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51. County Meath • Republic of Ireland

We have selected 100 unique places on Earth that are projected to undergo profound changes within the next few generations. We based our selection of the 100 places on the 4th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Simply by drawing attention to the beauty of these places, 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear creates an argument to preserve them. The 100 Places we have chosen to highlight, and the people who live in them, are in serious danger because of rising sea levels, rising temperatures and extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Among ambassadors are Joss Stone, Desmund Tutu for more info visit The Royal County of Earth Apples and Green Pastures Since early times, County Meath often informally referred to as the Royal County but actually meaning the county in the middle has played a central role in Irish history, with some of its burial sites dating as far back as 3,500 BC. From the 8th century AD, the High King of Ireland often hailed from the Kingdom of Mide, as it was called at the time. The largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, Trim, was built here in 1176. Blessed with fertile land and a strong farming tradition, Meath is Irelands leading producer of potatoes, or earth apples as they are sometimes called. The potato has strong historical associations with Ireland. When it was first brought to Europe from South America in the 1600s, it quickly became a staple food of the Irish. On average, a male farm worker would consume 6-7 kg of potatoes a day. In 1845 and the years that followed, Ireland was hit by a potato blight that resulted in widespread famine. In one year, two-thirds of the potato crop was lost and 1.5 million people died of starvation or famine-related diseases between 1846 and 1851. In the same period, more than a million people emigrated to the USA and many others left for Britain, Canada and Australia. Today, the 4.4 million inhabitants of the Republic of Ireland consume an average of 87.5 kg of potatoes per person per year. Over the next 45-65 years, average summer temperatures in Ireland are projected to rise by 2.5-3.5°C, and rainfall during summer and autumn to fall by 25% as a consequence of global climate change. In some eastern parts, including County Meath, rainfall could decrease by over 40%. Such a change in climate would result in droughts that could put an end to the potato as a commercially viable crop for most of Ireland, especially the east.
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