Home to craggy cliffs and windswept valleys, to ancient castles and modern cities and roads that unfurl like ribbons, Ireland is uncommonly rich with both natural wonders and man. Ireland is divided into geographic regions called counties. There are 32 counties on the island The Republic of Ireland comprises 26 counties, while Northern Ireland accounts for the remaining 6 counties. Counties in Ireland are bound up with identity. Many Irish people, particularly those in rural areas, are fiercely proud of their county of birth. Inter-county rivalry is very strong in the Republic of Ireland, and among nationalists in Northern Ireland. This rivalry is often expressed through sport, especially through the native games of Gaelic football and hurling.
ConnachtConnacht is largely made up of counties on Ireland’s western coast. Roscommon is the only county landlocked county in the province. Connacht is home to stunning scenery, including Connemara, Achill Island, and Sligo’s world-renowned surfing coast. Many parts of the province retain their very strong Gaelic traditions, in particular the Aran Islands. The Irish language is spoken throughout Connacht’s Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas. The five counties of Connacht are Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. Clogher Bay, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
LeinsterThis eastern province is home to the Republic of Ireland’s capital cityDublin, originally founded by the Vikings. Today, rarely a week goes by without some form of festival happening in the city. Leinster is now the most populated province on the island, with over half the population of the Republic of Ireland living there. The area was heavily colonized over the centuries and, as a result, it’s home to many fine examples of medieval, Norman, Georgian and Neolithic architecture. Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly,Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow are the counties that make up the Leinster region.
MunsterTwo of Ireland’s largest counties are found in Munster: Cork and Kerry. Both have their own names they like to go by. In Cork they consider themselves the “People’s Republic of Cork”, because if there is one thing people from Cork love, it’s Cork. It’s also affectionately known as the gourmet county, because of its excellent culinary expertise. “The Kingdom of Kerry” is renowned for its spectacular golf courses and it has won the GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championships more times than any other team. Plus it has lush green scenery and a stunning coastline that is coveted by visitors while the town of Dingle boasts its own resident dolphin called Fungi (so popular he even has his own Twitter account.) The lunar Burren and Cliffs of Moher are in County Clare and several ancient castles populate the counties of Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. Waterford is renowned for its exquisite hand-cut crystal glass. Munster’s counties are Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.
UlsterThe combined influences of several different cultures – the Ulster Scots, the Gaels, the Normans and the Anglo-Normans – have sculpted and colored the Ulster landscape in a particularly unique manner. Natural beauties such as Donegal’s Glenveagh National Park, the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Fermanagh’s Lakelands and the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim make this part of the island a spectacular place to visit. Meanwhile, the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast city, played its part in making maritime history as the birthplace of the world’s most famous ship: the Titanic. The province contains counties Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Down,Fermanagh, Londonderry, Monaghan and Tyrone.
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32 Counties of Ireland