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1UpTravel - Geography Info and Facts of Countries : . - Ireland

Ireland Geography and Facts

Location: Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain

Geographic coordinates: 53 00 N, 8 00 W

Map references: Europe

total: 70,280 sq km
land: 68,890 sq km
water: 1,390 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries:
total: 360 km
border countries: UK 360 km

Coastline: 1,448 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: not specified
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time

Terrain: mostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m

Natural resources: zinc, lead, natural gas, barite, copper, gypsum, limestone, dolomite, peat, silver

Land use:
arable land: 13%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 68%
forests and woodland: 5%
other: 14% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Tropical Timber 94

Geography - note: strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe; over 40% of the population resides within 97 km of Dublin


Ireland is small enough to be visited in its entirety within a couple of weeks, in which time you cannot see everything worthwhile of course - but you will gather an impression of something new, strange and beautiful in the make-up of land and people.

Ireland is an island of 84,288 sq km (32,544 square miles). Its greatest length is; 485 km (302 miles), its greatest width is 304 km ( 189 miles), and its coastline extends for over 5,631 km (3,500 miles).

The highest mountain is Carrantuohill (1,040 metres/3'414 feet), near Killarney In County Kerry. The longest river is the Shannon (370 km/230 miles, including estuary) which opens at the sea in county Limerick. The largest lake is Lough Neagh (396 ssq km/153 ss.quare miles) in the north which boarders counties Armagh, Down, Antrim, Derry and Tyrone.

The country is divided into the four historic provinces of Ulster (9 counties) in the north; Munster (6 counties) in the south; Leinster (12 counties) in the east; and Connacht (5 counties) in the west. The population of the 32 counties of Ireland is approximately 5 million.


Ireland's climate is influenced by the Gulf Stream, which keeps the temperatures generally mild with an average rainfall of 60 inches a year. Rain is frequent and relatively abundant. Winters are fairly warm, with January temperatures ranging from 57 ºF in the south, to 40 ºF in the northern parts.

Temperatures average about 42 ºF (5 ºC) during the coolest month, February, and about 60 ºF (15 ºC) in the warmest month, August. August though, with December, has the heaviest rainfall annually.

There is little rainfall in late spring and somewhat dry fall months. The southern and western parts of Ireland have the longest growing season each year because of the plentiful rain and mild climate.

Background: Growing Irish nationalism resulted in independence from the United Kingdom in 1921, with six largely Protestant northern counties remaining within the UK.

After World War II bloody strife between Catholics and Protestants over the status of Northern Ireland cost thousands of lives.

In 1998, substantial steps toward peace were agreed to by the British and Irish governments and the Roman Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland.

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