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Ancient and Current divisions of Ireland

Discussion in 'Ireland' started by Bob Spiers, Nov 30, 2021.

  1. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I found these interesting maps posted on Facebook 'The Brehon Academy' depicting the old and new Ireland as it related to Ancient Divisions compared to the new. The maps are self explanatory, but read the text below the maps which explains how MEATH (the 5th division) was later absorbed into LEINSTER, part of which is County Westmeath.


    Along with Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connacht, Meath was once a provincial kingdom of Ireland. And it was perhaps the most significant of the five since it was here that the Ard-Rí or High King of all Ireland sat at the Hill of Tara.

    It was also the home of the Hill of Uisneach and Ail na Míreann; the 'stone of divisions', considered the meeting point of the five provincial kingdoms, and 'navel of all Ireland'. Now found in county Westmeath; a placename derived from the fact that it was once simply the western part of the provincial kingdom of Meath.

    Even in today's Ireland of just four provinces (Ulster now largely Northern Ireland) the Irish word for a province is still 'cúige', meaning a 'fifth'.
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  2. Bob, thanks for posting this amazing find. I can now say without a doubt that my paternal uncle was fibbing when he said we were descended from the king and queen of Ireland. Because a) wrong name and b) wrong place.
  3. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Star

    I am finding it a bit strange, as it shows Cavan as being in Northern Ireland. However, we visited Bailieborough, which is supposed to be in County Cavan, (and from where my husband's family emigrated) and did not cross any border from Ireland into the North.
    We also visited Tara and a few other places in the short time we had.
  4. You are right Beth, County Cavan IS in the Republic of Ireland. The map appears to be incorrect.
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  5. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    With respect, I think that the colouring of Ulster is confusing. At school, I was taught that Ulster was the same as Northern Ireland and that Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan are indeed in the Republic of Ireland. The map does show the boarder with Northern Ireland separately as a dark dashed line enclosing just 6 counties with initials of F A T L A D ie Fermanagh, Armagh, Tyrone, Londonderry, Antrim, Down.

    Perhaps 'current' was so about a hundred years ago?
  6. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    You are both correct, County Cavan is part of the border region in the PROVINCE of Ulster and comes under the Republic of Ireland. It is one of 3 counties in the Province of Ulster that did NOT become Northern Ireland.

    Provinces I remind have no official status government wise and Ulster itself is a political hot potato as staunch Unionists still refer to Northern Ireland as Ulster for their own reasons which I will not go into. The 6 counties of Northern Ireland (in the Province of Ulster) are Londonderry, Antrim, Down, Tyrone, Armagh & Fermanagh and those allotted to the Republic of Ireland, Cavan, Monaghan & Donegal (which had majority Catholic inhabitants)

    Ps Remember the division of Ireland in 1922 was a political one and Catholics and Protestants to this day have strong opinions about the rights and wrongs of how Ireland was divided. For instance Catholics refer to Londonderry as 'Derry' disassociating themselves from 'London'. There are similar areas of unrest on both sides of the border.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
  7. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Almost certainly and perhaps even on the head (pre 1922)
  8. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    My own Irish Ancestry traces back to my paternal 3rd Great Grandparents, mainly from the Province of Connaught (later spelled Connacht), now in the Republic of Ireland. Connacht has 5 counties Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon & Sligo. My ancestors were almost exclusively from Co. Galway (East & West in ecclesiastical and civil divisions) - with the occasional overlap into Roscommon.

    When speaking in general terms I always say my ancestors came from Galway and the Province seldom gets mention. Likewise Baronies as divisions of Counties although they may show on Censuses (such that exist). What are important in research is narrowing things down to Parishes which can be Civil or Religious (often bearing the same name), then a particular Town or Village and perhaps a Townland. All of which can be very confusing and daunting, but at the very least you need to pinpoint an area, and ideally a county.
  9. Margery

    Margery LostCousins Member

    My husband's paternal line comes from Killeshandra in County Cavan. We knew very little about the family and I had done only a little research when we visited there in 1991. Much to our surprise we found "......'s Hotel" on the main street. It transpired that the publican was my husband's second cousin. We met other family members and visited the family home. They were aware that a great uncle had gone to the Australian goldfields in the 1880s' but knew nothing further about him. Needless to say we filled in the details and we have kept in touch with various members of the family.
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  10. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    It's a very interesting map - I would love to manage to locate my "Irish" ancestors - they appeared in Scotland around 1825, so I know my chances are slim. I say "Irish" since I have a sneaking suspicion they may well have been Ulster Scots!
  11. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Yes it is an interesting map, to me specially, but with hindsight may have confused those who are trying to relate to post 1922 Ireland depicting the division of Ulster, and other boundary changes. Perhaps I should have posted a third map of Ireland as it is today, but there are plenty available online after a Google search.

