The quick travel guide to Ireland and Dublin
Ireland is located on the western edge of Europe in the Atlantic Ocean. The island of Ireland extends over 84,421 sq km, of which 83% belong to the Irish state (70,280 sq km), while the remainder constitutes Northern Ireland. Ireland has a population of around 3.5 million and nearly a million of those live in the capital, Dublin.
Ireland joined the EU in 1973 and is a member of the OECD and the United Nations. The official languages are Irish and English, 87% of population are Roman Catholic. Ireland uses the euro for currency and is not part of the Schengen Agreement but it cooperates with members of that agreement.
Ireland is surrounded by water, to the west and north is the Atlantic Ocean, while to the east is the Irish Sea and to the south is St Georges Channel. The nearest land to Ireland is Holyhead in Wales which is connected via a ferry service. A slightly shorter crossing is available from Belfast in Northern Ireland to Stranraer in Scotland.
Relatively low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain epitomise Ireland's geography with several navigable rivers extending inland. The island has lush vegetation, a product of its mild but changeable oceanic climate, which avoids extremes in temperature. Thick woodlands covered the island until the 1600s. However today, it is the most deforested area in Europe.
The west coast of Ireland mostly consists of cliffs, hills and low mountains (the highest point being Carrauntoohil at 1,038m ). The interior of the country is relatively flat land, traversed by rivers such as the River Shannon and several large lakes or loughs. The centre of the country is part of the River Shannon watershed, containing large areas of bogland used for peat extraction and production.
Chief city conurbations are the capital Dublin (1,045,769) on the east coast, Cork (190,384) in the south, Limerick (110,458) in the mid-west, Galway (72,729) on the west coast, and Waterford (49,213) on the south east coast.
Ireland has a temperate oceanic climate meaning that it is mild with temperatures not much lower than -3 °C (26.6 °F) in winter and not much higher than 22 °C (72 °F) in summer. The Atlantic Ocean is the main force shaping Ireland's weather and there is a warming influence due to the Gulf Stream.
Location Map of Ireland
Interactive Map of Ireland
|Travel Guide to the European Union 2013|