Northern Ireland is physically separated from mainland Britain by the Irish Sea. In common with the other UK countries, people in Northern Ireland speak English and there are also lesser used languages - Irish and Ulster-Scots.
The people of Northern Ireland strive to build on the positive and learn from the negative, such as the country's troubled and violent past. Northern Ireland now contains dynamic cities with vibrant social scenes, set in a spectacular landscape with an ancient past. It is also famous for the building of the Titanic, the Giants Causeway World Heritage Site, and musicians such as Van Morrison and Ash.
In a population of 1.5 million nearly 60% are under 40, making it a country with an influential youth culture.
We asked some people from Northern Ireland what they thought about life there......
'Northern Ireland has such a vibrant social life. The pubs bristle with conversation and live music of every ilk. The locals share an aridly dry sense of humour. Homelife is arguably more parochial than on the British mainland as religion remains integral to society through education and family.'
'I think the music culture in Northern Ireland is great, whether you are looking for traditional or modern.'
'There is also a strong international cultural scene and various arts festivals such as the Belfast Festival, Cathedral Arts Festival and Belfast Film Festival which strengthen this internationalism by inviting artists from around the world.'
What one thing represents Northern Ireland for you?
'I'm afraid it would probably be the good old Ulster Fry, plenty of potato bread and soda bread dipped in egg. Yum. Why? Because it is perfect for that other thing Northern Ireland is known for - curing the morning after the night before.'
'The word 'craic' which can mean just about everything. It applies to atmosphere. It applies to conversation. It is Northern Ireland's joie de vivre (or 'joy of life' as the French would say).'
Multicultural Northern Ireland
'We're not at all as multicultural as the rest of the UK but increasingly that's not the case and Belfast is becoming a more vibrant and beautiful place with new faces and cultures making their homes here.'
'...... you can see that things are beginning to change, we are now seeing a wider spread of cultures coming to Northern Ireland. There are now more festivals and events happening, opening up people's eyes to new ways of looking at things.'
If you would like to find out more about the other countries in the UK take a look at the current issue of UKinfocus which is on the theme of Living in the UK.