Northern Ireland is a part of the British empire, not a part of southern Republic of Ireland. The island was divided in 1921 amid much conflict. In the late 1960s, conflict with Northern Ireland between Protestant unionists and Catholic nationalists erupted into three decades of violence known as the Troubles, which claimed over 3,500 lives and caused over 50,000 casualties.
Sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems, and sporadic violence happens occasionally. Economic growth came from the “peace dividend” agreement which increased trade between the north and south, and significant increase in tourism, investment and business from around the world. Gay life in Northern Ireland is modest and lively with a handful of venues and laws that favor LGBT life–except gay marriage which is currently (2018) being debated in the Parliament of Northern Ireland.