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Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers just under five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, which covers the remainder and is located in the north-east of the island.

Roman Catholicism is the largest religious denomination, representing over 73% for the island and about 87% of the Republic of Ireland.

The introduction of Christianity to Ireland dates to sometime before the 5th century, presumably in interactions with Roman Britain.

Christian worship had reached pagan Ireland around 400 AD. Patrick brought the faith to Ireland, but it was already present on the island before Patrick arrived.

As the eighth century neared its close, religion and learning still flourished, but unexpected dangers approached and a new enemy came, before whose assaults monk and monastery and saint and scholar disappeared.

These invaders were the Danes from the coasts of Scandinavia.

Arguably the finest such work is The Book of Kells which may still be viewed at Trinity College, Dublin.According to Prosper of Aquitaine, Palladius was from a noble family in Gaul. The Pope commissioned him to send Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, to investigate rumors of Pelagianism in Britain. When Columba died in 597, Christianity had been preached and received in every district in Caledonia, and in every island along its west coast. From Iona had gone south the Irish Aidan and his Irish companions to evangelize Northumbria, Mercia, and Essex.In 431, Pope Celestine I consecrated Palladius a bishop and sent him to minister to the "Scots believing in Christ". In the next century Iona had so prospered that its abbot, St. Missionaries from Ireland to England and Continental Europe spread news of the flowering of learning, and scholars from other nations came to Irish monasteries.The first significant renewal of learning in the West came with the Carolingian Renaissance of the Early Middle Ages.Charlemagne, advised by Peter of Pisa and Alcuin of York, attracted the scholars of England and Ireland, and by decree in AD 787 established schools in every abbey in his empire.

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