Cruising in Ireland


Celtic tribes arrived on the island between 600-150 B.C. Invasions by Norsemen that began in the late 8th century were finally ended when King Brian BORU defeated the Danes in 1014. English invasions began in the 12th century and set off more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by fierce rebellions and harsh repressions.

A failed 1916 Easter Monday Rebellion touched off several years of guerrilla warfare that in 1921 resulted in independence from the UK for 26 southern counties; six northern (Ulster) counties remained part of the UK. In 1948 Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth; it joined the European Community in 1973.

Irish governments have sought the peaceful unification of Ireland and have cooperated with Britain against terrorist groups. A peace settlement for Northern Ireland, known as the Good Friday Agreement and approved in 1998, is being implemented with some difficulties.


Location: Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain
Geographic coordinates: 53 00 N, 8 00 W
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 70,280 sq km
Land: 68,890 sq km
Water: 1,390 sq km
Land boundaries: total: 360 km


1,448 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


Temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time


Mostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m


Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging a robust 7% in 1995-2004. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry and services. Industry accounts for 46% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and 29% of the labor force. Although exports remain the primary engine for Ireland's growth, the economy has also benefited from a rise in consumer spending, construction, and business investment.

Per capita GDP is 10% above that of the four big European economies and the second highest in the EU behind Luxembourg. Over the past decade, the Irish Government has implemented a series of national economic programs designed to curb price and wage inflation, reduce government spending, increase labor force skills, and promote foreign investment. Ireland joined in circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU nations.


Airports: 36 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 15
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 21
Pipelines: gas 1,795 km (2004)
Railways: total: 3,312 km
Roadways: total: 95,736 km


753 km (pleasure craft only) (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 33
By type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 22, chemical tanker 2, container 1, passenger/cargo 3, roll on/roll off 2
Foreign-owned: 10 (Germany 3, Italy 2, Norway 1, Spain 1, Switzerland 1, UK 1, US 1)
Registered in other countries: 21 (The Bahamas 2, Bermuda 1, Gibraltar 1, Netherlands 13, Panama 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, UK 1) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Cork, Dublin, New Ross, Shannon Foynes, Waterford


Ireland, Iceland, and the UK dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Arctic Ocean - Bermuda - Spain and Canary Islands - Cape Verde Islands - Faeroes Islands - France - Greenland - Iceland - Ireland - Portugal, the Azores and Madeira - United Kingdom

Further Reading

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