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ruins of Hore Abbey, County Tipperary, Ireland The Irish Republic is located on an island at the western edge of Europe.  It can be best described as a large lowland region surrounded by a broken rim of low mountains.  It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, by the North Channel and Scotland to the northeast, by the Irish Sea and England to the east, and by Saint Georges Channel to the southeast.  With its lush vegetation, mild climate, and frequent rainfall, Ireland has earned the nickname Emerald Isle.

Ireland occupies an area of 27,135 square miles; its capital city, Dublin, is situated on the Irish Sea coast.

Ireland Map, Showing Major Cities and Counties

map of ireland
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Geography of Ireland

While the lowlands comprise mostly peat bogs, the uplands include the Mountains of Kerry which has Ireland's highest peak, Carrauntoohill.  Ireland's longest river, the River Shannon, runs through the lakes of Allen, Ree, and Derg.  Most of Ireland's land is used for pasture for its booming farming industry, which supports cattle, sheep, and pigs.  While some of Ireland's land is also used for crops, it is a relatively small percentage.  Forests are relatively sparse in Ireland, and cover only about five percent of its land.

Ireland's Climate

Ireland is known for its damp climate, and it rains throughout the year.  The country's mild and damp climate is the result of the Gulf Stream influence that warms the west.  The weather in the east, where Dublin is located, is a bit cooler.

Leading Irish Cities

Dublin, Ireland's capital and largest city, is a leading European cultural and tourist destination.  It sits at the mouth of the River Liffey on Dublin Bay.  Frequently visited sites in Dublin include Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College, and Abbey Theatre.

Cork is Ireland's second largest city; the picturesque center of town is located on an island in the Lee River.  Galway, a university town located on Galway Bay in western Ireland, is noted for its festivals and nightlife.

Ireland Travel Information

Ireland is famous for the green shamrock, potatoes, and lively Irish music.  Visitors to Ireland enjoy golfing, horseback riding, and cycling, as well as other sports and activities.  Carrauntoohil, Ireland's highest point, with an elevation of 3,415 feet (1,041 meters), is frequently visited by tourists as well.

The Irish landscape is naturally beautiful and resonates with a tangible sense of history.  Tranquil green pastures and mountain retreats, magnificent cliffs overlooking the western coastline, quiet sandy beaches, and remote offshore villages all await the visitor to Ireland.  There are also many ruins dotted throughout the country, including the famous Hore Abbey ruins located at Cashel, County Tipperary.  The Irish people are friendly, and traditional Irish culture and language survives to this day, especially in some of the more remote regions of western Ireland.

For more information about visiting Ireland, visit the Government of Ireland website.

Irish Tourism

  • Tourism Ireland - Official guide to visiting Ireland includes holiday and golf information.

Ireland Resources

  • CIA - The World Factbook - Ireland - US Government almanac provides Ireland maps, geography and statistics.
  • Ireland in the Yahoo Directory - Find resources about Ireland and Dublin. Explore the history, learn about the regions, find local newspapers, check the business categories and browse through the local guides.
  • Wikipedia - Ireland - This free online encyclopedia includes information about Irish history, regions and geography.
  • Ireland News - News headlines and news article links about current events in the nation of Ireland.

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