The traditional counties of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are 118 historic subdivisions of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. They are also known as the historic counties, or legally as the ancient or geographic counties.
The historic counties are an indelible part of the history, heritage, geography and culture of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The division of Ireland into counties began during the reign of King John (1199-1216).
The complete set of Historic Counties as they are today was laid down in 1584 (with boundaries finally settled in 1613).
As in Wales, counties were based on earlier, traditional areas.
Of the 32 Historic Counties of Ireland, 26 are in the Republic of Ireland and 6 are in Northern Ireland.
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