There are 32 Irish counties broken up into 6 counties of Northern Ireland and 26 counties of Ireland, the Republic. Take a look below to see what is unique about each and every one.
Name in Irish: Ciarraí
Otherwise known as: The Kingdom
Population (approx.): 147,500
City: Tralee, although both Killarney and Dingle are far bigger tourist attractions.
Trivia: Dingle Bay has a resident dolphin name Fungie. He often delights tourists by swimming and jumping alongside their boats.
Name in Irish: Gaillimh
Otherwise known as: The Tribesmen
Population (approx.): 258,500
Town/City: Galway is both the name of the county and of the city.
Best Hike: Our hikes from Galway to Westport are pretty inspiring.
Trivia: Galway is regularly acknowledged as the cultural heart of Ireland and one of the best counties of Ireland. It also includes the authentically Irish towns of Clifden and Westport.
Connemara, in county Galway, is a Gaeltacht. This means that the Irish language is still spoken here on a day-to-day basis.
Name in Irish: Clár
Otherwise known as: The Banner County
Population (approx.): 117,200
Best Hike: It has to be the Burren Way, The section from Liscannor to Doolin takes in the mighty and inspiring Cliffs of Moher. Clare is up there with the most beautiful counties of Ireland, scenery-wise.
Trivia: The current president of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, grew up and attended school in County Clare.
Name in Irish: Corcaigh
Otherwise known as: The Rebel County
Population (approx.): 542,200
Trivia: Cork is the largest county in Ireland in terms of area, and the second largest in terms of population. Its population is half the amount of that of Dublin’s.
Name in Irish: Chill Mhantáin
Otherwise known as: The Garden County
Population (approx.): 142,300
City: Wicklow, although some other notable destinations are Bray and Greystones.
Best Hike: The Wicklow Way, undoubtedly. This hike takes in the Wicklow mountains and Glendalough, the ancient monastic site.
Trivia: The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) runs from Dublin to Greystones, connecting these two counties of Ireland. This makes County Wicklow a great commuter location for people working in Dublin.
Name in Irish: Aontroim
Otherwise known as: The Glen County
Population (approx.): 615,400
City: Ballymena – the actor Liam Neeson is from here.
Best Hike: The Antrim Glens and Coastline is a great hike in this county of Norther Ireland, as it takes in the magnificent Giant’s Causeway
Trivia: The majority of Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland, lies in Antrim while the remainder is located in county Down.
Name in Irish: Sligeach
Otherwise known as: Yeats Country
Population (approx.): 65,400
City: Sligo Town
Best Hike: Ben Bulben, seen in the above picture, is a very difficult hike. The views at the top are very worth it however it’s not recommended as a hike for the inexperienced.
Trivia: The famous Irish poet W.B. Yeats was buried in France upon his death. However, 9 years later, he was exhumed and re-buried in Drumcliff, County Sligo. Not one of the most known counties of Ireland, but doesn’t lack any charm.
Name in Irish: Maigh Eo
Otherwise known as: Mayo isn’t known by a nickname as much as the other counties, however ‘Maigh Eo’ means ‘Plain of the Yew Tree’.
Population (approx.): 130,630
Best Hike: Croagh Patrick is a popular pilgrim hike, with many people choosing to undertake it barefoot.
Trivia: St. Patrick allegedly spent 40 days and 40 nights at the top of Croagh Patrick. It is said he was bothered by snakes during this time and so banished them all from Ireland.
Name in Irish: Ceatherlach
Otherwise known as: The Dolmen County
Population (approx.): 56,875
Best Hike: Carlow is quite small and sandwiched between other counties of Ireland. Not overly known for its hiking routes, there is a 15km loop which takes in the Blackstairs mountain near the town of Enniscorthy, which is in Wexford.
Trivia: Actress Saoirse Ronan was raised in county Carlow, although she was born in New York City.
Name in Irish: Cill Dara
Otherwise known as: The Lillywhites
Population (approx.): 222,130
Best Hike: Both the Royal Canal Way and the Grand Canal Way pass through Kildare on their way to Dublin. These are nice easy hikes to undertake if you fancy a stroll from Kildare to Dublin in just under a week.
Trivia: Kilkea Castle in Kildare is the oldest, continuously inhabited castle in Ireland.
Name in Irish: Cill Channaigh
Otherwise known as: The Marble County
Population (approx.): 95,150
Best Hike: The Nore Valley walk offers a great walk along the banks of the river.
Trivia: Despite its small size, Kilkenny is actually classed as a city due to the fact that it has a cathedral.
Name in Irish: Baile Átha Cliath
Otherwise known as: The Dubs
Population (approx.): 1,345,000
Best Hike: The Wicklow Way leads from Wicklow into Dublin so it has to get another mention on this list!
Trivia: The oldest pub in Ireland, The Brazen Head, has been there since 1198.
Name in Irish: Tír Eoghain
Otherwise known as: O’Neill Country
Population (approx.): 178,000
Best Hike: Several small hikes and looped walks make up the extent hiking in Tyrone.
Trivia: The emblem of county Tyrone is a red hand.
Name in Irish: Muineacháin
Otherwise known as: The Drumlin County
Population (approx.): 60,500
Best Hike: Although Monaghan is one of the lesser-known counties of Ireland, it does have ‘The Monaghan Way. This is a 56km linear hiking route which takes approximately 2 days to complete.
Trivia: Monaghan is known as The Drumlin County. A drumlin is a small mound or hill, usually part of a group of small mounds or hills.
Name in Irish: Doire
Otherwise known as: The Oak Leaf County
Population (approx.): 247,100
Best Hike: The highest point of Derry is atop Sawel Mountain, at 678m. This might be worth a hike!
