Counties of Ireland

Some people refer to Ireland as the country with four provinces and thirty-two counties, of which twenty-six are located in the Republic of Ireland and six in Northern Ireland. The provinces are Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. The counties are land divisions originally formed following the Norman invasions between the twelfth century and the seventeenth century. The Irish counties were a creation of British rule, changing the Kingdom of Ireland into the island of Ireland with thirty-two counties.

Over the years, Ireland and its people suffered under the British government with a very strict set of rules. The Irish were prohibited from using their native language of Gaelic, they were not to participate in their cultural heritage of singing or dancing, nor were they allowed to practice their Catholic religion. Their Gaelic words and names were all anglicized by spelling difficult Irish pronunciations phonetically. Everything changed.

In 1920, under the Government of Ireland Act, or "Home Rule", Ireland was partitioned into two divisions, Northern and Southern Ireland. In 1922, with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Ireland left the United Kingdom. Within a matter of a few days, Northern Ireland rejoined the UK, and Southern Ireland became the Irish Free State, now known as the Republic of Ireland. Even though Northern Ireland is part of the UK for governmental matters, the original six counties kept their borders divided for cultural and sport organizations such as the GAA, Gaelic Athletic Association, with very strong loyalties in sport teams.

The following is a list of the twenty-six counties in the Republic of Ireland, including the capitol, or county seat.

Carlow, Carlow
Cavan, Cavan
Clare, Ennis
Cork, Cork
Donegal, Lifford
Dublin, Dublin
Galway, Galway
Kerry, Tralee
Kildare, Naas
Kilkenny, Kilkenny
Laois, Portlaoise
Leitrim, Carrick-On-Shannon
Limerick, Limerick
Longford, Longford
Louth, Dundalk
Mayo, Castlebar
Meath, Navan
Monaghan, Monaghan
Offaly, Tullamore
Roscommon, Roscommon
Sligo, Sligo
Tipperary, Clonmel & Nenagh
Waterford, Dungarvan
Westmeath, Mullingar
Wexford, Wexford
Wicklow, Wicklow

The following list contains the six counties of Northern Ireland.

Antrim, Antrim
Armagh, Armagh
Down, Downpatrick
Fermanagh, Enniskellen
Londonderry/Derry, Coleraine
Tyrone, Omagh

In Ireland the county names are always preceded with the word county, i.e. County Leitrim, compared to America where the name comes first.
Some of the 32 counties are no longer used for local government purposes but, unlike England's counties, the Republic's counties have merely been subdivided.

In 1973, there was a major reorganization of local government and the six counties were replaced with the two county boroughs of Belfast and Derry.

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