Ireland is an island located in North Western Europe and in the North Atlantic Ocean. It lies on the European continental shelf (the Eurasian Plate part) and it takes up most of the island with Northern Ireland (which it belongs to the United Kingdom).
In its 70,273 square km (27,132 square miles) of total area, its main geographical terrain are mostly low central plains surrounded by rugged hills and low, coastal mountains, as well as sea cliffs on west coast. It also has many coastal islands, including Achill, the country's largest, the Aran Islands to the southwest of Galway and Valentia Island just off the Iveragh Peninsula.
Ireland is divided into 32 counties. In the Republic of Ireland official usage the term "county" is often conflated with these 32 areas currently used to demarcate areas of local government. The 32 divisions listed below include the "traditional counties of Ireland as well as those created or re-created after the 19th century:
Cork, Dublin and, Galway are cities that are currently administered outside the county system, but with the same legal status as administrative counties.
Dublin (city population 553,165 inhabitants) is the county chief commercial, industrial, administrative, educational and cultural centre, while Cork city (125,622 inhabitants) has traditionally been associated with the processing and marketing of agricultural products, the presence of large-scale industrial development around its outer harbour and the use of natural gas from the offshore Kinsale field. Waterford (48,369 inhabitants), Dundalk (32,288 inhabitants) and Drogheda (29,471 inhabitants) are smaller regional centres with industrial functions.
On the west coast, the main city is Limerick (58,319 inhabitants), which is located at the lowest crossing place on the river Shannon. It shares in the prosperity of the Shannon Industrial Estate but its harbour facilities are now little used, though significant port and industrial activities are developing westwards along the Shannon estuary. Other significant western urban centres are Galway (79,504 inhabitants) and Sligo (19,402 inhabitants).
Ireland's climate is classified as western maritime and it is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The country receives generally warm summers and mild winters with abundant rainfall. Consequently the weather is considered mild, humid and variable with a lack of extreme temperatures, a characteristic that it shares with all the countries that lie in the path of the temperate depressions.
The temperature is almost uniform over the entire island and the prevailing wind usually comes from the southwest, breaking on the high mountains of the west coast.
Rainfall is therefore a prominent part of western Ireland, with Valentia Island, on County Kerry west coast, getting almost twice the annual rainfall than Dublin on the east.
The precipitation, combined with the equable climate, it is remarkably favourable for the grasslands, which are the basis of the country's large livestock population.
For up-to-date weather information, consult "Met Éireann - The Irish Meteorological Service".
Ireland uses Irish Standard Time (IST, UTC+01:00) in the summer months, and Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0) in the winter period.
Dublin is the capital city of the Republic of Ireland and the largest city of the country, and its population is around 553,165 inhabitants.
The city is located near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and encompasses a land area of approximately 115 square kilometres (44 sq mi). It is geographically bordered by a low mountain range to the south and surrounded by flat farmland to the north and west.
A north-south division has traditionally existed in Dublin, with the dividing line being the River Liffey, which is further divided by two lesser rivers - the River Tolka running southeast into Dubin Bay, and the River Dodder running northeast to the mouth of the Liffey. Traditionally, the North side has been seen as working-class zone, while the Southside is seen as middle and upper middle class area.
Dublin is internationally noteworthy in terms of its vibrancy, nightlife and tourist attractions. Furthermore, it is also the most popular entry point for international visitors to Ireland and an economic, administrative and cultural centre with one of the fastest growing populations of any European capital city.
Dublin is divided into 24 districts, separated by the Liffey River into Northern districts (odd numbers) — for example, Phibsboro is in Dublin 7 — and Southern districts (even numbers) — for example, Clonskeagh is in Dublin 14.
Between them, the most important are:
See that in some tourism and real-estate marketing context, Dublin is sometimes divided into 5 quarters:
Dublin's sheltered location on the east coast makes it the driest place in Ireland, receiving only about half the rainfall of the west coast.
Similar to much of the rest of north Western Europe, a major warm ocean current called "the North Atlantic Drift" keeps sea temperatures mild too. So while the weather can be changeable - it's rarely extreme.
The city experiences long summer days and short winter days and strong Atlantic winds are only common in autumn. However, in winter, easterly winds render the city colder and more prone to snow showers.
The average maximum January temperature is 8.8 °C (48 °F), being the coldest month, while the average maximum July temperature is 20.2 °C (68 °F), the hottest month. Additionally, the sunniest months are May and June. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, and while the wettest month is October with 76 mm (3 in) of rain, the driest one is February with 46 mm (2 in).
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