The 29 Counties and 5 Cities of Ireland
For some years, one of my cultural and political hobby horses has been wondering how many generations it will take before the 29 counties and five cities of the Republic of Ireland become accepted as the current counties of the State.
The traditional ‘32 counties of Ireland’ were gradually imposed, over several centuries, when the island of Ireland was under English rule. At any given time, the counties represented the areas under English rule, whereas the non-county parts of the island were still under Gaelic rule.
Since the Republic of Ireland became an independent State, the elected representatives of the Irish people have changed the counties of Ireland. Today, the Republic of Ireland has 29 counties and five cities that have the same status as counties. Here is a full list of them: >>>
The 29 Counties and Five Cities of the Republic of Ireland
As listed in Schedule 5 of the Local Government Act 2001
- Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
- North Tipperary
- South Dublin
- South Tipperary
Differences from the Traditional 26 counties
The main differences between these and the traditional 26 counties are:
- What was county Dublin is now three counties and a city.
- Tipperary, once two ridings, is now two counties.
This is an important official distinction. Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, North Tipperary, South Dublin and South Tipperary are not administrative units within a county. They are counties, with County Councils, County Managers etc. They are new counties, democratically determined by the Irish Parliament, with the exact same status as any of the other 24 counties and 5 cities of the Republic of Ireland.
- Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford are cities that have the same status as counties.
This is another important official distinction. Cork City does not exist within Cork County, but beside it. Similarly with Galway, Limerick and Waterford Cities and Counties. And County Dublin has been abolished, and replaced with three new counties that are located around Dublin City.
Alongside this new reality, of course, many Irish people still identify with the 32 traditional counties, most notably in culture and sport. So how many generations will it take before the 29 counties and five cities of the Republic of Ireland become accepted as the counties of Ireland?