Although the independent Irish republic emerged only relatively recently, its rich history and cultural bounties date back centuries. The Irish have long endured strife, struggling against external control—notably English rule—as well as against infighting, often between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Yet even amidst such conflict, Ireland has continued to be known as the "land of saints and scholars," with writers such as James Joyce and W.B. Yeats, as well as musicians U2 and Sinead O'Connor, representing some of its most memorable cultural output. This compelling profile of Ireland surveys the land, people, culture, and history of this storied country, from the beginning of Celtic society to the development of the Celtic Tiger economy of the early 21st century.