    Yes many Lowland Scots settled in Ulster when it had 9 counties and all the counties were involved. In time both they and their distinctive language/dialect became labelled as Ulster Scots. Let me just say Irish research isn't easy at best -such as when you have a county starting point like I had with Galway - because it still took a deal of research (and not a little bit of Irish 'luck') to be able to pinpoint just where in Galway. It will be the same for you and whilst it may be a fair bet they settled within Protestant communities (they were likely Presbyterian themselves) and even in one of the 6 counties of Ulster that ended up in Northern Ireland, it cannot be taken as read. There are avenues open and perhaps surname(s) will play a part or making contact with Ulster Scots communities. It is often trial and error but good luck anyway.
  12. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    I don't know the Irish county that my ancestors lived in. There are suggestions it could have been either Antrim or Armagh, but no records that I have managed to find. I've never got past a simple "Ireland". It was the spelling of their surname (Wright) that suggests that they were Ulster Scots. Apparently it's a Scottish spelling.
  13. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Not so sure about it being solely Scottish jorghes as it could likely be derived from the 'wright' of a tradesman working in wood (e.g. Shipwright). "He was a well good wright, a carpenter"... -Chaucer-Canterbury Tales). The surname is shown popular in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (that bit in your favour and perhaps why you latch onto Ulster Scots). I see it is labelled 35th in the table of popular surnames from a Census survey (not sure which one). So, as you undoubtedly know, you will need a little more than the spelling to go on.

    Obscurely I read "Wright can sometimes arise from anglicisation of the Scottish Gaelic name MacIntyre, which in English means 'son of the wright'". Not quite so obscure is its suggested origin from the Old English word 'wrytha' meaning a woodworker or woodshaper and later broadened to mean any occupational worker. And whilst on the obscure, Wright in Irish (Gaelic) is tSaoir. Make of all that what you will!

    In short most Trees will have 'Wright' families (same spelling). My own 10 dating back to a 7th Great grandfather (c1700) and his daughter Elizabeth (1725). My wife's much smaller Tree has but 4 and coincidentally (but not too surprisingly) an Elizabeth Wright c1740. My Wrights are from Warwickshire and my wife's from Northamptonshire.

    Depending on the reliability of your 'suggestions' for their county of settlement (Antrim or Armagh) you will have your work cut out but on the basis of a 'nod is as good as a wink' you can search for Family History and Ulster Scots Societies in those area as a starting point.

    Other than that you may find these links of use (General Register Office Northern Ireland) GRONI and (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland) PRONI. For an all Ireland search (prior to 1922) I suggest National Library of Ireland and this link where you can isolate Catholic parish registers NLI (Hope the links work)
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  14. Margery

    Margery LostCousins Member

    Yes, Bob the links work, it's a pity that the images aren't clearer, though.:(
  15. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Not sure which of the 3 links you refer to, but the NLI one allowing you to seek out a parish seems reasonably clear to me. You can always zoom using CTL and the mouse wheel, or sometimes even just the wheel, or by using the zoom facility of your browser. (I often do this for my own eye comfort). However I have not interrogated them all, and the Northern Ireland ones but rarely, so it is what it is I'm afraid.o_O
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  16. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I should have mentioned that Irish Catholic Registers can also be browsed on FMP via their Record Sets. But what I really wanted was to point you in the direction of a useful Irish Site which is free - IrelandXO I found this site very useful in the past and certainly to be recommended as a starter to research Irish ancestry. You simply register and explore.
  17. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    I can't remember what I was reading which suggested that Wright (in the Irish context) was likely to be a Scottish spelling. I know that it's not a uniquely Scottish spelling when it comes to the entire British Isles.

    My earliest Irish ancestors are Robert Wright (c. 1776) and his son John (c.1796), and Robert's wife Elizabeth Sands (?) and John's wife, Elizabeth Tait (c.1805) and her parents Andrew Tait (c.1781) and Mary Anne Caldwell (c.1785). Other the emigrating to the USA (and eventually to Australia) both families remained in Scotland.
    This is my grandmother's paternal ancestors (and I have been lucky enough to DNA test her) - and her DNA is 46% Scottish (purely from this side of the family), with only 2% Irish. Her grandparents are the following: 2 Scottish, 1 English and 1 Jewish. So at this point all evidence is suggesting to me that it is likely that these Irish ancestors are most likely Ulster Scots.
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