Provinces of Ireland

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Ireland in 1171 showing the traditional provinces. Map by Harald Toksvig

The Provinces of Ireland are ancient subdivisions of the island of Ireland. Originally five in number (the Irish name for 'province' is cúige, meaning "fifth"), the smallest province, Meath, was eventually absorbed into the neighbouring province of Leinster.

Each province is further subdivided into a number of counties. While the provinces have no legal designation in either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, they continue to be important in sporting contexts, especially in Gaelic games and Rugby union.

The four modern provinces, together with their traditional counties, are: Leinster in the east, Munster in the south, Connacht in the west, and Ulster in the north. The former province of Meath had borders roughly analogous to the modern counties of Meath and Westmeath.


The provinces of Ireland are: 1. Leinster, 2. Munster, 3. Connacht, 4. Ulster.




Six of the nine Ulster counties (Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh and Londonderry) are within Northern Ireland, while the remaining three (Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan) are within the Republic of Ireland.

See also