INTRODUCTION

The position of Ireland at the North west corner of Europe dictates many of its features, particularly climate. The island of Ireland is roughly rectangular in shape with a maximum length of 486 km from Malin Head in the north to Mizen Head in the south and a maximum width of 275 km. White Park Bay Co. AntrimQuartzite mountains in Donegal, Mayo and Galway extend for more than 100 km to Wicklow and Blackstairs and into the south west from Dublin Bay. Younger mountains extend from Europe through Brittany to southern Ireland where they appear as east/west sandstone ridges separated by limestone or shale floors. In Northern Ireland basaltic lavas spread widely over existing rocks during the Eocene period. This resulted in large areas of acidic clay soils which drain poorly. Much of Ireland was covered by ice during the Pleistocene period. This ice sheet finally melted about 12,000 years ago leaving a depauperate flora and fauna compared to the rest of the British Isles.

Climate

The relatively warm waters of the North Atlantic Drift ensure that there is a very small seasonal temperature range (8 deg C in the extreme south west and 11 deg C in Dublin). Rainfall is heaviest on western slopes where it may exceed 3,000 mm in Kerry, Mayo and Donegal with the east being drier eg. 785 mm in Dublin. The main characteristic of the weather is the changeability with Atlantic fronts sweeping in from the west. The combination of year round rainfall and moderate temperatures provide good growing conditions for plants and leads to the epithet 'Emerald Isle' often applied to Ireland.Rathlin Island Sea Stacks

Since Ireland is my home base material will be added to these pages on a continual basis.