Trivia: Depending on who you’re talking to, Derry is either Derry or Londonderry. It’s quite a political and contentious subject and you wouldn’t want to be saying the wrong one to the wrong man.
Name in Irish: Uíbh Fhailí
Otherwise known as: The Faithful County
Population (approx.): 78,000
Best Hike: The Offaly Way is 37km long, offering mountain, riverbank and, like many midland counties of Ireland, plenty of bogland hiking.
Trivia: Barack Obama’s ancestors came from Moneygall in county Offaly. He made a presidential visit to the small town, famously sipping on a pint of Guinness in a local pub.
Name in Irish: An Mhí
Otherwise known as: The Royal County
Population (approx.): 195,000
Best Hike: While not technically a hike, a walk around the prehistoric monument of Newgrange. It is dated back some 5,200 years, making it older than the Pyramids of Giza and certainly making it the oldest monument in all of the Irish counties.
Trivia: Every year, pilgrims flock to Newgrange to witness the Winter solstice there.
Name in Irish: Longfoirt
Otherwise known as: The Slashers
Population (approx.): 40,800
City: Longford Town
Best Hike: The Royal Canal Way stretches from Dublin as far as Longford – a great option hikes that brings you through several counties of Ireland.
Trivia: The Irish name ‘Longfoirt’ derives from the old Viking word for ‘Stronghold’.
Name in Irish: Ard Mhacha
Otherwise known as: The Orchard County
Population (approx.): 174,800
Best Hike: Not known for excellent hiking routes among the rest of the counties of Ireland, there are many local walks through acres of woodland.
Trivia: Slieve Gullion is the highest ‘mountain’ in Armagh, at 573m above sea level.
Name in Irish: Cabháin
Otherwise known as: Breffni County
Population (approx.): 76,000
Best Hike: The Cavan Way is just 26km long but is a great hike to take at a relaxed pace.
Trivia: It’s said that Gulliver’s Travels was written by Jonathon Swift while he was on holidays in Cavan.
Name in Irish: Dún na nGall
Otherwise known as: O’Donnell’s County
Population (approx.): 158,700
Best Hike: Mount Errigal is an impressive mountain, both on the climb and the view from the top.
Trivia: Slieve League are dramatic sea-cliffs found in Donegal – dramatic enough to rival the Cliffs of Moher!
Donegal is also the northern-most of the counties in Ireland.
Name in Irish: Lú
Otherwise known as: The Wee County
Population (approx.): 128,400
Best Hike: The river Boyne is a famous river, giving its name to the Battle of the Boyne, and there are plenty of walks and hikes along its banks.
Trivia: Louth is known as ‘The Wee County’ because it is the smallest of the counties of Ireland.
Name in Irish: Iarmhí
Otherwise known as: The Lake County
Population (approx.): 88,400
Best Hike: The Royal Canal makes an appearance here again, as this route also passes through another of these Irish counties.
Trivia: In olden Ireland, both Meath and Westmeath made up the fifth province of Ireland. Today there are just four provinces in Ireland.
Name in Irish: Loch Garman
Otherwise known as: The Model County
Population (approx.): 145,300
Best Hike: The Slieveboy loop is a 12km looped walk that should take roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete.
Trivia: Hook lighthouse is believed to be the oldest operating lighthouse in the world, dating about to 1200 A.D.
Name in Irish: Fear Manach
Otherwise known as: The Erne County
Population (approx.): 61,800
Best Hike: The Cuilcagh mountain walk is a great hike, worth the views.
Trivia: Fermanagh is sometimes known as the Lake District of Northern Ireland, with upper and lower Lough Erne creating fantastic views and landscapes.
Name in Irish: Dún
Otherwise known as: The Mourne County
Population (approx.): 531,700
Best Hike: The North Down Coastal Path is a mainly flat, coastal scenic route.
Trivia: The Mourne Mountain range is found in county Down, being mostly made up of granite.
Name in Irish: Laois
Otherwise known as: The Queen’s County
Population (approx.): 84,700
Best Hike: Slieve Bloom is a fantastic hike and, on a clear day, you can see into the four provinces of Ireland from the top.
Trivia: ‘Laois’ is actually pronounced ‘Leash’, to confuse any tourists that may visit.
Name in Irish: Luimneach
Otherwise known as: The Treaty County
Population (approx.): 195,200
Best Hike: Not known for its hiking trails, there are a lot of beautiful local walks such as the Clare Glens.
Trivia: Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes, was born and lived in Limerick.
Name in Irish: Ros Comáin
Otherwise known as: The Sheepstealers
Population (approx.): 64,400
Best Hike: Lough Key forest park isn’t technically a ‘hike’ but still offers a beautiful and relaxing environment for walking.
Trivia: The first president of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, was born in county Roscommon.
Name in Irish: Liatroma
Otherwise known as: The Wild Rose County
Population (approx.): 31,800
Best Hike: Mullaghmore is on the Mullaghmore peninsula of Leitrim and also located on the Wild Atlantic Way – a great location for a hike on one of the more lesser-known counties of Ireland.
Trivia: The county town of Leitrim is called so because it lies on the banks of the River Shannon.
Name in Irish: Port Láirge
Otherwise known as: The Crystal County
Population (approx.): 113,795
Best Hike: Tramore beach in Waterford offers a nice and gentle looped walk around the beach.
Trivia: The world famous Waterford Crystal took its name from this Irish county.
Name in Irish: Thiobraid Árann
Otherwise known as: The Premier County
Population (approx.): 160,400
Best Hike: The Glen of Aherlow offers nice walking routes throughout the glen, with stunning views from some high points.
Trivia: The Rock of Cashel is also known as St. Patrick’s Rock.