Irish Sea

The Irish Sea begins on the edges of the North Channel and St. George's Channel and separates the island of Great Britain, UK, from the island of Ireland. 

Where Is The Irish Sea?

Irish Sea map
Irish Sea Map

Also known as the Manx Sea, the Irish Sea is about 210km long and 240km wide. The Sea’s deepest point is 175m deep at the Mull of Galloway, situated near its confluence with the North Channel.

The Irish Sea is bordered to the north by Scotland; to the east by England; to the west by Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and to the southeast by Wales. It is connected to the North Atlantic Ocean by the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland. To the south, the St. George’s Channel and the Celtic Sea link the Irish Sea to the North Atlantic Ocean.

Islands In The Irish Sea

Isle of Man
Isle of Man in the Irish Sea.

The Irish Sea is home to many islands of various sizes. Some of the major ones are Anglesey, Isle of Man, Holy Island, Walney Island, Lambay Island, Bull Island, Ramsey Island, Bardsey Island, Calf of Man, Piel Island, Ynys Gored Goch, Barrow Island, Roa Island, Ynys Gaint, and Ynys Castell. Situated off the north-western coast of Wales is Anglesey – the largest island in the Irish Sea. Located in the center of the northern part of the Irish Sea is The Isle of Man – the second largest island in the Irish Sea.

Marine Life

The Irish Sea supports a variety of marine species. It is rich in many species of sea anemones, sea urchins, sea-pen, brittle stars, starfish, bryozoans, and bivalves (cockles, mussels, and scallops), mud shrimps, hermit crabs, ocean quahog, jellyfish, flatfish, cuttlefish, wrasse, cod, flatfish and the commercially important Dublin Bay prawn (scampi). The estuaries of the Irish Sea serve as critical breeding grounds for many species of seabirds. Other marine animals like the octopus, different species of seals (harbor seal, grey seal, and the common seal), basking sharks, and leatherback turtle are also found in the Irish Sea.

Important Coastal Settlements

The notable cities and towns that are situated along the Irish Sea coast include Dublin, Liverpool, Belfast, Blackpool, Southport, Birkenhead, Bangor, Wallasey, Barrow-in-Furness, Crosby, Lytham St Annes, Drogheda, Dundalk, Morecambe, Bray, Colwyn Bay, Thornton-Cleveleys, Douglas, Carrickfergus, Douglas, Dún Laoghaire, Fleetwood, Workington, Rhyl, Whitehaven, Llandudno, Wexford, Larne, Arklow, Aberystwyth, and Holyhead.

Economy

Oil tanker in the Irish Sea
Oil tanker in the Irish Sea.

The Irish Sea is economically important for shipping, marine transport, regional trade, fishing, and also for the generation of power from wind and nuclear power plants. It has been estimated that more than 12 million passengers and 17 million tons of goods are ferried annually between Ireland and Great Britain across the Irish Sea. The Port of Liverpool is the largest British port that is located on the eastern shore of the Irish Sea.

windmills on the irish sea
Windmills on the Irish Sea.

It handles about 32 million tons of cargo and more than 734,000 passengers annually. Dublin handles the major portion of the cargo trade of the Republic of Ireland. Fleetwood is a major British fishing port while, Kilkeel, Portavogie, and Ardglass serve as important fishing ports in Northern Ireland. Mornington, Skerries, Howth, and Dun Laoghaire are the major fishing ports in the Republic of Ireland. 

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