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
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
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
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.