Ireland seen from STS-59, Endeavour: 4-17-94 (NASA STS059-L13-5)
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, we look down on west central Ireland from the flight deck of shuttle Endeavour, STS-59, the Space Radar Lab 1 mission. In this 90mm lens, Linhoff camera image taken from 113 nautical miles up, we see the coast of west central Ireland. North is to the upper left. Galway Bay is the straight-edged bay at left center, with the Aran Islands at its mouth. North of Galway Bay is the curved shoreline of Lough Corrib. Lough Mask is just to the north, shaped like a snowboard. At bottom center in this image is the valley of the Shannon River, and at right center, the forked southwestern end of Lough Derg. Lough Ree is at upper right.
The peninsula at the center left is Connemara. The north coast of Ireland is at upper left. The city of Galway is visible at northern, inland edge of Galway Bay. Limerick is seen as a gray patch at the upstream end of the Shannon River estuary. Shannon Airport is nestled on the north bank of the Shannon River, on the peninsula just left of bottom center.
If you look carefully, you can just see a four-leaf clover.
NASA Image Caption: STS059-L13-005 West-Central Ireland April 1994
The west-central region of Ireland is presented in this low-oblique, north-looking photograph. Numerous lakes are scattered across the landscape as reminders of the continental glaciers that once covered the entire region. Glaciation resulted in much of Ireland having thin soil that will not support significant vegetation growth despite 40 to 80 inches (100 to 200 centimeters) of annual precipitation. The western coastal area is classified as humid temperate with cool summers and no specific dry season. The higher elevations of 1000 to 2000 feet (300 to 600 meters) usually appear tan or light brown, which indicates a lack of forested vegetation. Pastoralism is the dominant agricultural pursuit in west-central Ireland. This photograph shows a representative section of the west coast of Ireland, which contains peninsulas, bays, and islands. Viewing clockwise from north of Galway Bay are several large lakes—Corrib and Mask immediately north of the bay, Ree to the northeast, and elongated Derg south of Ree. Several cities are barely visible—Galway at the northeast end of Galway Bay and, to the south, Shannon on the north bank of the Shannon River; and Limerick on the south bank of the Shannon River.