Geographical regions in Ireland - Reflections at the Millennium


  • Arnold Horner National University of Ireland, Dublin (UCD)



Fifty years after T.W. Freeman published Ireland: its physical, historical, social and economic geography, this article reviews the issue of dividing Ireland into regions, and proposes a 'first order" division into six major units based on a mix of landscape and lifestyle characteristics. An initial division between the city-regions and the area beyond, 'rural and small town Ireland', can by refined by identifying proto city-regions, more- and less-favoured rural regions, and regions where remoteness imposes constraints on lifestyle. Northern Ireland is seen as a distinct region because of its administrative identity and because widespread polarisations within communities pervasively influence lifestyle. Further sub-divisions based on local lifestyle and landscape can be applied to produce a total of twenty-six areal units. This style of regional division, which is largely independent of official or administrative influence, could be appropriate for describing some of the major regional contrasts prevailing in Ireland at the start of the twenty-first century.

Author Biography

Arnold Horner, National University of Ireland, Dublin (UCD)

Department of Geography



How to Cite

Horner, A. (2014). Geographical regions in Ireland - Reflections at the Millennium. Irish Geography, 33(1), 134–165.



Original Articles