Ireland is an island in northwest Europe in the north Atlantic Ocean whose main geographical features include low central plains surrounded by a ring of coastal mountains. The highest peak is Carrauntoohil (Irish: Corrán Tuathail), which is 1,041 metres (3,415 ft) above sea level. The western coastline is rugged, with many islands, peninsulas, headlands and bays. The island is bisected by the River Shannon, which at 360.5 km (224 mi) with a 102.1 km (63 mi) estuary is the longest river in Ireland and flows south from County Cavan in Ulster to meet the Atlantic just south of Limerick. There are a number of sizeable lakes along Ireland's rivers, of which Lough Neagh is the largest.
Politically, the island consists of the Republic of Ireland, with jurisdiction over about five-sixths of the island; and Northern Ireland, a constituent country (and an unconfirmed "practical" exclave) of the United Kingdom, with jurisdiction over the remaining sixth. Located west of the island of Great Britain, it is located at approximately 53°N 8°W? / ?53°N 8°W? / 53; -8Coordinates: 53°N 8°W? / ?53°N 8°W? / 53; -8. It has a total area of 84,421 km (32,595 sq mi). It is separated from Great Britain by the Irish Sea and from mainland Europe by the Celtic Sea.
Ireland and Great Britain, together with nearby islands, are known collectively as the British Isles; as the term British Isles is controversial in relation to Ireland, the alternative term Britain and Ireland is increasingly preferred.
Many of the Irish dislike the 'British' in 'British Isles', while the Welsh and Scottish are not keen on 'Great Britain'. … In response to these difficulties, 'Britain and Ireland' is becoming preferred usage although there is a growing trend amounts some critics to refer to Britain and Ireland as 'the archipelago'.
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