Partition (of Armagh) is over

Paddy over at Balrog is cock a hoop at the re-integration of the old county of Armagh. But if our resident psephologist (IDK) is right, this makes his new council area a very tightly fought battleground, where some of the smaller parties might expect consderably more influence than heretofore.

  • Keith M

    It’s great to see Irish republicans recognising that the county boundaries introduced by the English in Tudor times are still the best way of organising local government.

  • J. Walsh

    Psephologist, not sephologist.

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks J. Corrected. Long day.

  • P Ring

    At the risk of being corrected I was always under the impression that the county boundaries, rather than a Tudor English conceit, were in fact a Norman idea. Thats the Normans who integrated well into the existing Irish society and who became ‘more Irish than the Irish’.

  • slug

    Wasn’t Newry in Down?

  • Conor

    how wrong you were Keith M. thank you P Ring

  • Mick Fealty

    In defence of Keith, very little in British government administration had real substance until Henry VII.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    Newry’s a split city. The Clanrye river, which runs along the eastern edges of the town centre is the traditional dividing line between the two counties. It’s like a microcosm of the country as a whole – most of the good bits are in Armagh!

    It’s very interesting to be there when Armagh and Down meet in a big Ulster championship game. The town has four GAA clubs – three in Down, one very small one in Armagh, though there are several strong clubs on the outskirts of the town on the Armagh side.

    Can’t think of any other large towns in Ireland that are split between two counties, which is unusual given that rivers are often used as natural county boundaries. Athlone maybe? Generally thought, the boundaries cheat a little – the Bogside in Derry (ie most of the city) is geographically on Donegal’s Inishowen peninsula.

  • Keith M

    P Ring and Conor, the original idea for counties was indeed an Ango-Norman one and the first 12 counties (in Munster and southern Leinster) were indeed from that era, however the borders were not fully developed until the latter half of the 16th Century. Some county countries were marginally redrawn as recently as the 19th Century.

    However as slug points out Newry was indeed in county Down, so the premise of this thread is suspect in the extreme.

  • P Ring

    Rather than quibble further over how effective the county boundaries are, I’d like to suggest that they really have no longer any particular day-to-day significance EXCEPT (big except)for sporting purposes and I’d like to see the fuss made if Tyrone/Armagh/Derry etc etc became obsolete as regards GAA loyalties. That really would be something to make a fuss about.

    Incidentally this debate ties in with what is going on in S Kilkenny / Waterford City where proposed boundary changes are creating huge wailings, gnashings, tub-thumpings and hurley stick wavings. Maybe somebody could find an appropriate link? It’s fairly relevant.

  • Conor

    ah Billy,

    now im going to correct you son. the bogside ‘most of the city’ of Derry? come on up here now would ye and take a look. i think you’ll find thats a serious exaggeration. get your facts right in future eh?

  • Keith M

    P Ring, this has been going on for years in Limerick and Clare (some of Limerick City suburbs are in county Clare).

    I’ve done a websearch and it appears to be totally untrue that the original county Armagh is being re-instated in this shake-up.

    By the way have the new coulcil area been given names yet? I fel a contest coming on 😉

  • Conor


    on further reading of your comment i just had to laugh out loud. the bogside is now on Donegals Inishowen Peninsula?!!!! HA! get back into that geography class would ye! save yourselve considerable embarrassment in future.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    I’ll bow ot your local knowledge. The point I was making is that rivers are used as natural dividing lines between counties all over Ireland – my own county, Armagh, is bounded to the northeast by the Blackwater and to the southwest by the Clanrye, for example. Derry and Antrim are separated by the Bann.

    Now apply the same rule to the Foyle. As I said, I’ll bow to your local knowledge, but I was under the impression that most of the city is west of the Foyle? (This map suggests so:

    Derry city stands at the mouth of Lough Foyle. The western shores of Lough Foyle – which double as the eastern coast of the Inishowen peninsula – begin at Derry.

    So my point was that the logic of dividing towns and cities according to geographical phenomena such has rivers would lead one to conclude that either the Foyle should be the boundary between Derry and Donegal – meaning most of the city would be in Co Donegal – or else Inishowen should be Co Derry.

    But it’s all just a bit of idle banter. Everyone knows counties aren’t drawn up according to geography any more. Nah, it’s the stroke of a minister’s pen now…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Oh, and check out this map.

    There’s Derry city, further north than Newtowncunningham. Look’s like Derry city’s at the base of the Inishowen peninsula to me.

    But I’ll bow to your local knowledge.

  • Decko

    Pah! Newry!
    Don’t forget that we Co. Downers also have half (well a bit of) Belfast!

  • Brian Boru

    “Can’t think of any other large towns in Ireland that are split between two counties, which is unusual given that rivers are often used as natural county boundaries. Athlone maybe? Generally thought, the boundaries cheat a little – the Bogside in Derry (ie most of the city) is geographically on Donegal’s Inishowen peninsula.”

    Well there’s Pettigoe half of which is in Donegal and half of which is in Fermanagh.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Can’t think of any other large towns in Ireland that are split between two counties,


  • “Lisburn”

    He didn’t say Belfast city suburbs 😉

  • Fraggle

    I think Billy means Derry’s ‘Cityside’ rather than ‘Bogside’.

  • Betty Boo

    Just something I had to drow in:

    … Regarding its southern boundary we learn, by the Ordnance Survey that, ‘ about half the parish of Templemore, or what is generally called the northern liberties of Londonderry, was compromised in Inishowen, before the formation of the County of Londonderry, as is evident from an inquisition taken in Derry in the seventh year of the reign of James I., from which it appears that a jury composed of resident English and ancient Irish natives, of the principal septs of the district, ‘did upon their oaths find and present that the auncient and knowne meares of the country of Inishowen, alias O’Dogherties countrey, to the south and south-east, are and have been, tyme out of mynde, as followeth, viz., from the part or branch of Lough Swilly, on the weste and south-west parte of Birt, thorough the midst of a bog which extendeth to Lough Lappan from a well or spring upon Mullaghknockemona, and from the topp of that mountayne the meare extended through a small bog, which runneth alonge the top of the hill of Ardenemahill, and soe to the top of the hill Knockenagh, upon the easte part of which hill ariseth the streame of Altbally M’Rowertie, which runneth a meare betweene Bally Mac Rowertie in Inishowen, and parte of the landes of the Derry and Garrowgarle to the cawsy under Ellogh, and so down thorough the bog to Lough Swilly, and from the foresaid cawsy the meare of Inishowen aforesaid is thorough the midst of the Bog to Lough Foile.’”

    (From “ Inishowen: Its History, Traditions, And Antiquities” by Maghtochair; 1867)

  • Ciarán Irvine

    Betty Boo: Interesting stuff. That would put places like Ballymagroarty, Templemore, Galliagh, Carnhill, Shantallow, Steelstown and then north to Thornhill and Culmore Point as historically Inishowen…and probably supposed to be in Co Donegal!

    I always knew I was really a Donegal man 🙂

  • PS

    In my belated defence, the comment highlighted was hardly the most serious of my opinions and in any case with the Orchard re-united, it is only a minor concern that this great new entity will be sullied in some manner by the inclusion of parts of certain counties which are better off left unnamed (if Hain had stuck us in with Tyrone then Balrog’s fury meter would be off the scale!)

    Keith is of course right in that counties are indeed a Tudor construct. Lets just thank Elizabeth that it was 32 counties she created – perfect for the formation of the Qualifiers!


    Are you referring to Corrinshego as the Newry club playing in Armagh?

  • Conor


    thank you, i think thats what the ‘know it all’ was meaning to say.