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Counties of Ireland Guide And Map

The Irish counties have remained virtually unchanged for around 400 years since the English monarchy divided Ireland. In the olden times, the division was by provinces, each governed by a king. These provinces were full of beans, their borders changing all the time. 

Today, these Irish provinces mean Leinster, Ulster, Munster, and Connaught. Historically, though, Ireland had more than 4 provinces. Others included Breifne between Ulster and Connaught, Oriel around county Armagh, and Meath which is the northern half of Leinster. 

A partition of Ireland into two self-governing polities was made in 1921. The county became one of the basic land divisions used, along with its boroughs. The Republic of Ireland is divided into 26 counties while Northern Ireland comprises 6 counties. 

Read on to learn more about these counties in Ireland and their top attractions.

Counties of Ireland Map

counties in ireland

Irish Counties List Overview

Here’s an overview of the counties of Ireland, their county town, native name, and province. 

County Native name County town Most
Antrim Aontroim
(Contae Aontroma)
Ballymena Belfast (part) Ulster
Armagh Ard Mhacha
(Contae Ard Mhacha)
Armagh Craigavon Ulster
Carlow Ceatharlach
(Contae Cheatharlach)
Carlow Carlow Leinster
Cavan An Cabhán
(Contae an Chabháin)
Cavan Cavan Ulster
Clare An Clár
(Contae an Chláir)
Ennis Ennis Munster
Cork Corcaigh
(Contae Chorcaí)
Cork Cork Munster
Donegal Dún na nGall
(Contae Dhún na nGall)
Lifford Letterkenny Ulster
Down An Dún
(Contae an Dúin)
Downpatrick Belfast (part) Ulster
Dublin Baile Átha Cliath
(Contae Bhaile Átha Cliath)
Dublin Dublin Leinster
Fermanagh Fear Manach
(Contae Fhear Manach)
Enniskillen Enniskillen Ulster
Galway Gaillimh
(Contae na Gaillimhe)
Galway Galway Connacht
Kerry Ciarraí
(Contae Chiarraí)
Tralee Tralee Munster
Kildare Cill Dara
(Contae Chill Dara)
Naas Newbridge Leinster
Kilkenny Cill Chainnigh
(Contae Chill Chainnigh)
Kilkenny Kilkenny Leinster
Laois Laois
(Contae Laoise)
Portlaoise Portlaoise Leinster
Leitrim Liatroim
(Contae Liatroma)
Carrick-on-Shannon Carrick-on-Shannon Connacht
Limerick Luimneach
(Contae Luimnigh)
Limerick Limerick Munster
Londonderry[nb 3] Doire
(Contae Dhoire)
Coleraine Derry[nb 3] Ulster
Longford An Longfort
(Contae an Longfoirt)
Longford Longford Leinster
(Contae Lú)
Dundalk Drogheda Leinster
Mayo Maigh Eo
(Contae Mhaigh Eo)
Castlebar Castlebar Connacht
Meath An Mhí
(Contae na Mí)
(formerly Trim)
Navan Leinster
Monaghan Muineachán
(Contae Mhuineacháin)
Monaghan Monaghan Ulster
Offaly Uíbh Fhailí
(Contae Uíbh Fhailí)
Tullamore (formerly
Tullamore Leinster
Roscommon Ros Comáin
(Contae Ros Comáin)
Roscommon Roscommon Connacht
Sligo Sligeach
(Contae Shligigh)
Sligo Sligo Connacht
Tipperary Tiobraid Árann
(Contae Thiobraid Árann)
Nenagh (formerly Clonmel
& Cashel)
Clonmel Munster
Tyrone Tír Eoghain
(Contae Thír Eoghain)
Omagh Omagh Ulster
Waterford Port Láirge
(Contae Phort Láirge)
Waterford Waterford Munster
Westmeath An Iarmhí
(Contae na hIarmhí)
Mullingar Athlone Leinster
Wexford Loch Garman
(Contae Loch Garman)
Wexford Wexford Leinster
Wicklow Cill Mhantáin
(Contae Chill Mhantáin)
Wicklow Bray Leinster

Counties in the Republic of Ireland

counties of ireland map

The 26-county Irish state officially describes the Republic of Ireland which is completely independent from England as well as Northern Ireland. These counties were established under English rule around four centuries ago, but the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty created the official list that we know today.

Here’s an overview of the Republic of Ireland’s 26 counties under their respective provinces.

