Wednesday 24 January 2018

There's plenty of life left in rural Ireland - despite the tales of woe

A woman on a walk along the Wild Atlantic Way. Photo: Failte Ireland
A woman on a walk along the Wild Atlantic Way. Photo: Failte Ireland
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

In 1845, Ireland had the fifth-biggest population in western Europe. More people lived here than in all the Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - put together. Today, the all-island population is less than one-third of those countries' combined populations.

If, instead of the 120-year period of decline that took place after 1845, the population of Ireland had grown at the same rate as in the five Nordics, there would now be around 20 million people living on this island.

Had that happened, almost everything about this country would be different. The most visibly different thing would be the sheer scale and shape of the island's cities.

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