Ireland provides a unique setting for the study of past climates, as its climate is dominated by westerly airflow from the North Atlantic and readily responsive to changes in North Atlantic circulation patterns. Although there has been substantial research on Ireland's past environments, quantitative palaeolimnological research, especially chironomid-based research, has been lacking. In order to further develop chironomid-based palaeolimnological investigations, a calibration set was constructed to determine the dominant environmental controls on modern chironomids in western Ireland. Chironomid subfossils were collected from surface sediments of 50 lakes. The lakes were characterised with 36 environmental variables, including physical attributes, lake water characteristics, lake sediment characteristics and land cover within each catchment. In this exploratory study, no specific environmental variable was targeted and lakes were chosen to span gradients of latitude, elevation, depth and trophic status. Redundancy analysis showed that six environmental variables-mean July air temperature, lake depth, dissolved organic carbon, and percentage catchment land cover of agriculture, peat bog and scrubland-captured a large and statistically significant portion of the variance in the chironomid data. July temperature and agricultural land cover were the most dominant environmental variables, with July temperature proving the most suitable for inference model development. A classical weighted-averaging model was developed to estimate July air temperature, with a coefficient of determination (r (jack) (2) ) of 0.60 and root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) of 0.57 A degrees C. Results suggest that summer temperature is the dominant influence on chironomid distribution across a wide variety of lake types, and the relatively small RMSEP should allow for more accurate reconstructions of Ireland's relatively subdued Holocene temperature fluctuations.