Counties in Leinster Province


The County Carlow in the southeast of Ireland is rich in agriculture and industry, with cultural and recreational facilities for both young and old. 

In the early 1800s, Carlow was such a stronghold for agriculture that it earned the nickname the “scallion eaters.” It is also where the first sugar beet factory in Ireland was located.

The name “Carlow” is thought to originate from the old Irish place called “Ceatharlach,” which means “city on the lakes” or “four lakes.” But depending on who you listen to, “Carlow” could also mean “a place of cattle.” 

Carlow is known for the famous prehistoric site, Browneshill Dolmen, which is a megalithic portal tomb. 

Points of Interest in County Carlow:

  • Carlow Castle
  • Huntington Castle 
  • Carlow Cathedral 
  • Duckett’s Groove
  • Brownshill Dormen


The Vikings, arriving in Ireland in 800 AD, called the spot where the rivers Poddle and Liffey meet “Dubh Linn” or “black pool.” It is the origin of the name Dublin. It is also said to derive from “hurdled fort.” 

County Dublin is known for the city of Dublin, the Irish capital which is a UNESCO City of Literature.

Points of Interest in County Dublin:


To the west of Dublin lies County Kildare, home of the powerful Fitzgerald family. In its early days, Kildare was known as the “church of the oak.” 

Known as the equine county of Ireland, Kildare houses some of the world’s most renowned racecourses like the Curragh, Punchestown, and Naas.

Points of Interest in County Kildare:

  • Castletown Estate
  • Kildare Heritage Center
  • Steam Museum 
  • The Grand Canal
  • Irish National Stud and Gardens


County Kilkenny in southeastern Ireland is noted for its medieval monastic ruins such as Kells Priory, the 12th-century Augustinian complex surrounded by fortified walls. 

Kilkenny was known as the “church of Cainnech,” in honor of St. Cainnech who converted the county to Christianity in the year 597. 

People from Kilkenny are often called “Cats,” after the fabled pair ofKilkenny cats which, for the Kilkenny people, are a positive symbol of tenacity and fighting spirit.

Points of Interest in County Kilkenny:

  • Kilkenny Castle
  • Tholsel City Hall 
  • Ballybur Castle 
  • Shankill Castle
  • Clomantagh Castle


Formerly known as Queen’s County in honor of Queen Mary (“Bloody Mary”), the modern County Laois takes its name from the medieval kingdom of Loígis. It has also been known as County Leix.

The Laois name is also said to come from the “people of Lugaid Laigne,” after a chieftain called Lugaid.

County Laois is in the south of the Midlands Region, 85km from Dublin. Laois is rich in historical sites and ancient ruins. 

Points of Interest in County Laois:

  • Rock of Dunamese
  • Slieve Bloom
  • Glenbarrow Waterfall
  • Timahoe Round Tower


County Longford in Ireland’s East Coast and Midlands was originally known as “the port.” Previously considered part of Connacht,  County Longford was added to Leinster by King James I in 1608.

Like many Irish counties, Longford has a number of castles and churches, of which St. Mel’s Cathedral is the most famous. St. Mel’s Cathedral is a Neoclassical building that dates as far back as 1840.


The smallest county in Ireland, County Louth is colloquially known as “the Wee County.” The name “Louth” was taken after the ancient Irish God Lugh.

County Louth is home to a number of historic sites, including religious sites at Monasterboice, Mellifont Abbey, and the St. Mary Magdalene Dominican Friary.


County Meath, just north of Dublin, is known for its archaeological sites, especially Brú na Bóinne in the Boyne Valley. 

County Meath is nicknamed “The Royal County,” thanks to its history as the seat of the High King of Ireland. The name “Meath” is taken after the historic Kingdom of Meath, from “Midhe” which means “middle” or “center.”


County Offaly is part of the Midlands Region,  formed after the Tudor plantations of Laois and Offaly in an expansion attempt of the English Crown in Ireland. 

County Offaly derives its name from the Gaelic kingdom called Uí Failghe. It was formerly known as King’s County. 

Offaly is known for its extensive bog and peatlands. Some of the famous ones are the Boora Bog, Clara Bog, Raheenmore Bog, and the Bog of Allen which extends into four other counties.


