Ireland Geography

The island of Ireland is located in the northwest of Europe, forming part of the British archipelago, being the second island in its extension, it is the third island in Europe, after Great Britain and Iceland, and the twentieth in the world.

According to Allcitycodes, the surface of the island is 84,421 km², of which 83% (approximately five sixths) belong to the Republic (70,280 km²) and the rest constitute Northern Ireland. It is bordered to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the northeast by the North Channel. To the east is the Irish Sea, which connects the ocean via the southwest with the St. George’s Channel and the Celtic Sea. The west coast of Ireland is made up mostly of cliffs and low mountains (the highest point is Carrauntoohill at 1,041m).

The interior of the country is relatively flat, presenting a depressed internal basin and higher elevations near the coasts. The territory is crossed by rivers such as the Shannon, presenting many and relatively large and shallow lakes (loughs). The center of the country is partly washed by the River Shannon, and contains large areas of swamps, used for the extraction and production of peat. Ireland has the largest natural park attached to the largest city in Europe, the Phoenix Park, which measures 712 hectares and consists of a fenced 16 km circumference of extensive parkland and tree-lined avenues.

Its geography is rugged by the Donegal mountains, the Wicklow mountains, the Morne mountains, the Mac Gillycuddys Reeks and mainly by its highest summit: the Carrantuonhill (1,041 m). It also has numerous lakes among which the Neagh, Loch Erne and Corrib stand out. The most important rivers are the Shannon, the Blackwater, the Barrow and the Bann. The coasts that surround the island are usually very jagged, high, with narrow bays that present similarities to the estuaries and fjords; they are the firths; the outposts of the firths conclude in important peninsulas, especially to the west.

The temperatures in the area are modified by the North Atlantic Front and it is relatively mild. Summers are rarely very hot (temperatures only exceed 30 ° C once every 10 years, although they tend to reach 29 ° C many summers, it only freezes occasionally in winter (temperatures below -6 ° C are not common). Rainfall is frequent, with more than 275 days of rain in many parts of the country The main cities are the capital Dublin on the east coast, Cork in the south, Limerick, Galway on the west coast, and Waterford on the southeast coast.

Ireland, an island country in the North Atlantic, covers an area of ​​84,421 km2. As seen on the physical map of Ireland, the country has a highly varied topography despite its small size.

The central plains of Ireland are flat and undulating and divided by bogs, lakes and rivers, and surrounded by hills and low mountains.The main mountain ranges are Blackstairs, Bluestack, Comeragh, Derryveagh, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Nephinbeg, Ox, Silvermines, Slieve Mish, Twelve Pins and Wicklow.

The highest point in the country, Carrauntuohill, in the extreme southwest, reaches 1,041 m in height. The vertical yellow triangle marks your position on the map.

The western coast includes numerous cliffs. The most famous, and some say the most beautiful in all of Europe, are the Cliffs of Moher. They reach a maximum height of just over 213 m.

As seen in the map above, Ireland has dozens of offshore islands, including Achill, the largest in the country. Others of importance are the Aran Islands, southwest of Galway, and the island of Valentia, off the Iveragh Peninsula. Other notable peninsulas are that of Beara and that of Dingle.

The River Shannon, 386 km long, is the longest in Ireland. It widens into four lakes along its route: Lough Allen, Lough Bafin, Lough Derg and Lough Ree. Other important inland lakes are the Conn, the Corrib and the Mask.

Besides the Shannon, other major rivers are the Barrow, Blackwater, Boyne, Finn, Lee, Liffey, Nore, Slaney, and Suir.

The lowest point in Ireland is the sea, at 0 m.


Geologically the island is made up of several well differentiated areas. In the west around Galway and Donegal there is a medium to high grade igneous and metamorphic complex akin to the Caledonian Orogeny. In southeastern Ulster, extending southwest to Longford and south to Navan, there is an area of Ordovician and Silurian rocks with many akin to the Scottish Southern Highlands area. Further south, there is an area around the Wexford coast formed by granitic intrusions in the Ordovician and Silurian rocks, very similar to those of Cornwall. In the southwest, around Bantry Bay and the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks Mountains, there is an area of substantially deformed but only slightly metamorphosed Devonian rocks, also very similar to those of Cornwall.

This partial ring of geological “hard rock” is covered by a layer of carboniferous limestone towards the center of the island, giving rise to its comparatively fertile and lush landscape. The Burren district on the west coast around Lisdoonvarna has well-developed karst features. In the rest of the territory, stratiform zinc and lead mineralization is found in the limestone around Silvermines and Tynagh.

Explorations are carried out in search of hydrocarbons. The first significant find was Ireland’s largest gas field, located at Kinsale Head, Cork / Cobh, discovered by the Marathon Oil company in the mid-1970s. More recently, in 1999, the Enterprise Oil company announced the discovery of a gas field at Corrib, which has increased offshore activity on the west coast, parallel to the western Shetland outgrow of the so-called “North Sea hydrocarbon province”.

New reservoir exploration continues, with a well-planned border north of Donegal in August 2006, and prospective drilling in the Irish Sea and St George’s Channel.

Ireland Geography

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