The Irish Provinces

The Irish Provinces

Ireland is a territory divided into 4 provinces: Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster. Created at the time of the great kings of Ireland, the Irish provinces still remain to this day effective landmarks to describe geographically the Irish regions. Although they have no official status today, they are even used by the Irish to find their way around and thus complete the county system which today officially serves the Irish territory…

History of the 4 Provinces of Ireland

It is in the 3rd century that Ireland was “cut up” into 5 kingdoms. Each kingdom was then led by a local king, himself federated by a high supreme king (a king who reigned over the whole island of Ireland). At that time, there were 5 provinces:

  • Leinster
  • the Munster
  • the Connacht
  • Ulster
  • and Tara, the seat of the Supreme King of Ireland…

Over the centuries, the kingdom of Tara was absorbed by Leinster, until Ireland was only divided into 4 provinces.

This geographical division was however somewhat modified/improved in the 12th century, when the Anglo-Normans set foot in Ireland. They then subdivided each province into counties, to reach the name of 36 Irish counties.

Today, the Irish still use provinces and counties to find their way around the island, but only the counties have official status within the local authorities.

The Irish Provinces : what you need to know