Ireland (pronounced /ˈaɪrlənd/ locally [ˈaɾlənd]; Irish: Éire, pronounced [ˈeːɾʲə]) is an independent state in north-western Europe. The modern sovereign state occupies about five-sixths of the island of Ireland, which was partitioned on 3 May 1921. It is a parliamentary democracy and a republic. It is bordered by Northern Ireland to the north east, the Irish Sea to the east, St George's Channel to the south-east, the Celtic Sea to the south and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and north. The name of the state is Ireland, while the description the Republic of Ireland is sometimes used when there is a need to differentiate the state from the island.
On 29 December 1937 Ireland became the successor-state to the Irish Free State, itself established on 6 December 1922. In 1949, Ireland became a republic and left the British Commonwealth.
Over 85% are Roman Catholic, but other religions and non-religious categories have been on the rise in recent years. About 0.5% are Buddhist.