The island of Ireland lies to the north-west of continental Europe and covers an area of approximately 32,595 sq miles. It is the third largest island in Europe and is also Europe’s most westerly point. It has a surprisingly mild climate given its latitude of between 52° and 55° north, the same latitude as British Columbia for instance. This is due to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream and sub-tropical plants can be grown in the extreme south-west of the country. The geography of the country is best described as a central plain surrounded by mountains, the highest which is Carauntouhill in Kerry which stands at 3,415 feet. The mild winters, and summers that are never too hot, combined with the amount of rain that falls means the country is lush and green. The average number of wet days, days where the rainfall is more than 1mm, is 150 for the east of the country and 225 for the west. Ireland is divided into the Republic of Ireland, which covers about four-fifths of the country, and Northern Ireland which covers the remainder. Northern Ireland is part of the UK.