Posted on March 22 2011
As the third largest island in Europe, Ireland is actually surrounded by hundreds of other islands. Comprising over 68,800 square kilometers, the country sports a variety of geographic features, from coastline that falls below sea level to low-lying mountains surrounding a large central plain. The majority of the island sits at sea level, or an elevation of 0 meters.
The highest point of elevation in Ireland is Carrantuohill , which is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range. Carrantuohil (also known as Carrauntoohil) rises 1038 meters above sea level (3,406 feet). Beenkeragh (1,010 meters) and Caher (1,001 meters) are the other two high peeks in the range.
County Down in Northern Ireland holds the lowest point on the island. Located thirty-three kilometers south of Belfast is the town of Downpatrick. Surrounding the northeast section of Downpatrick is a marsh which has a recorded elevation of negative .04 meters or 1.3 feet below sea level.
It is no wonder that the island sits mostly at sea level. A glance at a map of Ireland quickly reveals there are 1,448 kilometers of coastline. With the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Irish Sea separating the island from Great Britain to the east, much of the country borders ocean or is near the nearly 1400 square meters of rivers, lakes, and other waterways in the interior. A vast majority of the coastline is at or slightly above sea level as are the areas surrounding most of the island’s other bodies of water.
More than 40 percent of Ireland’s population is centered around the city of Dublin, which has an elevation of 85 meters (279 feet). This coastal city is located in eastern Ireland, at the mouth of the Liffey river. There are some low mountains to the south of city, but they only rise to around 450 meters (1475 feet). Most of the area is near sea level.