The Counties of Ireland – 32 Irish Counties

March 10, 2017 by
Alex hiking in Connemara
POSTED BY March 10, 2017

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.

All of the counties of ireland

Irish counties - Kerry

Name in Irish: Ciarraí

Otherwise known as: The Kingdom

Population (approx.): 147,500

County Town/CityTralee, although both Killarney and Dingle are far bigger tourist attractions.

Best Hike: This is a tough one – either the Dingle Way or the Kerry Way as both are spectacular. Not many Irish counties can say that they have two outstanding long-distance routes.

Trivia: Dingle Bay has a resident dolphin name Fungie. He often delights tourists by swimming and jumping alongside their boats.

Irish Counties - Galway

Name in Irish: Gaillimh

Otherwise known as: The Tribesmen

Population (approx.): 258,500

County 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.

Irish Counties - Clare

Name in Irish: Clár

Otherwise known as: The Banner County

Population (approx.): 117,200

County Town/CityEnnis

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.

The counties of Ireland - Cork

Name in Irish: Corcaigh

Otherwise known as: The Rebel County

Population (approx.): 542,200

County Town/City: Cork

Best Hike: Cork has no shortage of remote and rugged hikes, with both the Beara Way and Sheep’s Head Way fitting these criteria.

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.

Irish Counties - Wicklow

Name in Irish: Chill Mhantáin

Otherwise known as: The Garden County

Population (approx.): 142,300

County Town/CityWicklow, 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.

The counties of Ireland - Armagh

Name in Irish: Aontroim

Otherwise known as: The Glen County

Population (approx.): 615,400

County Town/CityBallymena – 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

County Town/CitySligo 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.

The counties of Ireland - Mayo

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

County Town/CityCastlebar

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.

The counties of Ireland - Carlow

Name in Irish: Ceatherlach

Otherwise known as: The Dolmen County

Population (approx.): 56,875

County Town/CityCarlow

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.

Irish Counties - Kildare

Name in Irish: Cill Dara

Otherwise known as: The Lillywhites

Population (approx.): 222,130

County Town/CityNaas

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.

Irish Counties - Kilkenny

Name in Irish: Cill Channaigh

Otherwise known as: The Marble County

Population (approx.): 95,150

County Town/City: Kilkenny

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.

The counties of Ireland - Dublin

Name in Irish: Baile Átha Cliath

Otherwise known as: The Dubs

Population (approx.): 1,345,000

County Town/City: Dublin

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.

The counties of Ireland - Tyrone

Name in Irish: Tír Eoghain

Otherwise known as: O’Neill Country

Population (approx.): 178,000

County Town/CityOmagh

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.

Irish Counties - Monaghan

Name in Irish: Muineacháin

Otherwise known as: The Drumlin County

Population (approx.): 60,500

County Town/CityMonaghan

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.

The counties of Ireland - Derry

Name in Irish: Doire

Otherwise known as: The Oak Leaf County

Population (approx.): 247,100

County Town/City: Derry

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.

Irish Counties - Offaly

Name in Irish: Uíbh Fhailí

Otherwise known as: The Faithful County

Population (approx.): 78,000

County Town/CityTullamore

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.

Irish Counties - Meath

Name in Irish: An Mhí

Otherwise known as: The Royal County

Population (approx.): 195,000

County Town/CityNavan

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.

Irish Counties - Longford

Name in Irish: Longfoirt

Otherwise known as: The Slashers

Population (approx.): 40,800

County Town/CityLongford 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’.

Irish Counties - Armagh

Name in Irish: Ard Mhacha

Otherwise known as: The Orchard County

Population (approx.): 174,800

County Town/CityArmagh

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.

The counties of Ireland - Cavan

Name in Irish: Cabháin

Otherwise known as: Breffni County

Population (approx.): 76,000

County Town/CityCavan

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.

Irish Counties - Donegal

Name in Irish: Dún na nGall

Otherwise known as: O’Donnell’s County

Population (approx.): 158,700

County Town/CityLifford

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.

The counties of Ireland - Louth

Name in Irish: Lú

Otherwise known as: The Wee County

Population (approx.): 128,400

County Town/CityDundalk

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.

The counties of Ireland - Westmeath

Name in Irish: Iarmhí

Otherwise known as: The Lake County

Population (approx.): 88,400

County Town/CityMullingar

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.

Irish Counties - Wexford

Name in Irish: Loch Garman

Otherwise known as: The Model County

Population (approx.): 145,300

County Town/CityWexford

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.

Irish Counties - Fermanagh

Name in Irish: Fear Manach

Otherwise known as: The Erne County

Population (approx.): 61,800

County Town/CityEnniskillen

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.

The counties of Ireland - Down

Name in Irish: Dún

Otherwise known as: The Mourne County

Population (approx.): 531,700

County Town/CityDownpatrick

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.

The counties of Ireland - Laois

Name in Irish: Laois

Otherwise known as: The Queen’s County

Population (approx.): 84,700

County Town/CityPortlaoise

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.

Irish Counties - Limerick

Name in Irish: Luimneach

Otherwise known as: The Treaty County

Population (approx.): 195,200

County Town/City: Limerick

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.

Irish Counties - Roscommon

Name in Irish: Ros Comáin

Otherwise known as: The Sheepstealers

Population (approx.): 64,400

County Town/CityRoscommon

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.

The counties of Ireland - Leitrim

Name in Irish: Liatroma

Otherwise known as: The Wild Rose County

Population (approx.): 31,800

County Town/CityCarrick-on-Shannon

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.

Irish Counties - Waterford

Name in Irish: Port Láirge

Otherwise known as: The Crystal County

Population (approx.): 113,795

County Town/CityDungarvan

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.

The counties of Ireland - Tipperary

Name in Irish: Thiobraid Árann

Otherwise known as: The Premier County

Population (approx.): 160,400

County Town/CityThurles

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.