Ireland (island)

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True color satellite image of Ireland
True color satellite image of Ireland
Waters Atlantic
Archipelago British Islands
Geographical location 53 ° 28 ′  N , 7 ° 46 ′  W Coordinates: 53 ° 28 ′  N , 7 ° 46 ′  W
Location of Ireland
length 450 km
width 260 km
area 84,421 km²
Highest elevation Carrauntoohill
1041  m
Residents 6.197.100 (2008)
73 inhabitants / km²
main place Republic of Ireland : Dublin (Baile Átha Cliath); Northern Ireland : Belfast (Béal Feirste)
Map of Ireland
Map of Ireland
Map by Didier Robert de Vaugondy with the island of Ireland as Britannia minor "Little Britain " (1750)

The island of Ireland is around 450 km long and around 260 km wide and lies in the Atlantic . In total it has an area of ​​around 84,421 km². It is the third largest island in Europe and the twentieth largest in the world.

On the island are - separated by the intra-Irish border  - the Republic of Ireland and the North East Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom 's (see list split Islands ) .


The English name of the island is Ireland, the Irish name Éire ( old Irish Ériu ). The Welsh name is Iwerddon . Today it is assumed that the name Éire is derived from an ancient Celtic word * Φīwerjon- and means something like "lush land".

The classic Latin name was Hibernia , older Ivernia (a Latinized form of the Greek name Ierne , derived from the ancient geographer Claudius Ptolemy ). This suggests an archetype * Īwenjū . In addition, the Romans named either an area in the north-east of Ireland or the entire island of Scotia . This name passed to the north of Great Britain in the Middle Ages and has been used since then to describe today's Scotland . In addition, the term Britannia minor came before, so "Little Britain " in German (see map by Didier Robert de Vaugondy from 1750).

Ireland is also known as the "Green Island".


Coastal mountains surround central plains. The Carrauntuohill in County Kerry is with 1041 meters the highest mountain. The Shannon divides the island into two parts that are not equally large and is the longest river with around 370 km, of which almost 250 km are navigable .

Flora and fauna

Ireland is generally less biodiverse than mainland Europe or the neighboring island of Great Britain . This is mainly because Ireland was isolated due to the relatively rapid rise in sea levels after the Ice Age. Of the only 31 mammals native to Ireland , some such as the badger , red fox or hedgehog are very common, while others such as the red deer can only be found in national parks. In the past, the wolf , the giant deer , also called "Irish elk" in English due to the abundance of finds in Ireland, and the giant aalk belonged to the animal world. There are no snakes in Ireland and only one native species of reptile, the forest lizard .

In addition, there are no longer any large natural forests in Ireland , as they were largely cleared in the 17th century due to the destructive policies of Oliver Cromwell . The wood requirements of shipyards, glassworks and metal smelters ensured that in 1901 only one percent of the island was covered with forest. In 1997, thanks to EU funding, it was already five percent. The conifers of the conifer family were reforested , as they are supposed to provide most of the food for the bird species native to Ireland. In 2002, ten percent of the country's area was already forested and used for forestry. The Irish government plans to increase this to 17 percent by 2030.

See also

Web links

Commons : Ireland (island)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bernhard Maier : The legend book of the Welsh Celts . The four branches of the Mabinogi . dtv Munich, April 1999, ISBN 3-423-12628-0 , p. 132, note 37,17.