Ireland. No other country on earth is as famous or well known for the lush greenness of its landscape - whether viewed from outer space or the kitchen window of an Irish country cottage.

So what’s the science behind the greenness of Ireland? First of all, it’s not solely a question of latitude; many other countries sit roughly the same distance north of the equator as Ireland but they’re not nearly as green. Newfoundland and Poland sit roughly the same latitude north but both are often capped with snow and ice whilst Ireland remains resolutely green the whole year round.

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The Clare coast at sunset

The Clare coast at sunset

Gulf stream

The reason for that is that Ireland sits slap bang in the middle of the Gulf Stream, which brings warming water from Mexico to Ireland’s shores. That’s why snow in Ireland is rare and the temperature usually so mild, if not exactly warm.

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With the Gulf Stream also come plenty of water - hence the heavy rainfall. Average rainfall varies from coast to coast with the east of Ireland being much drier than the west; in Dublin the average number of rainy days a year is 128 a year, by contrast, Belmullet in Mayo is the wettest and has 193. Communities on the west coast are the first to get drenched and by the time the rain reaches Dublin it has often petered out.

Glendalough in Wicklow - also resplendent in green.

Glendalough in Wicklow - also resplendent in green.

Naturally, the more rain there is, the lusher the grass grows. Hence why they call Ireland the Emerald Isle.

Though of course, there's more to that story, too

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H/T: Live Science