The island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean • Earth.com

The island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean

Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features Ireland and the coasts of Scotland, Wales, and England along the North Atlantic Ocean.

“The image is from January 2024 and was captured on a relatively clear winter day. Ireland enjoys a mild climate, owing to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean (to the left) and the presence of the Gulf Stream. South-westerly winds from the Atlantic tend to bring a lot of rain in the northwest, west and southwest of the country,” said ESA.

“The extensive grasslands that cover most of the country, washed by abundant rainfall all year, create the typical emerald-green landscape, hence it being known as the Emerald Isle. Brown rugged cliffs along the west coast frame the island’s green interior, speckled by hundreds of lakes, visible as dark spots in the image.”

Ireland is divided into two distinct jurisdictions: the Republic of Ireland, which occupies most of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. 

Ireland is the third-largest island in Europe, featuring a varied landscape of rolling hills, extensive plains, and rugged coastlines. Its highest peak is Carrauntoohil, part of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range in County Kerry. 

The island is encircled by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George’s Channel to the southeast, and the Irish Sea to the east.

Ireland’s history is marked by Viking invasions, Norman conquests, and centuries of English rule, culminating in a struggle for independence in the early 20th century. 

The Republic of Ireland gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1922, following the Irish War of Independence. Northern Ireland, however, remained a part of the UK, leading to ongoing sectarian and political tensions, notably the “Troubles” in the late 20th century.

Irish culture is known worldwide for its literature, music, dance, and folklore. Notable literary figures include James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, and Samuel Beckett. 

The country’s cultural heritage is celebrated on St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s national holiday, observed globally with parades and festivities.

Image Credit: ESA/ Copernicus Sentinel-3 

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