I R E L A N D :
Ireland is small enough to be visited in its entirety within a couple of weeks, in which time you cannot see everything worthwhile of course - but you will gather an impression of something new, strange and beautiful in the make-up of land and people.
Ireland is an island of 84,288 sq km (32,544 square miles). Its greatest length is; 485 km (302 miles), its greatest width is 304 km ( 189 miles), and its coastline extends for over 5,631 km (3,500 miles). The highest mountain is Carrantuohill (1,040 metres/3'414 feet), near Killarney In County Kerry. The longest river is the Shannon (370 km/230 miles, including estuary) which opens at the sea in county Limerick. The largest lake is Lough Neagh (396 ssq km/153 ss.quare miles) in the north which boarders counties Armagh, Down, Antrim, Derry and Tyrone. The country is divided into the four historic provinces of Ulster (9 counties) in the north; Munster (6 counties) in the south; Leinster (12 counties) in the east; and Connacht (5 counties) in the west. The population of the 32 counties of Ireland is approximately 5 million.
Among Ireland's natural advantages is 3,500 miles of coastline, so indented that you are never more than 70 miles from the sea. From most inland towns you can take a day trip to the coast, where you can enjoy the long, gently sloping beaches of the east and south-east, or head west to the rugged Atlantic coast, where the sea has a straight run of over 2,000 miles to America.
Add to this the 800 lakes and rivers that are a delight of inland Ireland. You might, for instance, travel the 84 miles from Mullingar in County Westmeath to Sligo Town in County Sligo and hardly lose sight of them. This alternation of land and water gives journeys in Ireland a fascinationg variety.
Another Great advantage arises from an aspect of Ireland's economic history which proved a blessing in disguise, for here is a country that has not been over-industrialised. The scenery is never marred by heavy industry and the rivers and lakes still run mainly pure.
A visit to this land is a sedative - because of the beautiful landscape and the relaxed way of life.
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