The British Isles are an archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean off the north-western coast of continental Europe that consists of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and over six thousand smaller isles. They include two sovereign states, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The islands of Alderney, Jersey, Guernsey and Sark, and their neighboring smaller islands, are sometimes considered to be part of the British Isles.
The area now called England takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world.
We visited England many times, starting in 1984, and again in 2007, 2013, 2015, and 2017. We have visited London, Oxford, Bath, Windsor, Bristol, Brighton, Birmingham, Canterbury, Eastburne, and Dover.
The Gaelic kingdoms of Ireland ended with the Norman invasion of Ireland, when the kingdom became a fief of the Holy See under the Lordship of the King of England. The state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named “Ireland” and effectively became a republic.
We visited Dublin, Drogheda, Westport, Ballina, Clifden, Cliff of Moher, Limerick, Cork, Killarney, Newgrange, PortMagee, and Galway, in 2015 as part of our Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg trip.
Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Unlike Southern Ireland, which would become the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of Northern Ireland’s population were unionists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom.
We visited Belfast, Ballycastle, in 2015 as part of our Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg trip.
Welsh national identity emerged among the Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, and Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd’s death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England’s conquest of Wales.
We visited Betws-y-Coed, Pontcysyllte, Cardiff, Gwynedd, and Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in 2013 as part of our 2013 trip to England, Wales, Portugal, Spain & Morocco trip.
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