Ireland has traditionally been divided into four provinces or regional territorial divisions. These four Provinces provide a construct for how Ireland has been traditionally viewed. The terms provinces, however, is a foreign word. The Irish-language word for these territorial division is "cúige" (meaning "fifth part"). This reveals that their was once five provinces. The fifth province was Meath (now a part of Leinster). The four provinces are divided into 26 countirs. The provinces and countries are as follows. The Republic of Ireland is composed of Connacht, Leinster, and Munster. Connacht in the northwest is composed of Galway (Galway City), Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo. Leinster in the east is composed of Carlow, Dublin (Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, South Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, and Wicklow. Munster in the southwest is composed of Clare, Cork (Cork City), Kerry, Limerick (Limerick City), Tipperary (North Tipperary and South Tipperary), and Waterford (Waterford City). British Northern Ireland is basically composed of the fourty povince--Ulster. Ulster is composed of Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan, Antrim. Armagh. Down. Fermanagh. Londonderry. and Tyrone. The Republic of Ireland since European Union (EU) admission is now divided into two EU regions. 1) Southern and Eastern Ireland, including Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Waterford. 2) Border, Midland and Western Ireland, including Galway City.
Connacht in the northwest is composed of Galway (Galway City), Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo. With onky these only five counties Connacht is the smallest of the four provinces. Some of Irekand's dramatic wild landscapehe are located in Connacht. Shannon rises in Connacht, flowing south into the interior of Ireland. Kylemore Abbey and Croagh Patrick are imprtant attractions.
In the European Dark Ages, Connacht was composed of independent Gaelic kingdoms (Lúighne, Uí Maine, and Iar Connacht). They were disrupted by oinslught of the Norsemn, but over time Connacht rulers expanded their kinddoms.
The Kingdom of Connacht collapsed becuse of civil war dividinhg the royal family (1230s). This was a disaster for Ireland. It created a power vacuum which facilitated the spread of English (Norman) power into Ireland for the first time (13th century).
Richard Mór de Burgh, 1st Baron of Connaught, and his successors alloweed extensive Hiberno-Norman settlement creating a Norman colony in Connacht. It then declined !4th century). There were a upsurge of violence, including ther Battle of Ahascragh (1307), Second Battle of Athenry (1316) and the murder of William Donn de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster (1333). The result was a Gaelic resurgence and flight from the countryside to towns (Ballinrobe, Loughrea, Athenry, and Galway). as a result for three centuries Well, Gaelic kingoms reasserted control (Uí Maine and Tír Fhíacrach Múaidhe). In addition, many Norman families (Burgh, de Bermingham, de Exeter, de Staunton) were Galicized. They bgan to develop important trade links with Spain. The infamous Pirate Queen Grace O'Malley came from Connacht. The English only reaseted control during Elizabeth's reign (late-16th century). It is at this time that Connacht was shired into the modern counties. Olivedr Cromwell during his brutal pacification of Ireland famously said, "To Hell or to Connacht!" (17th century). The Battle of Aughrim The Battle of Aughrim was the decisive battle of the Williamite War settling English control (1691). French General Humbert's invaded (1798). Connacht's had a population of 1.4 million (early-19th century). As a result of the Potato Famine (1840s), the population fell to a mere 0.4 million. The population never recovered. The population is about 0.55 milion (2010s), about a third of the pre-Famine population. English cultural influence was nit as striong in the werst ast the east. Connacht despite nordrering on Ulster, has the highest number of Irish language speakers among the four Irish provinces. Some 40mpercent of the population are Irish speakers. [Central Statistics Office]
Leinster in the east is composed of Carlow, Dublin (Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, South Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, and Wicklow.
Munster in the southwest is composed of Clare, Cork (Cork City), Kerry, Limerick (Limerick City), Tipperary (North Tipperary and South Tipperary), and Waterford (Waterford City).
British Northern Ireland is basically composed of the fourth povince--Ulster. Ulster is composed of Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan, Antrim. Armagh. Down. Fermanagh. Londonderry. and Tyrone.
Ireland’s has a host of islands and islets all along its rugged coast. Politically they are poart of the different provinces, but we think are useful to discuss separately. Islands can be found from Mizen to Malin Head. Ireland is Europe's third largest island and is surrounded by some 80 islands of any significant size as well as inumerable islets. Many are unpopulated or only lightly populated. Only about 20 are actually inhabited. Irish is commonly used on many of the islands. There are hundreds of other smaller islets dotted around the Irish coast, throughout the Irish Sea on the eastern coast and in the Atlantic Ocean to the south, west and north. Thee islands are largely unspoilt. Today they they offer beautiful scenry attracting tourists. The islanders continue to eke out a modest living engaging in traditional methods of farming, but today can be supplemented with tourism. Achill Island off County Mayo is Ireland’s largest island. Achill is situated off the west coast and has a population of some 2,700 people. It unlike the other islands is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Human settlement is believed tgo date from about 3000 BC. A paddle that has been dated to this period was found at the crannóg near Dookinella. Nerly 90 percent of the island is peat bog. The best known island are the Arans. The Arans are actually a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay along the western coast. The Arans offer spectacular coastal views, The Arans are known in Irish history as the Islands of Saints and Scholars. There are Celtic churches of historical importance. The islands of course are the home of the Aran Sweater.
Central Statistics Office. "Percentage of Irish speakers and non-Irish speakers aged 3 Years and over 2011 to 2016 by sex, county and city, statistical indicator and census year" (2017).
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