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is an island in north-western Europe which has been divided politically since 1920. Most of the island is made up of Ireland. The remainder is Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. Overall, Ireland has a mild and cool changeable oceanic climate with few extremes. In Ireland you may indeed experience 'four seasons in one day', so pack accordingly and keep up-to-date with the lastest weather forecast. No matter the weather, expect it to be a topic of conversation mongst the locals. You may notice slight differences in temperature between the north and south of the country, and significantly more rain in the west compared with the east. Strong winds and storms, especially in coastal Atlantic areas, are common.

Food is expensive in Ireland, although quality has improved enormously in the last ten years. Most small towns will have a supermarket and many have a weekly farmers' market. The cheapest option for eating out is either fast food or pubs. Many pubs offer a carvery lunch consisting of roasted meat, vegetables and the ubiquitous potatoes, which is usually good value

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