Ireland is a beautiful country, with a population of under eight million people in such a large territory it means that outside the relatively small cities there is plenty of countryside that is free from crowds. The terrain is dominated by a long coastline of nearly two thousand miles, and the interior consists of low-lying mountains that surround a large central plain.
There is roughly ten percent woodland in Ireland with the rest covered by lush vegetation and grassland. That is why it has been called the Emerald Isle by many poets and writers. There are six national parks in Ireland that are:
- Wicklow Mountains
- The Burren
All these national parks abide by the conditions laid down by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Wicklow Mountains National Park
The Wicklow Mountains is a highly popular park attracting a million visitors a year. Located just south of Dublin it covers an expansive twenty thousand hectares of mostly mountain terrain, which is ideal for walkers, climbers and ramblers. Notable areas of interest include Liffey Head Bog, and the beautiful woodland of Glendalough. There are many lakes and streams that dominate the landscape also.
Burren National Park
Burren is a Gaelic word that translates into rocky place, and this national park in the southeast corner of the country is exactly that. There is much to see regarding flora during the summer months in Burren with Mediterranean plants living side by side with Arctic ones and the mixture of colors is superb.
Killarney National Park
The center of Killarney National Park is the magnificent Muckross Estate and gardens. The highly impressive 19th Century mansion contains some important furnishings and art and the estate is managed jointly by the Trustees of the house and the Park Authorities.The rest of the park is full of native yew and oakwoods with an abundance of other shrubs and evergreen trees which provide a highly satisfying landscape.
Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh is remote and stunningly beautiful and that is its main attraction. There are unlimited places to explore and to have an adventure of a lifetime. The sixteen thousand hectares of landscape include the Poisoned Glen, and the Derryveagh Mountains and there are numerous walking trails to enjoy as well as Glenveagh Castle and its superb gardens.
Connemara National Park
The fast-flat plains of Connemara National Park seem to stretch as far as the eyes can see, until its meets the mountains in the distance. The landscape offers great walks around bogs, grasslands, forests, and heaths and contains a myriad of plants and flora to enjoy.
Ballycroy National Park
A great proportion of this park is covered in impassable bogs, which gives the landscape a wild a desolate feeling to it. Located on the Western Seaboard of Ireland on the coast of County Mayo this national park gives the visitor tranquil isolation. Most people elect to walk the scenic looped trail that takes in the Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park Visitor Center. These six national parks feature the very best of the national landscape of Ireland, and when you next visit the Emerald Isle why not pick one of these exciting places to explore and enjoy.