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At one time there were five provinces. The Kingdom of Meath - Midhe - was the fifth province of ancient Ireland (the Irish word for a province is 'cuige', pron:'coo-igga', meaning a fifth). The Kingdom of Meath featured prominently in the political turmoil of the 11th and 12th centuries, and was recorded as a 'shire' or county in 1297 but it was eventually 'shired' into two counties by Act of Parliament of King Henry VIII in the year 1543 - the counties so formed being known as Meath and Westmeath - which simply means the western portion of the ancient Kingdom of Meath. The ancient kingdom of Meath was comprised of the present(1892) counties of Meath, Westmeath, with parts of Dublin, Kildare, King's County (Offaly), the greater part of Longford, and small portions of Brefney and Orgiall on the borders of the present counties of Cavan and Louth and was created by taking a portion or "neck" of the other four provinces. Midhe "mee", which signifies a neck. Northern Ireland is still considered part of the province of Ulster.
From early times each province of Ireland appears to have had its own king. According to legend these kings were subject to the ardri, or monarch, to whom the central district, called Meath, was allotted, and who usually resided at Tara, a hill in present-day county Meath.
Map of Ireland showing counties and their Chapman Codes - by Brian Randell, based on a map obtained from Paddy Waldron.
|ANT, NIR - Antrim||ARM, NIR - Armagh|
|CAR, IRL - Carlow||CAV, IRL - Cavan|
|CLA, IRL - Clare||COR, IRL - Cork|
|DON, IRL - