireland shares its only land border with the Republic of Ireland. Republic of Ireland covers about five-sixths of the island, with its northern border abutting Northern Ireland.
In Northern Ireland, the legal system and governmental policies align with the UK. Republic of Ireland has its own legal system and government, distinct from the UK.
Northern Ireland uses the British Pound Sterling as its currency. In contrast, Republic of Ireland uses the Euro.
The cultural, historical, and political landscapes of Northern Ireland are influenced by its connection to the UK. Republic of Ireland has its own unique cultural and historical identity, distinct from Northern Ireland.

Comparison Chart

Political Status

Part of the United Kingdom
Independent sovereign nation


British Pound Sterling

Legal System

Follows UK legal system
Has its own distinct legal system

Land Border

Borders Republic of Ireland
Borders Northern Ireland

National Identity

British identity, part of the UK
Irish identity, independent of the UK

Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland Definitions

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is located in the northeast of Ireland.

Republic of Ireland

Governmental Structure.
The Republic of Ireland has its own government.

Northern Ireland

Historical Background.
Northern Ireland has a complex history.

Republic of Ireland

Cultural Heritage.
Irish culture is predominant in the Republic of Ireland.

Northern Ireland

Political Entity.
Northern Ireland has a unique political landscape.

Republic of Ireland

Economic System.
The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro.

Northern Ireland

Cultural Identity.
The culture in Northern Ireland is diverse.

Republic of Ireland

Sovereign Nation.
The Republic of Ireland is an independent country.

Northern Ireland

UK Constituent Country.
Northern Ireland is part of the UK.

Republic of Ireland

Geographical Area.
The Republic of Ireland covers most of the island.


Can I use Euros in Northern Ireland?

Generally, no, as the currency is the Pound Sterling.

Is English spoken in both regions?

Yes, English is widely spoken in both.

Is Northern Ireland part of Ireland?

It's part of the island of Ireland but politically part of the UK.

What is the capital of the Republic of Ireland?


Is a passport required to travel between them?

Not for UK and Irish citizens, but ID is recommended.

Are there cultural differences?

Yes, there are distinct cultural differences, influenced by their political histories.

Is the Republic of Ireland part of the EU?

Yes, it is.

Do they have different governments?

Yes, Northern Ireland is governed as part of the UK, while the Republic of Ireland has its own government.

Do both participate in the Commonwealth Games?

Only Northern Ireland does, as part of Team GB.

Are the legal systems the same?

No, each has its own legal system.

How does education differ?

Each has its own education system, with differing curricula and policies.

Are there historical conflicts between the two?

Yes, there have been historical conflicts, notably The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

What's the population difference?

The Republic of Ireland has a larger population.

What's the relationship between the two?

They are neighboring entities with intertwined histories but different political statuses.

How does healthcare differ between the two?

Northern Ireland follows the UK's NHS system, while the Republic of Ireland has its own healthcare system.

What's the main religion in Northern Ireland?

It's religiously diverse, with significant Protestant and Catholic communities.

What currency is used in the Republic of Ireland?

The Euro.

And in the Republic of Ireland?

Predominantly Roman Catholic, but with increasing religious diversity.

Is there a border control between the two?

Currently, there's no hard border, but this is subject to change.

Can I work in one if I live in the other?

Yes, there are arrangements that allow for cross-border employment.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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