ABOUT Ireland

Country Briefs: Ireland is the third biggest European island. It is located to the west side of European continent. Ireland lies in the Atlantic Ocean and it comprises of the Republic of Ireland that occupies five-sixth portion of the island.

The population of Ireland is not more than six million people out of which around four million people are settled in Republic of Ireland.

During the last ice age that lasted for about 10,000 years ago, Ireland was covered with ice and joined by land to Britain and Europe. People first inhabited Ireland around 9000 years ago.

Around 8000 BC the Stone Age inhabitants occupied the region. Over the years Ireland too witnessed various changes and its culture changed from Mesolithic to Neolithic.

The Bronze Age was followed by significant developments of various gold and bronze products such as gold ornaments, weapons etc. The Iron Age followed the Bronze Age. The Iron Age apart from being recognized by the iron made tools and machines, was also known for its association with Celts.

The Celts colonized most of the Ireland during the 8th and 1st centuries BC. The Gaels accompanied the Celts in their conquests. The Gaels and the Celts conquered the island and divided into five or more kingdoms.

The island of Ireland was never formally incorporated into the Roman Empire. The Romans called Ireland "Hibernia". It is largely deemed that the Romans or the Romano-British neither invaded nor particularly influenced Ireland. However the exact relationship between Rome and the tribes of Hibernia is not lucid and references are available only in the form of some Roman writings.

In AD 432 St. Patrick came to the island. St. Patrick is also known as the patron saint of the Ireland along with Saint Brigid and Saint Columba. Saint Patrick did spread the religion of Christianity and so tried to convert many Irish men and women to Christianity.

Christian religion was largely followed in Ireland; people were involved in Christian learning and theology, several Christian monasteries also flourished there. During the Early Middle Ages the arts of manuscript illumination, metalworking and sculpture flourished. Celtic monks published manuscripts such as Book of Kells.

Around 9th century Ireland confronted problems due to the ongoing 200 years of irregular warfare with the waves of Viking raiders who plundered monasteries and towns. The Vikings did settle in Ireland and established many towns and contemporary cities such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford here.

In 1172 King Henry II of England came to power and gained Irish lands by granting of the 1155 Bull Laudibiliter to him by then English Pope Adrian IV and from 13th century onwards the English law was introduced. The British rule was mainly concentrated in areas close to Dublin like Pale, Waterford etc.

However the British enhanced their control and with the downfall of the Gaelic socio-political empire at the end of the 17th century, the Tudor re-conquest of Ireland and the English and Scottish Protestant colonization in the Plantations of Ireland, the English people strengthened their control over the region. The English Protestants formed their own ruling class known as the Protestant Ascendancy.

Time passed by and in 1801 the Irish parliament passed the Act of Union to merge the Kingdom of Ireland and the Kingdom of Great Britain, which resulted in the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The entire island was then under the governance of the UK Parliament in London.


In 19th and 20th century there was a wave of nationalism and Irish people demanded home rule. In 1922 the Anglo-Irish war took place that claimed 26 counties of Ireland as Irish Free State while the other 6 remained within the northern island.

Ireland Counties
County HASC ISO FIPS Pr Pop-2002 Pop-1996 Area(km.²) Gaelic Capital
Carlow IE.CW CW EI01 L 46,014 41,616 896 Ceatharlach Carlow
Cavan IE.CN CN EI02 U 56,546 52,944 1,891 An Cabhán Cavan
Clare IE.CE CE EI03 M 103,277 94,006 3,188 An Clár Ennis
Cork IE.CK C EI04 M 447,829 420,510 7,460 Corcaigh Cork
Donegal IE.DL DL EI06 U 137,575 129,994 4,831 Dún na nGall Lifford
Dublin IE.DN D EI07 L 1,122,821 1,058,264 922 Baile Átha Cliath Dublin
Galway IE.GY G EI10 C 209,077 188,854 5,940 Gaillimh Galway
Kerry IE.KY KY EI11 M 132,527 126,130 4,701 Ciarraí Tralee
Kildare IE.KE KE EI12 L 163,944 134,992 1,694 Cill Dara Naas
Kilkenny IE.KK KK EI13 L 80,339 75,336 2,062 Cill Chainnigh Kilkenny
Laoighis IE.LS LS EI15 L 58,774 52,945 1,720 Laois Port Laoighis
Leitrim IE.LM LM EI14 C 25,799 25,057 1,525 Liatroim Carrick on Shannon
Limerick IE.LK LK EI16 M 175,304 165,042 2,686 Luimneach Limerick
Longford IE.LD LD EI18 L 31,068 30,166 1,044 An Longfort Longford
Louth IE.LH LH EI19 L 101,821 92,166 823 Dundalk
Mayo IE.MO MO EI20 C 117,446 111,524 5,398 Maigh Eo Castlebar
Meath IE.MH MH EI21 L 134,005 109,732 2,336 An Mhí Trim
Monaghan IE.MN MN EI22 U 52,593 51,313 1,291 Muineachán Monaghan
Offaly IE.OY OY EI23 L 63,663 59,117 1,998 Uíbh Fhailí Tullamore
Roscommon IE.RN RN EI24 C 53,774 51,975 2,463 Ros Comáin Roscommon
Sligo IE.SO SO EI25 C 58,200 55,821 1,796 Sligeach Sligo
Tipperary IE.TY TA EI26 M 140,131 133,535 4,255 Tiobraid Árann Clonmel (S), Nenagh (N)
Waterford IE.WD WD EI27 M 101,546 94,680 1,838 Port Láirge Waterford
Westmeath IE.WH WH EI29 L 71,858 63,314 1,763 An Iarmhí Mullingar
Wexford IE.WX WX EI30 L 116,596 104,371 2,351 Loch Garman Wexford
Wicklow IE.WW WW EI31 L 114,676 102,683 2,025 Cill Mhantáin Wicklow
26 counties 3,917,203 3,626,087 68,897    
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. Based on Ireland's Statutory County Codes, used on license plates, etc., with minor differences (e.g. TN and TS for Tipperary North and South).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Pr: Traditional provinces (see list below).
  • Pop-2002: 2002-04-28 census. Source: Central Statistics Office Ireland.
  • Pop-1996: 1996-04-28 census. Source: Europa World Year Book 2001.
  • Gaelic: Name of county in Gaelic.
  • Capital: See note.
More links about Ireland