"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How Irish We Aren't, Part II

Finally, Part II of "How Irish We Aren't".

The "How Irish We Are!" brigade in Newfoundland like to draw attention to a superficial geographical resemblance between Ireland and Newfoundland.

And superficial it is. Thin. Like the glacial till. That passes for soil. In This Place.

Oh, sorry for the sentence fragments. For some reason, whenever talk turns to Ireland and Newfoundland, it becomes impossible to write full sentences.

The population of the Republic of Ireland alone is just over four million. Northern Ireland bring the population of the entire island to about six million, and this in an island that at 81,638 square kilometres is only 80% the size of Newfoundland's 108,860.

Ireland, north and south, therefore has a population density 15 times that of Newfoundland.

Ireland, north and south, is also heavily urbanized. Dublin has a population of over a million, Cork nearly 200,000, Limerick nearly 100,000, Galway over 60,000, and Waterford roughly 50,000. In the north, metro Belfast has roughly 600,000 and Londonderry 90,000. In both countries, there are hundreds of thousands more people in exurban areas less than an hour's drive outside the main cities.

Newfoundland has St. John's, metro population 172,918. If you are feeling generous, you can give St. John's a region comprising the entire Avalon, which you can then generously estimate to have a population of a quarter-million.

This map shows Newfoundland and Ireland at the same linear scale, using the same population-density scale, based on the latest census data. (Click it to enlarge.)

The most densely-populated parts of Newfoundland have population densities comparable to the least-populated parts of Ireland. Not only is the province, not being an island, a poor comparison with Ireland, but Newfoundland and Ireland, as islands, aren't even that similar. Those who like to play up the supposed similarity get as far as "we're both island!" and then their brains stop working.

Setting aside the fact that they are both islands, and the obvious, if overplayed, cultural connection between Ireland and Newfoundland, what is the intellectual attraction? How are Newfoundland and Ireland in any way alike?


At 5:20 AM, February 12, 2007 , Blogger Brian said...

Would ja be av’n a pint a Guinness wit ya Jimmy?


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