Northern Ireland consists of six counties: Antrim, Armagh, Londonderry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone.
The countryside is green, fertile and laced with rivers and lakes, which have found lyrical expression in the nation’s folk and artistic traditions.
The largest freshwater lake in Great Britain is found in Northern Ireland, called Lough Neagh. It is 391 square km in size.
The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Located in County Antrim on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland, according to legend the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant.
The Ulster Fry is closely associated with Northern Ireland. Tuck into bacon, eggs, sausages, mushrooms, fried tomato, baked beans, pudding, potato, and soda bread!
Alternative rock band Snow Patrol come from Northern Ireland. As do flutist James Gallway, and singer Van Morrison.
C.S. Lewis, writer of the Chronicles of Narnia, was born in Belfast.
Northern Ireland has a long tradition of road racing. The largest sporting event is the North West 200, with a triangular circuit which is one of the fastest in the world.
Northern Ireland has taken part in every edition of the Games, except in 1950.
The country has won medals at each of the Games it has taken part in. Lawn Bowls and Athletics provided the first Gold in 1954. At the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, Northern Ireland won three Gold medals in Boxing.
Fun fact: The Armagh Observatory is the place for stargazers, along with the Armagh Planetarium. Here you can see distant galaxies and one of the few astronomy libraries in the UK.
Sport fact: Footballer George Best came from Northern Ireland. Whilst a schoolboy, George was recommended to Manchester United by a local Belfast football scout, who called the youngster a ‘genius’.