Leinster (/ˈlɛnstər/ — Irish: Laighin / Cúige Laighean — pronounced [ˈl̪ˠaːjɪnʲ] / [ˈkuːɟə ˈl̪ˠaːjɪnˠ]) is one of the Provinces of Ireland situated in the east of Ireland. It comprises the ancient Kingdoms of Mide, Osraige and Leinster. Following the 12th-century Norman invasion of Ireland, the historic fifths of Leinster and Mide gradually merged, mainly due to the impact of the Pale, which straddled both, thereby forming the present-day province of Leinster. The ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial purposes. In later centuries, local government legislation has seen further sub-division of the historic counties.
Leinster has no official function for local-government purposes. However, the province is an officially recognised subdivision of Ireland. It is listed on ISO 3166-2 as one of the four provinces of Ireland and "IE-L" is attributed to Leinster as its country sub-division code.
Leinster had a population of 2,630,720 according to the preliminary results of the 2016 census, making it the most populous province in the country. The traditional flag of Leinster features a golden harp on a green background.
|• Teachtaí Dála||29 Fine Gael TDs|
18 Fianna Fáil TDs
14 Sinn Féin TDs
8 Independent TDs
5 Labour Party TDs
5 AAA-PBP TDs
2 Social Democrats TDs
2 Green Party TDs
|• MEPs[a]||4 Fine Gael MEPs|
3 Sinn Féin MEP
4 Independent MEPs
|• Total||19,800 km2 (7,644 sq mi)|
|• Total||2,630,720 (1st)|
|• Density||126.5/km2 (328/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC±0 (WET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (IST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IE-L|
|Patron Saint: Brigid a. ^ Leinster contains the entirety of the Dublin constituency and parts of the South and Midlands–North-West constituencies; Leinster contains 49.8% of the population of the Midlands–North-West constituency and 25.9% of the population of the South constituency.|
The Gaelic Kingdom of Leinster before 1171, considerably smaller than the present-day province, usually did not include certain territories such as Meath, Osraige or the Viking cities of Wexford and Dublin. The first part of the name Leinster derives from Laigin, the name of a major tribe that once inhabited the area. The latter part of the name derives either from the Irish tír or from the Old Norse staðr, both of which translate as "land" or "territory".
Úgaine Mór (Hugony the Great), who supposedly built the hill-fort of Dún Ailinne, near Kilcullen in County Kildare, united the tribes of Leinster. He is a likely, but uncertain candidate as the first historical king of Laigin (Leinster) in the 7th century BC. Circa 175/185 AD, following a period of civil wars in Ireland, the legendary Cathair Mor re-founded the kingdom of Laigin. The legendary Finn Mac Cool, or Fionn mac Cumhaill, reputedly built a stronghold at the Hill of Allen, on the edge of the Bog of Allen, in what was then Leinster.
In the 4th and 5th centuries AD, after Magnus Maximus had left Britain in 383 AD with his legions, leaving a power vacuum, colonists from Laigin settled in North Wales, specifically in Anglesey, Carnarvonshire and Denbighshire. In Wales some of the Leinster-Irish colonists left their name on the Llŷn Peninsula (in Gwynedd), which derives its name from Laigin. In the 5th century, the emerging Uí Néill dynasties from Connacht conquered areas of Westmeath, Meath and Offaly from the Uí Enechglaiss and Uí Failge of the Laigin. Uí Néill Ard Righ attempted to exact the Boroimhe Laighean (cattle-tribute) from the Laigin from that time, in the process becoming their traditional enemies.
By the 8th century the rulers of Laigin had split into two dynasties:
After the death of the last Kildare-based King of Laigin, Murchad Mac Dunlainge in 1042, the kingship of Leinster reverted to the Uí Cheinnselaig sept based in the south east in present-day County Wexford. This southern dynasty provided all the later Kings of Leinster.
