Where Can You Find the Emerald Isle?

Quck answer

The Emerald Isle refers to Ireland, a country located in Western Europe. It is known for its lush green landscapes, hence the nickname. Ireland is an island that is situated to the northwest of mainland Europe, separated by the Irish Sea. It is divided into two countries: Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which is an independent nation. Ireland is famous for its rich history, Celtic culture, literature, music, and stunning natural beauty. It attracts tourists from all over the world who come to explore its charming cities, ancient ruins, and breathtaking countryside.


“When Erin initially emerged from the dark swelling flood,
God blessed the verdant island and saw it was good;
The jewel of Europe, it shimmered and glowed,
In the circle of the world, the most valuable stone.”

These famous opening lines are from the classic poem “When Erin First Rose” by Irish poet William Drennan. But what was he referring to? What is this green island that is considered the emerald of Europe? He was talking about his homeland, of course: Ireland!

Ireland has always been known as the Emerald Isle. Drennan’s poem was the first time this nickname was used in writing to describe Ireland, but it’s easy to understand why it has stuck with the island for so long.

Ireland is renowned for its lush, rolling green hills. However, most of Ireland’s greenery does not come in the form of forests. The majority of its trees were cleared during extensive efforts in the 1600s. Today, the two least-forested countries in Europe are Iceland and Ireland.

Despite the lack of forests, Ireland boasts landscapes covered in abundant vegetation. This vegetation is primarily dense green grass. Given its location, Ireland’s green landscapes might not be expected.

Situated in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain, Ireland is at a similar latitude to Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. However, instead of a cold, snowy climate, Ireland enjoys a mild oceanic climate, thanks to the North Atlantic Drift, an ocean current that carries warm Gulf Stream waters north towards Ireland.

The average temperature in Ireland in January is a mild 45ยบ F. Ireland also experiences cool, mild summers. These moderate temperatures, combined with ample rainfall, create ideal conditions for Ireland’s lush, green landscapes. The average annual precipitation around the capital city, Dublin, is about 31 inches. Along the west coast, rainfall can exceed 120 inches per year.

In addition to earning Ireland its “Emerald Isle” nickname, the thriving green grasses that flourish in Ireland’s mild climate make it an ideal place for raising sheep and cattle. Agriculture remains a major industry in Ireland. In fact, the island is home to 8 million sheep and 7 million cows, outnumbering its human population of 4.5 million!

Give It a Go

We hope you enjoyed discovering more about the Emerald Isle! Continue your exploration of Ireland by engaging in the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • Did you know that Ireland was first called an emerald in a poem called “When Erin First Rose” by William Drennan? Take a look at the full poem online and share it with someone. Does it make you want to visit Ireland? Why or why not?
  • Have you ever wondered if Ireland is really as green as they say? NASA has released a satellite photo of Ireland from space. Take a look and decide for yourself if it deserves the nickname “Emerald Isle.” Why or why not?
  • Looking for a challenge? How about researching a nickname for a place near where you live? Many places have special nicknames based on their physical geography. Ask a teacher or parent for help if you need it, then do some research to find out how and why your chosen location got its nickname. Share your findings with friends and family. Can they guess the reason behind the nickname before you tell them?

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