Ireland’s Geography & Environment

  • Land Area: 8,193,173 Hectares (20,230 sq miles)
  • Length: 290 miles, 467 km  (Malin Head to Mizen Head)
  • Width: 171 miles, 275 km (Howth Head to Slyne Head)
  • Coastline: 1,738 miles, 2,796 Km
  • Highest Mountain: Carrauntoohil, Co Kerry, 1,041m
  • Longest River: The Shannon, 224 miles, 360 km
  • Largest Lake: Lough Neagh, 147 sq miles, 381 sq km
  • Average Annual Rainfall: 1,100 mm
  • Natural Resources:
    Natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite
  • Primary Sources of Energy:
    Oil (56%) Natural Gas (22%) Coal (13%)
  • Household & Commerial Waste: ~2.5 million tonnes/annum
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Kilotonnes, 2002):
    Carbon Dioxide 45,808, Methane 603, Nitrous Oxide 32

Ireland’s Environmental Challenges

Illegal Dumping: A major issue

Illegal Dumping: A major issue

While Ireland still has a relatively clean and healthy environment, it is under increasing pressure to maintain this situation.

Unprecedented economic growth, an expanding population, changes in industrial and agricultural outputs and methods and an increasingly consumerist society all have significant environmental implications. Issues of waste management, waterway protection and preservation of the rural landscape have been very much under debate in recent times.

More and more people spend more and more time commuting, which has an obvious environmental impact. With increased urbanisation come issues of noise pollution, air and water quality and the gradual creep of urban areas into the countryside.

The body charged with protection of Ireland’s environment, the Environmental Protection Agencey (EPA) have identified the main challenges in the years ahead as being:

  • Meeting Ireland’s international commitments on air quality and gas emissions
  • Maintenance of water quality, in particular eutrophication prevention and control
  • Developing improved waste management systems
  • Better integration of environmental and natural resource considerations into the policies, plans and actions of all economic sectors
  • Improving the enforcement of environmental legislation.

Ireland’s Highest Mountains

Name Height(m) County
Carrauntoohil 1,038 Kerry
Beenkeragh 1,010 Kerry
Caher 1,001 Kerry
Mount Brandon 951 Kerry
Lughnaquilla 924 Wicklow
Galtymore 917 Tipperary
Donard 850 Down
Mweelrea 814 Mayo
Errigal 749 Donegal

Ireland’s Longest Rivers

River Miles Kilometers
Shannon 224 360
Barrow 120 192
Suir 114 184
Blackwater 104 168

Ireland’s Largest Lakes

Lake Sq Miles Sq Kilometers
Lough Neagh 147 381
Lough Corrib 68 176
Lough Derg 46 116
Lough Erne 43 112
Lough Ree 41 105

Published: December 15, 2008 | Updated: January 14, 2020 | Image Credits

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1 Comment

  • Padfoot says:

    I originate from Ireland and I found this website very helpful and informing. I really hope that Ireland will stay healthy and Green for years to come.

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