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Short History of Connaught

The Province of Connaught

The smallest and most westerly of the four provinces. It includes counties Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon and Leitrim.

The province was named after the Connachta, the large tribal group which dominated west Ireland around the time of Christ.They claimed descent from Conn, brother of Eogan, the ancestor of the rulers of Munster, the Eoghanachta. The Connachta tribe included Uí Néill, Uí Brion and Uí Fiachra,

Uí Brion and Uí Fiachra were kenfolk of Uí Néill based at Tara in Co. Meath were dynastic kings of Connacht from the fourth century down to the arrival of the Normans in the late twelfth century, when the entire territory was granted to the Norman de Burgos.

Because of their remoteness and the relative poverty of the land, counties of Connacht, together with Co. Clare, were excluded from the confiscations of the Cromwellian era, and became a refuge for those dispossessed elsewhere. By the nineteenth century the region was densely populated and desperately poor, with the result that its people suffered greatly from the Famine and emigrations to follow.