Ireland, officially known as the Republic of Ireland, is a small island country to the west of England and Wales, from which it is separated by the narrow Irish Sea. Since 1921, the Republic of Ireland has occupied 86% of the island of Ireland, with the remainder (usually referred to as “Northern Ireland”) being part of the United Kingdom. Both Irish and English are official languages, although Irish is spoken in mostly non-formal settings. Tourism has long been a staple of the Irish economy, with more than 10 million people visiting the “Emerald Isle” each year. Pharmaceuticals, organic chemicals, machinery and cosmetics are major industries in Ireland. Ireland exports much of its production, especially to the European Union (EU) and the United States. Technology, financial services and insurance companies also contribute significantly to the Irish economy. An EU member since 1973, Ireland stands out as a strategic European base with economic and political stability and is an excellent destination for international expansion.