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The theory holds that there were four separate Celtic invasions of Ireland.The Priteni were said to be the first, followed by the Belgae from northern Gaul and Britain.Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language.The island's culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, and sports such as association football, rugby, horse racing, and golf.and winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in Continental Europe. The earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BCE (12,500 years ago). The island was Christianised from the 5th century onward.Following the 12th century Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty.In 1973 the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community while the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland, as part of it, did the same.
It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain.In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, and was extended during the 18th century.It was covered by thick woodlands until the Middle Ages.As of 2013, the amount of land that is wooded in Ireland is about 11% of the total, compared with a European average of 35%.