Ireland, the third largest island off the northwest coast of continental Europe: its geography, climate, economy, flora.
Ireland lies to the west of Great Britain, from which it is separated by St George’s Channel, the Irish Sea and the North Channel; it is bounded on the north, west and south by the Atlantic Ocean.
It consists of a central lowland, with highlands to the north and to the south; it has a deeply indented coastline, especially in the west, fringed by numerous islands. The several groups of mountains in the north and the south are of no great height; the highest mountain is Carrauntoohil (1,038 meters/3,406 feet), located in southwestern Ireland, near Killarney, in the Killarney region. In proportion to the size of the island of Ireland, there is a huge amount of rivers. The longest one is the River Shannon (386 kilometers/240 miles), which rises in the north, flows southwards receiving several tributaries and forming three lakes: Lough Allen, Lough Fee and Lough Derg; after forming a long broad estuary, it falls into the Atlantic Ocean on the southwest coast; it is navigable for nearly 200 miles/321 kilometers. Other important rivers are the Bann in the north and the Barrow in the south, both 150 miles/241 kilometers long.
Ireland is notable for its numerous and beautiful lakes, the largest is Lough Neagh (150 square miles/388 km), formed by the river Bann, which is also the largest lake of the British Isles. Particularly famous for their beauty are the lakes of Killarney, in the southwest of the island.
The Irish coast is indented by deep gulfs and estuaries, protected by jutting promontories; several seaports are situated at the end of these deep inlets. The most important of which are: Dublin, Belfast, Londonderry, Limerick, Cork, Waterford.
Ireland is is surrounded by hundreds of islands and islets: the Aran Islands, the Blasket Islands, Achill, Clare Island.
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