Leinster represents the extended "English Pale", counties controlled directly from Dublin, at the beginning of the 1600s. The other three Provinces had their own regional Presidency systems, based on a Welsh model of administration, in theory if not in fact from the 1570s and 1580s up to the 1670s, and were considered separate entities. Gradually "Leinster" subsumed the term of "The Pale", as the kingdom was pacified and the difference between the old Pale area and the wider province, now also under English administration, grew less distinct.
The expansion of the province took in the territory of the ancient Kingdom of Mide encompassing much of present-day counties Meath, Westmeath and Longford with five west County Offaly baronies. Local lordships were incorporated during the Tudor conquest of Ireland and subsequent plantation schemes.
Other boundary changes included County Louth, officially removed from Ulster in 1596, the baronies of Ballybritt and Clonlisk (formerly Éile Uí Chearbhaill in the county palatine of Tipperary) in Munster becoming part of Leinster in 1606, and the 'Lands of Ballymascanlon' transferred from Armagh to Louth circa 1630. The provincial borders were redrawn by Cromwell for administration and military reasons, and the Offaly parishes of Annally and Lusmagh, formerly part of Connacht, were transferred in 1660.
The last major boundary changes within Leinster occurred with the formation of County Wicklow (1603–1606), from lands in the north of Carlow (which previously extended to the sea) and most of southern Dublin. Later minor changes dealt with "islands" of one county in another. By the late 1700s, Leinster looked as shown in the above map of 1784.
Following the abolition of County Dublin, three successor counties were created that cover the same area. They are Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin. To these may be added the historic County Corporate of the city of Dublin, which, under the terms of the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 was abolished to be succeeded by the County borough of Dublin. This was in turn abolished under the terms of the Local Government Act 2001 and the area is now under the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council. The remaining counties of the province are Kildare, Offaly, Laois, Wexford, Carlow, Wicklow, Louth, Meath, Westmeath, Longford and Kilkenny. While Kilkenny city was once a county corporate, by the terms of the 1898 Act it became part of the administrative county. although it retains the privilege of calling itself a city.
As is the norm for language in Ireland, English is the primary spoken language, but there is an active Irish-speaking minority in the province. According to the Census of Ireland of 2011, there were 18,947 daily speakers of Irish in Leinster outside the education system, including 1,299 native speakers in the small Gaeltacht of Ráth Chairn. As of 2011, there were 19,348 students attending the 66 Gaelscoils (Irish-language primary schools) and 15 Gaelcholáistí (Irish-language secondary schools) in the province, primarily in the Dublin area.
While Leinster GAA is made-up primarily of the traditional counties of the province, GAA teams from Galway, Kerry and Antrim have played in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship, as has a team from London; Galway won the title in 2012. Participation of these counties is based on their performances in the Christy Ring Cup.
As of the 2016 census, the larger settlements in Leinster included:
|#||Settlement||County||Municipal District Pop.||Settlement Pop.||Former Legal Town Pop.|
|1||Dublin City||County Dublin||1,347,359||1,173,179||554,554|
which gives "Leinster" as the official English name of the Province and "Laighin" as the official Irish name of the Province and cites "Ordnance Survey Office, Dublin 1993"
(References to Irish colony in North Wales, Lleyn Peninsula)
Murchad, that Ui Dunlainge king who founded an unbroken rotational line of Leinster kings which lasted from 715 to 1042
Leinster from the death of Toirdhealbhach O’Connor in 1156 to the establishment, in 1606, of County Wicklow – the last Irish and Leinster county to be created
Brian Gerard O'Driscoll (born 21 January 1979) is a retired Irish professional rugby union player. He played at outside centre for the Irish provincial team Leinster and for Ireland. He captained Ireland from 2003 until 2012, and captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand. He is regarded by critics as one of the greatest rugby players of all time.O'Driscoll is the second most-capped player in rugby union history, having played 141 test matches: 133 for Ireland (83 as captain), and 8 for the British and Irish Lions. He scored 46 tries for Ireland and 1 try for the Lions in 2001, making him the highest try scorer of all time in Irish Rugby. He is the 8th-highest try scorer in international rugby union history, and the highest scoring centre of all time.
O'Driscoll holds the Six Nations record for most tries scored with 26. He has scored the most Heineken Cup tries (30) by an Irishman. O'Driscoll was chosen as Player of the Tournament in the 2006, 2007 and 2009 Six Nations Championships.He was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame on 17 November 2016 at the opening ceremony for the Hall's first location in Rugby, Warwickshire.O'Driscoll was involved in Irish Rugby's unsuccessful bid to hold the 2023 World Cup. He now works as a rugby analyst for BT Sport and ITV Sport in the United Kingdom.Carlow GAA
The Carlow County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Luthchleas Gael Coiste Ceatharlach) or Carlow GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Carlow and the Carlow inter-county teams.
The Carlow Senior footballers compete in the Leinster Senior Football Championship and in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League for 2019. The Carlow Senior hurling team compete in the Joe McDonagh Cup, the second tier of the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship. Carlow's senior hurlers will also compete in Division 1B of the National Hurling League in 2019.Dublin GAA
The Dublin County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Luthchleas Gael Coiste Contae Átha Cliath) or Dublin GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in the Dublin Region and the Dublin inter-county teams.
The Dublin Gaelic football team is the Best GAA team in terms of attendance which is made up of 286 clubs (2015 GAA affiliation statistics). The team and its fans are known as "The Dubs" or “Boys in Blue”. The fans have a special affiliation with the Hill 16 end of Croke Park.European Rugby Champions Cup
The European Rugby Champions Cup (known as the Heineken Champions Cup for sponsorship reasons) is an annual rugby union tournament organised by European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). It is the top-tier competition for clubs whose countries' national teams compete in the Six Nations Championship. Clubs qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup via their final positions in their respective national/regional leagues (Gallagher Premiership, TOP 14, and Guinness Pro14) or via winning the second-tier Challenge Cup; those who do not qualify are instead eligible to compete in the second-tier Challenge Cup.
Between 1995 and 2014, the competition was known as the Heineken Cup but was changed to European Rugby Champions Cup, following disagreements between its shareholders over the structure and governance of the competition. Heineken returned as sponsor for the 2018–19 season, running the competition alongside the EPCR, resulting in the competition being known as the Heineken Champions Cup.
Leinster are the current holders of the title, having won their fourth title by beating Racing 92 in the 2018 final. Leinster Rugby and Toulouse have both won the competition a record four times.Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan "Johnny" Sexton is an Irish rugby union player. He plays fly-half for Leinster Rugby and Ireland. Sexton has been the Captain of Leinster since 2018 and is also one of Ireland's two Vice-Captains internationally, having made his debut for Ireland in 2009. He has also previously represented the British and Irish Lions in both 2013 and 2017 and has scored over 700 points in his international career, making him one of the highest points-scorers in rugby union history.
Sexton was the winner of World Rugby Player of the Year in 2018, having previously been a nominee for the award in 2014. He is only the second Irish player in history to win the award, after inaugural winner, Keith Wood, in 2001.Kilkenny GAA
The Kilkenny County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (Kilkenny GAA) (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Coiste Cill Chainnigh) is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland and is responsible for Gaelic Games in County Kilkenny. The county board has its head office and main grounds at Nowlan Park and is also responsible for Kilkenny inter-county teams in all codes at all levels. The Kilkenny branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in 1887.
In hurling, the dominant sport in the county, Kilkenny compete annually in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, which they have won thirty-six times, the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship, which they have won seventy one times, and the National Hurling League, which they have won eighteen times. Brian Cody has been manager of the Kilkenny senior hurling team since the 1999 championship. Cillian Buckley is senior hurling captain for the 2018 season. Ballyhale Shamrocks county champions nominated T.J. Reid as senior hurling captain for the 2019 season.Laois GAA
The Laois County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Luthchleas Gael Coiste Laois) or Laois GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Laois and the Laois inter-county teams.Leinster GAA
The Leinster Council is a Provincial council of the Gaelic Athletic Association sports of hurling, Gaelic football, camogie, rounders and handball in the province of Leinster. The Leinster Council has been partnered with the European County Board to help develop Gaelic Games in Europe. Leinster Council's main contribution to this goal is the provision of referees.Leinster House
Leinster House (Irish: Teach Laighean) is the seat of the Oireachtas, the parliament of Ireland.
Leinster House was originally the ducal palace of the Dukes of Leinster. Since 1922, it is a complex of buildings, of which the former ducal palace is the core, which house Oireachtas Éireann, its members and staff. The most recognisable part of the complex, and the "public face" of Leinster House, continues to be the former ducal palace at the core of the complex.Leinster Rugby
Leinster Rugby (Irish: Rugbaí Laighean) is one of the four professional provincial rugby teams from the island of Ireland and the most successful Irish team both domestically and in European competition. They compete in the Pro14 and the European Rugby Champions Cup (where their 4th title, achieved in 2018, ties the record for that competition alongside Toulouse). The team represents the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) Leinster Branch, which is one of four primary branches of the IRFU and is responsible for rugby union throughout the geographical Irish province of Leinster.
Leinster play their home games primarily at the RDS Arena, although larger games are played in the Aviva Stadium when the capacity of the RDS is insufficient. Before moving to the RDS in 2005, Leinster's traditional home ground was Donnybrook Stadium, in Dublin 4. The province plays primarily in blue and the team crest features a harp within a rugby ball, the harp being taken from the flag of Leinster.
Leinster turned professional along with its fellow Irish provinces in 1995 and has competed in the Pro14 (formerly known as the Celtic League and the Pro12) since it was founded in 2001, having previously competed in the annual Irish interprovincial championship. Leinster "A" competed in the British and Irish Cup, winning the competition twice, before entering the Celtic Cup in 2018, winning the inaugural edition.
Leinster have five times been Pro14 champions, once European Challenge Cup winners and four times the champions of Europe.Leinster Senior Cup (association football)
The Leinster Senior Cup is an association football cup competition organized by the Leinster Football Association. It is currently contested by LFA affiliated League of Ireland clubs, Leinster Senior League Senior Division clubs and invited teams from the various LFA affiliated junior leagues. Before the introduction of the FAI Cup, it was considered the major cup competition for clubs in what is now the Republic of Ireland. It is also the oldest association football cup competition in the Republic of Ireland.Leinster Senior Football Championship
The Leinster Senior Football Championship (sponsored by Toyota, Ulster Bank, Vodafone) is the premier "knockout" competition in the game of Gaelic football played in the province of Leinster in Ireland. The series of games are organised by the Leinster Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association and are played during the summer months. The competition involves the counties of Leinster playing against each other. The Leinster Football Final is played in July in Croke Park, Dublin. The winning county is presented with the Delaney Cup, named after a famous Laois GAA family, and advance to the quarter finals of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.
Dublin are the most successful county, having won the championship on 55 separate occasions, more than twice as many as their nearest rivals Meath, although Wexford won 6 consecutive championships between 1913 and 1918, a feat equalled by Kildare between 1926 and 1931. It was unequalled by any other team, until Dublin won their own 6-in-a-row between 1974 and 1979. Dublin have won 8 Leinster championships in a row between 2011 - 2018.
The Leinster Football Championship is run on a knock-out basis, whereby a team is eliminated from the competition once they lose. All of the counties of Leinster except Kilkenny participate in the championship. The draw is seeded, with the previous year's semi-finalists getting byes to the quarter-finals. Six of the remaining seven teams are drawn for three preliminary round matches, while the seventh team also gets a bye to the quarter-finals.Leinster Senior Hurling Championship
The Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship, known simply as the Leinster Championship, is an annual inter-county hurling competition organised by the Leinster Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). It is the highest inter-county hurling competition in the province of Leinster, and has been contested every year since the 1888 championship.
The final, usually held on the first Sunday in July, serves as the culmination of a series of games played during May and June, and the results determine which team receives the Bob O'Keeffe Cup. The championship was previously played on a straight knockout basis whereby once a team lost they were eliminated from the championship, however, as of 2018 the championship will use a round-robin system.
The Leinster Championship is an integral part of the wider GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship. The winners of the Leinster final, like their counterparts in the Munster Championship, are rewarded by advancing directly to the semi-final stage of the All-Ireland series of games. The losers of the Leinster final enter the All-Ireland series at the quarter-final stage, while the third-placed team advances to the preliminary quarter-finals.
Five teams currently participate in the Leinster Championship. The most successful team in hurling, namely Kilkenny, play their provincial hurling in the Leinster Championship. They have won the provincial title on 71 occasions while they have also claimed 36 All-Ireland titles.
Fifteen teams have competed since the inception of the Leinster Championship in 1888. The title has been won at least once by six teams, all of whom have won the title more than once. Galway are the current champions.List of kings of Leinster
The following is a provisional list of the Kings of Leinster who ruled the Irish kingdom of Leinster (or Laigin) up to 1632 with the death of Domhnall Spainneach Mac Murrough Caomhanach, the last legitimately inaugurated head of the MacMurrough Kavanagh royal line. However, not last of the Leinster royal line. Today's province of Leinster is considerably larger than the former kingdom.Offaly GAA
For more details of Offaly GAA see Offaly Senior Football Championship or Offaly Senior Hurling Championship.The Offaly County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Luthchleas Gael Coiste Uíbh Fhailí) or Offaly GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Offaly. Separate county boards are also responsible for the Offaly inter-county teams.Pro14
The Pro14 (known as the Guinness PRO14 for sponsorship reasons) is an annual rugby union competition involving professional sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. The league is one of the three major professional leagues in Europe (along with the English Premiership and the French Top 14), the most successful European teams from which go forward to compete in the European Rugby Champions Cup, the pan-European championship which replaced the Heineken Cup after the 2013–14 season.
Beginning with the creation of the Welsh-Scottish League in 1999, the league would become known as the Celtic League when it grew to include teams from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The league was sponsored by Irish cider makers Magners from the 2006–07 season until 2010–11. At the start of the 2010–11 season, the league expanded from 10 to 12 teams, adding two Italian teams. Following the end of Magners' sponsorship, the league was sponsored by RaboDirect from 2011–12 through to 2013–14. The Pro12 name was adopted in 2011 to reflect that the league now included teams from outside the Celtic nations. A further expansion to 14 teams took place from the 2017–18 season, with two South African teams joining the league. The current sponsorship deal with Guinness commenced at the beginning of the 2014–15 season.Provinces of Ireland
Since the early 17th-century there have been four Provinces of Ireland: Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. The Irish word for this territorial division, cúige, meaning "fifth part", indicates that there were once five, however in the medieval period there were more. The number of provinces and their delimitation fluctuated until 1610 when they were permanently set by the English administration of James I. The provinces of Ireland no longer serve administrative or political purposes, but function as historical and cultural entities.Westmeath GAA
The Westmeath County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Coiste Chontae na hIarmhí) or Westmeath GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Westmeath. The county board is also responsible for the Westmeath inter-county teams.Wexford GAA
For more information see Wexford Senior Hurling Championship and Wexford Senior Football ChampionshipThe Wexford County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Luthchleas Gael Coiste Chontae Loch Garman) or Wexford GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Wexford. The county board is also responsible for the Wexford inter-county teams.
Wexford is one of the few counties to have won the All-Ireland Senior Championship in both football and hurling. Wexford have won five Football Championships, with the most recent in 1918.
The counties are listed per province