Similar to its neighbor, County Meath, Westmeath literally means “west middle.” Its name is also derived from An Lar Mhi, Gaelic for the west ofMeath,

County Westmeath was originally part of the historic Kingdom of Meath,

Westmeath is sometimes called “The Lake County” because of its many lakes, streams, and other waterways. Its county town, Mullingar, is famous for its high-quality veal and beef. 


A coastal county in southeastern Ireland, Wexford derives its name from the Norse meaning “fjord of the mud flats.”

County Wexford was among the first in Ireland to be Christianized, occurring in the early 5th century. 

Wexford is famous for its golden beaches like the Blue Flag Beaches, Curracloe Beach with its rolling dunes, and Rosslare Beach which is a popular water sports hub.


County Wicklow in the south of Dublin is nicknamed the “Garden of Ireland.” Its name derives from Víkingaló, which is the Old Norse for “Vikings’ meadow.” 

County Wicklow is noted for its mountains, Irish Sea coastline, country estates, and the Wicklow Way. Wicklow Mountains National Park is home to glacial lakes, rivers, and Glendalough, a forested valley where the remains of an early medieval monastic settlement are found.

Counties in Munster Province


County Clare in western Ireland has terrain that ranges from rolling countryside to craggy Atlantic coastline. It is known for the world-famous Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, one of the ancient single-chamber megalithic tombs called dolmen.

 A literal translation of its name could mean “level piece of land,” but County Clare might also be named after the Norman lord of Thomond, Thomas de Clare.


County Cork, covering much of Ireland’s southwest, is dubbed the “rebel county.” King Henry VII of England gave it the name for its support of Perkin Warbeck in a futile attempt at a rebellion in 1491.

Cork is famed for the 15th-century Blarney Castle which houses the Blarney Stone, said to give the “gift of the gab” or eloquence to those who kiss it. 

County Cork is Ireland’s largest county, deriving its name from the meaning for “swamp.” Its administrative capital, the city of Cork, is known as Ireland’s food capital.


Nicknamed “the Kingdom,” County Kerry in the peninsular southwest region of Ireland is known for its striking terrain, rugged coastline, and mountains. It houses the famous Ring of Kerry, as well as Torc Waterfall and Torc Mountain.

The county name is from the ancient Irish Ciarraighe or Ciarraí which means the “people of Ciar.” In Old Irish, the word “Ciar” meant dark brown or black, which is still used in modern Irish to describe a dark complexion. It was the name of the pre-Gaelic tribe who lived in part of the present county, which was founded by the legendary Ciar, son of Fergus mac Róich. 


Limerick, in Ireland’s southwest, is a beautiful county although its name is derived from “bare spot” or “barren  spot of land.” It is known for Irish Coffee, a brew infused with Irish whiskey, which was invented in the village of Foynes in 1943.

Limerick is home to Grange Stone Circle, Ireland’s largest stone circle, and Lough Gur, which is one of the country’s most important archaeological sites.


Known as the “well of the Arra,” Tipperary is sometimes referred to as The Premier County. It is known for its pastureland and horse breeding industry. Tipperary also houses the famous Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle.

County Tipperary is in the south-central of Ireland. It was formed in 1328, making it the oldest of the Irish counties. 


Waterford, originally called “Larag’s port,” is a maritime county located on the southeastern coast of Ireland. 

County Waterford is colloquially known as “The Déise,” after the Déise tribe that conquered the Waterford region sometime between the 4th and 8th centuries.

County Waterford is known for Waterford Crystal, a legacy of the city of Waterford’s glass-making industry from 1783 until early 2009. 

Counties in Connacht Province


County Galway, located on Ireland’s western seaboard, derives its name from the river “Gaillimh.” It became an official entity around 1569 AD.

County Galway’s capital, the city of Galway, is known as the festival capital of Ireland, thanks to its vibrant street theatre, film and fringe festivities, and fantastic food.


Situated in the north of Ireland, County Leitrim is one of the smaller counties in Ireland. The county is known simply as the “grey ridge,” from the Irish Liath Druim.

It is noted for its linen industry, as well as coal and iron ore mining.


On the west coast of Ireland lies County Mayo, whose name derives from the Irish Contae Mhaigh Eo, which means “plain of the yew trees.”

Formed in 1585, County Mayo is one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland. It is home to Achill, Ireland’s largest island off the county’s west coast.


Roscommon, literally meaning “St. Coman’s wood,” was named after St. Coman, founder of the Roscommon monastery in the year 550.

County Roscommon is roughly in the center of Ireland. It is known for sheep farming, which is celebrated annually with the Roscommon Lamb Festival. The county is home to a lot of castles and ruins, lakes, forests, and Ireland’s largest floating waterpark. However, it is most famous for being the birthplace of Halloween.


County Sligo in northwestern Ireland is most noted for the legacy of the renowned Irish poet, W.B. Yeats. It is also known for Benbulben Mountain, one of Ireland’s most distinctive natural landmarks.

County Sligo was officially formed in 1585, but coming into effect only after the end of the Nine Years’ War in 1603. 

Its name derives from “shelly place,” thanks to the abundance of shellfish that can be found here.

Counties in Ulster Province 


County Cavan, known simply as “the hollow,” is home to fabulous rolling hills and lakes shaped by the last Ice Age. With all its 365 lakes, there is no running out for fishing for the whole year!

Cavan, established in 1579, is based on the historic Gaelic territory of East Breffny (Bréifne).


Donegal is the second-largest county in Ireland, known for its castles, rugged coastline, and mountains such as the quartzite Mount Errigal. 

The county name is derived from Dún na nGall, meaning “fort of the foreigners,” which were most likely the Vikings.

County Donegal lies on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in northwestern Ireland. It was the home of the Patron St. Colmcille or St. Columba, one of Ireland’s three patron saints, the other two being St. Brigit and the famous St. Patrick.

Donegal is often referred to as “the forgotten county,” being the least commercialized part of Ireland.


County Monaghan has existed since 1585 when Airgíalla’ Mac Mathghamhna rulers agreed to join the Kingdom of Ireland. The county is noted for its ancient Irish craft of  Carrickmacross Lace.

County Monaghan’s name means “hilly or bushy land” or “place of little hills,” as the county is dotted with small mountains, lakes, and forests.

Points of Interest in County Monaghan:

  • Monaghan County Museum
  • Lough Muckno
  • Castle Leslie
  • Rossmore Forest Park

Counties in Northern Ireland

counties in northern ireland map

While the historic divisions are still used today as the groundwork of local government in the Republic of Ireland, it’s a different story in Northern Ireland. The counties no longer have any actual purpose—they only serve as mere curiosities, or part of their history—and districts are used instead.

Here are the 6 counties that comprise Northern Ireland, also under the province of Ulster.


Formed after Shane O’Neill’s rebellion, Antrim is perched right on the top of Ireland in the northeastern corner. So it’s no wonder the name “Antrim” is derived from the phrase “lone ridge” or “lone dwelling.”

County Antrim is famed for its glens which offer isolated rugged landscapes such as the Giant’s Causeway, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Antrim is also known for the whiskey-producing village of Bushmills and Portrush which is a popular seaside resort and night-life area. 

Belfast is part of the County Antrim, with the remainder being in Down.


Known as the “orchard county,” thanks to its many apple orchards, County Armagh is notable for being the seat of St. Patrick.

The name “Armagh” comes from the Irish Contae Ard Mhacha, which translates to “Macha’s Hill.” Macha was a pagan Celtic goddess.

County Armagh, as the heartland of St. Patrick, is home to St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral and Saint Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. It also houses Gosford Castle and Slieve Gullion.


Founded in the early 16th century, County Down is home to Downpatrick and the burial place of Saint Patrick. The county takes its name from the Irish dún, meaning “fort.”

County Down is renowned for the granite Mourne Mountains, with Slieve Donard as the highest peak.


Based on the territory of the dominant Maguire clan, County Fermanagh is known for its lush Lakelands, hence its name which derives from the Irish for “men from the county of the lakes.” Lough Erne is the most famous of these lakes.

The famous playwright, Samuel Beckett, was born in Fermanagh in 1906.


Country Derry derives its name from the Gaelic Doire, which translates to “oak wood” or “oak grove.” 

Bordered by the fast-flowing waters of the River Foyle, Derry is home to the Sperrin Mountains, which it shares with the County Tyrone.

The walled city of Londonderry is County Derry’s administrative capital, named the first UK City of Culture in 2013.


Country Tyrone is based on the Irish kingdom of Tír Eoghain, or the “Land of Eoghan,” in honor of Eogan mac Neill who founded this county.

Tyrone has spectacular landscapes and is home to a number of parks, such as Dungannon Park, Drum Manor Forest Park, and Gortin Glen Forest Park.

County Tyrone is no longer employed as an administrative division for local government. However, its strong identity remains in popular culture.

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