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Eire, Erin, Ireland, Ulster, the Esmerald Isle, Northern Ireland, the Irish State, Free Ireland, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If you are not Irish or British, all these names can be confusing. The island of Ireland is also called the Esmerald Isle, because of its beautiful green countryside. The poetic name for the island is Erin. Gaelic is the original language of Ireland and the Gaelic name for Ireland is Eire.


Ireland (Éire) is located in far Western Europe, in the North Atlantic Ocean, and separated from Great Britain by Saint George's Channel on the south-east, the Irish Sea on the east, and the North Channel on the north-east. Politically, the island is divided into Northern Ireland, a constituent part of Great Britain, and the Republic of Ireland, formerly Eire. The island is divided into four historical provinces - Connaught (Connacht), Leinster, Munster, and Ulster - and administrative units called counties. The Republic of Ireland consists of Connaught, Leinster, and Munster provinces, totaling 23 counties, and in the north, 3 counties of Ulster Province. Northern Ireland consists of 26 districts, the remainder of Ulster Province. The area of the island is 84,431 sq km (32,599 sq mi) (Republic of Ireland, 70,283 sq km/27,136 sq mi; Northern Ireland, 14,148 sq km/5463 sq mi).

In a northern and southern direction, the maximum length of Ireland is 486 km (302 mi); its extreme width is 280 km (174 mi). Malin Head, at latitude 55º 27' north, and Mizen Head, at latitude 51º 27' north, are, respectively, the northernmost and southernmost points on the island; easternmost and westernmost points are demarcated by longitude 5º 25' west and longitude 10º 30' west.