The island of Ireland is divided into two parts. Northern Ireland, in the northeast, is a part of the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland is an independent country.
A conflict between the two main religious groups, the Protestants and the Catholics, has been going on for over four hundred years. In the second half of the 20th century violent clashes between the two groups killed over 3,000 people. Towards the end of the century a new peace agreement was signed that was expected to bring peace to Northern Ireland.