How big is ireland?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 3, 2024

Geographical Size

Ireland, an island located in the North Atlantic, is the third-largest island in Europe and the 20th-largest island in the world. It spans an area of approximately 84,421 square kilometers (32,595 square miles). This size is divided between two political entities: the Republic of Ireland, which covers about 70,273 square kilometers (27,133 square miles), and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom and covers approximately 14,148 square kilometers (5,462 square miles).

Comparative Size

To put Ireland's size into perspective, it is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia in the United States, which has an area of about 62,755 square kilometers (24,230 square miles). In European terms, Ireland is about one-third the size of the United Kingdom, which spans about 243,610 square kilometers (94,058 square miles).

Population Density

Ireland's population density varies significantly between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The total population of the island is approximately 6.9 million people. The Republic of Ireland has a population of around 5 million, while Northern Ireland has about 1.9 million inhabitants. This yields a population density of about 70 people per square kilometer (181 per square mile) in the Republic and about 134 people per square kilometer (347 per square mile) in Northern Ireland.

Topographical Features

The island of Ireland is known for its lush landscapes, rolling hills, and extensive coastlines. Some of its notable topographical features include:

  • Mountains: The highest peak in Ireland is Carrauntoohil, which rises to 1,038 meters (3,406 feet) in County Kerry. Other significant mountain ranges include the Wicklow Mountains, the Mourne Mountains, and the MacGillycuddy's Reeks.
  • Rivers: The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland, stretching for about 360 kilometers (224 miles) and flowing from County Cavan in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
  • Lakes: Lough Neagh, located in Northern Ireland, is the largest lake by area in the British Isles, covering approximately 392 square kilometers (151 square miles).

Historical Context

The size of Ireland has remained relatively constant throughout history, but its political boundaries have shifted. The island was historically divided into numerous smaller kingdoms and territories before being unified under English and later British rule. The most significant change came in 1921 with the partition of Ireland, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Economic Footprint

Despite its modest size, Ireland has a significant economic footprint. The Republic of Ireland is renowned for its strong economy, characterized by high GDP per capita, a robust tech sector, and a favorable business environment. Dublin, the capital city, is a major hub for international business and finance.

Ecological Impact

Ireland's size and landscape make it a unique ecological region. The island is home to a variety of flora and fauna, much of which is endemic to the region. The country has several national parks, including Killarney National Park and the Wicklow Mountains National Park, which protect its diverse ecosystems.

Cultural Dimensions

Ireland’s cultural influence far exceeds its physical size. The island has produced a wealth of literature, music, and art that is recognized globally. Figures such as James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, and U2 have left indelible marks on global culture.

Travel and Accessibility

Despite its small size, Ireland is remarkably accessible. The island has a well-developed infrastructure, with numerous airports, ferry ports, and an extensive road network. This makes traveling between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland relatively easy.

Sports and Recreation

The size of Ireland lends itself to a variety of sports and recreational activities. Gaelic games such as hurling and Gaelic football are immensely popular, while the island's coastlines and rivers provide ample opportunities for water sports.

Rarely Known Facts

  • Light Pollution: Due to its relatively small size and low population density, Ireland has some of the darkest skies in Europe, making it an excellent location for stargazing.
  • Geological Stability: Ireland is one of the most geologically stable regions in the world, with very low seismic activity.
  • Oldest Known Field System: The Céide Fields in County Mayo are believed to be the world's oldest known field system, dating back to around 3500 BCE.

The Island's Influence

Though small in size, Ireland's impact on the world stage is substantial. Its rich history, vibrant culture, and unique geographical features make it a fascinating subject of study and a cherished destination for many.

Related Questions

What language does ireland speak?

Ireland, a country rich in history and culture, has a fascinating linguistic landscape. While many might assume that English is the sole language spoken in Ireland, the reality is more nuanced. This article delves into the various languages spoken in Ireland, their historical significance, and their current status in society.

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What currency does ireland use?

Ireland, both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, use different currencies due to their distinct political and economic affiliations. The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro (€), while Northern Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom, uses the British Pound Sterling (£).

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Where is ireland?

Ireland, known as Éire in Irish, is an island located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest on Earth. The island is politically divided into two distinct entities: the Republic of Ireland, which covers about five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, occupying the remaining one-sixth.

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What is ireland known for?

Ireland, often referred to as the "Emerald Isle," boasts a vibrant cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years. The country's history is steeped in myth, legend, and folklore, with tales of leprechauns, fairies, and ancient warriors. The Irish are known for their strong oral tradition, which includes storytelling, music, and dance.

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