Counties of the Republic of Ireland

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The Republic of Ireland has 26 counties. They are in essence a part of the system of counties which had been developed across the British Isles by the Middle Ages, and which are the oldest extant national divisions in the world.

Where a distinction has to be made with statutory "counties" so called for administrative purposes, the counties are variously known as historic counties, traditional counties or ancient or geographical counties[1].

All of the Irish counties have an existence stretching back to the Middle Ages. They have no administrative function, existing as geographical and cultural areas. In this time many activities many activities and much social understanding and local identity has grown up intertwined with the counties, and so they have become a vital part of Irish culture.

From the Middle Ages up to today, administrative functions have been carried on using the counties' boundaries or approximations to them, and so centuries of public records have been organised county by county, for which reason an understanding of the counties is vital for genealogical and historic research.

List of the counties

The following table lists the proper name of each county along with its area (in square miles), population, population density (in persons/square mile), the province in which it is located and a selection of its principal towns. County towns are listed first and cities are shown in bold.

Name Area Population Density Province Principal towns in the county
County Carlow 346 54,612 157.84 Leinster Carlow, Bagenalstown
County Cavan 746 73,183 98.10 Ulster Cavan, Bailieborough, Virginia
County Clare 1,330 117,196 88.12 Munster Ennis, Kilkee, Kilrush, Shannon
County Cork 2,895 518,128 178.97 Munster Cork, Kinsale, Skibbereen, Youghal
County Donegal 1,869 161,137 86.22 Ulster Donegal, Lifford, Ballyshannon, Buncrana, Bundoran, Letterkenny
County Dublin 356 1,270,603 3,569.11 Leinster Dublin, Dún Laoghaire, Swords, Tallaght
County Galway 2,374 250,541 105.54 Connaught Galway, Ballinasloe (part), Loughrea, Tuam, Mountshannon
County Kerry 1,832 145,502 79.42 Munster Tralee, Killarney, Listowel
County Kildare 654 210,312 321.58 Leinster Naas, Athy, Kildare, Leixlip, Newbridge
County Kilkenny 800 95,419 119.27 Leinster Kilkenny, Urlingford
County Laois 660 80,559 122.06 Leinster Portlaoise, Mountmellick
County Leitrim 613 31,798 51.87 Connaught Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim
County Limerick 1,064 191,809 180.27 Munster Limerick
County Longford 421 39,000 92.64 Leinster Longford
County Louth 319 122,897 385.26 Leinster Dundalk (part), Ardee, Drogheda
County Mayo 2,157 130,638 60.56 Connaught Castlebar, Ballina (part), Westport, Ballaghaderreen
Meath 904 184,135 203.69 Leinster Navan, Kells, Trim
County Monaghan 500 60,483 120.97 Ulster Monaghan, Ballybay, Carrickmacross, Castleblayney, Clones
County Offaly 800 76,687 95.86 Leinster Tullamore, Daingean, Birr, Edenderry
County Roscommon 983 64,065 65.17 Connaught Roscommon, Athlone, Boyle
County Sligo 709 65,393 92.23 Connaught Sligo
County Tipperary 1,661 158,754 95.58 Munster Clonmel, Carrick-on-Suir (part), Cashel, Nenagh, Templemore, Thurles, Tipperary
County Waterford 717 113,795 158.71 Munster Waterford (part), Dungarvan, Lismore, Tramore
Westmeath 710 86,164 121.36 Leinster Mullingar, Athlone
County Wexford 909 145,320 159.87 Leinster Wexford, Enniscorthy, Gorey, New Ross (part)
County Wicklow 781 136,448 174.71 Leinster Wicklow, Arklow, Bray (part), Greystones

See also

Outside links


  1. Census Report, 1891 (General Register Office)