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Counties of Ireland

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Ireland is often referred to as the 32 counties, with its two states, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland nicknamed the Six Counties and the 26 Counties. The counties were in fact a creation of British rule in Ireland in the nineteenth century, to provide local government structures. They subsequently were adopted by sporting and cultural organisations such as the Gaelic Athletic Association, which organises its sports on county lines and attract county loyalties.

Ironically, in strict local government terms, the 32 counties no longer exist. Within the six county Northern Ireland, a major re-organisation of local government replaced the six large counties by 26 smaller ones. In the Republic of Ireland, the original 26 counties now total 33, with for example, Dublin county now divided in four, producing Dublin (city), Dublin county, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and Fingal. Other major urban areas have been separated from their rural counties origins, while Tipperary has long in fact been two counties, Tipperary North Riding and Tipperary South Riding.

Outside of local governmental jurisdiction, however, the old 32 counties are used universally.

Below is a list of the original list of 32 counties, as created under British rule. (c) indicates a change in boundaries or counties subdivided to create new counties.

The Original 32 Counties

County Antrim - Ulster, Northern Ireland (c)
County Armagh[?] - Ulster, Northern Ireland (c)
County Carlow - Leinster
County Cavan[?] - Ulster
County Clare - Munster
County Cork - Munster
County Derry - Ulster, Northern Ireland (c)
County Donegal - Ulster
County Down - Ulster, Northern Ireland (c)
County Dublin - Leinster (c) divided in four to form Dublin City, Dublin County, Fingal and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
County Fermanagh - Ulster, Northern Ireland (c)
County Galway - Connacht (c)
County Kerry - Munster
County Kildare - Leinster
County Kilkenny - Leinster
County Laois (previously Queen's County, and County Leix) - Leinster
County Leitrim - Connacht
County Limerick - Munster (c)
County Longford[?] - Leinster
County Louth[?] - Leinster
County Mayo - Connacht
County Meath[?] - Leinster
County Monaghan[?] - Ulster
County Offaly[?] (previously King's County) - Leinster
County Roscommon - Connacht
County Sligo - Connacht
County Tipperary - Munster in reality two counties
County Tyrone - Ulster, Northern Ireland (c)
County Waterford - Munster (c)
County Westmeath[?] - Leinster
County Wexford - Leinster
County Wicklow - Leinster

See also Provinces of Ireland

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