Air pollution in Letterkenny in Co Donegal climbed higher than levels in many parts of New Delhi in India last week, according to information from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Professor John Wenger from the centre for research in the Department of Atmospheric Chemistry at University College Cork says it is down to burning solid fuels.
"I've been looking at figured from the EPA for the last few years and it's the highest I've seen," Prof Wenger said. "It is quite extraordinary.
"Although, it comes as no surprise in some ways because we have been monitoring air pollution in small towns," he said, adding that the pollution levels spike in winter months "because of solid fuel burning".
"It really is home fires which are causing the pollution, combined with cold, still winter nights that really create perfect conditions really for air pollution."