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Search County Wicklow Ireland Maps To Help You Find Your Ancestors
The first thing a person must learn about when starting Irish research is the system of Irish land divisions. The following text and maps will explain the basic system of land division in Ireland. It is not intended to be the definitive work on the subject.
There are four provinces in Ireland. Connaught ~ Leinster ~ Munster and Ulster. Provinces are the largest land division in Ireland and are based on the ancient Irish kingdoms. These ancient territories were controlled by four important Irish families. O'Connor in Connaught, MacMurrough in Leinster, O'Brien in Munster, O'Neill in Ulster.
There are 32 Counties in Ireland. The county is the principal unit of local government. There are 26 Counties in the Republic of Ireland and 6 counties in Northern Ireland.
There are 331 Baronies in Ireland and 8 in County Wicklow. The 8 County wiclow Baronies are Arklow, Ballinacor North, Ballinacor South, Newcastle, Rathdown, Shiffelagh, Lower Talbotstown and Upper Talbotstown. They are no longer in use in Ireland today but are important for the study of Irish genealogy.
Based on early medieval monastic and early Christian church settlements in Ireland. The Civil Parishes were the major administrative division until 1898.
POOR LAW UNION
The Poor Relief Act of 1838 created 130 Poor Law Unions. These unions were almost always centered around a large town and had boundaries that overlapped county boundaries. By 1850 there were 163 poor law unions. The Local Government Act of 1898 used the Poor Law Unions as the new basic administrative unit in Ireland. Replacing the old civil parishes and baronies. The unions were then subdivided into 829 Registration Districts and 3751 District Electoral Divisions.
There are more than 64,000 Townlands in Ireland. They are the smallest and the oldest Irish administrative division. Townlands were known to have existed before the 12th century, when some are found listed as Church property In origin they seem to be to be like the Old English hide, “the amount of land which would support a family and its dependents, and to other medieval land divisions such as ploughlands and quarters, townlands vary in size, from a single acre or less to several thousand, but on average each one covers about 350 acres. Anything from 5 to 30 townlands may be grouped together to form a civil parish. One has to be careful as many townlands share the same name. As the townlands are of such a great age the name of each was often derived from some local feature or landmark such as a forest or mountain. The townland names were originally in Irish Gaelic, but they became modified over the centuries. The townland became the standard unit of measurement during the seventeenth century. They were used as the smallest geographical unit in both Tithe Survey, Griffith's Evaluation and census returns, and they are still in use today.
PARISH (ROMAN CATHOLIC)
The Roman Catholic Church developed its own parish structure in the 16th century. Many parishes were just small villages with a church and a clergyman. Larger towns and cities would contain several parishes.
In the 12th century a diocesan structure of four provinces was adopted. Armagh, Cashel, Dublin, and Tuam With each province headed by an Archbishop. Under each Archbishop was 22 bishops, each of them was in charge of a diocese. Remarkably the boundaries of each of the diocese have remained the same and are used by both the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.
View a Map of Barionies and Civil Parishes County Wicklow
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