If you have Irish roots, you’ve probably at least heard of the counties in Ireland. Consult this Irish counties map to figure out which your ancestor lived in.
The county served as the most general administrative unit for much of Irish history. The government divided counties into baronies, then civil parishes, then townlands. The townland is likely the most important in finding records, but knowing which county your ancestor hailed from is still a good starting point since you’ll likely find record groups sorted by county. Other significant administrative units include poor law unions, which were used in civil registration.
The 32 traditional Irish counties form four provinces. Though the provinces have no modern official status, you may still find them mentioned throughout your research. In the map above, each color represents a province and the counties in it: yellow for Munster, blue for Connaught, red for Ulster and green for Leinster.
Looking at a modern map of Ireland, you might notice the counties don’t all lie in the same country. Since 1922, the counties of Londonderry, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh have made up Northern Ireland, a constituent part of the United Kingdom. The remaining 26 counties make up the independent Republic of Ireland.
The Irish and UK governments don’t necessarily use traditional county boundaries for administrative purposes today. In the Republic of Ireland, most counties still form the basis of local government for most purposes. But Northern Ireland initially used county boundaries used counties for administrative purposes, but revised districts in 1972.
Want to learn more about your Irish ancestors? Check out The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide. This comprehensive book dives deep into Irish geography, helping you determine which county and townland your ancestors hail from. Inside, you’ll also learn about Irish history, naming traditions and records.