Sequence data from salmonid alphavirus (SAV) strains obtained from farmed marine Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L. , over a 20-year period between 1991 and 2011 was reviewed to examine the geographical distribution of the genetically defined SAV subtypes in twelve regions across Ireland and Scotland. Of 160 different Atlantic salmon SAV strains examined, 62 belonged to subtype 1, 28 to subtype 2, 34 to subtype 4, 35 to subtype 5 and 1 to subtype 6. SAV subtypes 1, 4 and 6 were found in Ireland, while subtypes 1, 2, 4 and 5 were found in Scotland. In the majority of regions, there was a clear clustering of subtypes, with SAV subtype 1 being the dominant subtype in Ireland overall, as well as in Argyll and Bute in Scotland. SAV subtype 2 predominated in the Shetland and Orkney Islands. The emergence in Atlantic salmon of subtype 2 strains typically associated with sleeping disease in rainbow trout in Argyll and Bute, strongly suggesting transmission of infection between these species, was noted for the first time. SAV subtype 4 was the most common subtype found in the southern Western Isles, while SAV subtype 5 predominated in the northern Western Isles and north-west mainland Scotland. No single strain was dominant on sites in the western Highlands, with a number of sites in this region in particular having more than one subtype detected in different submissions. The significance of these results in relation to aspects of the epidemiology of infection, including transmission, biosecurity and wildlife reservoirs are discussed and knowledge gaps identified.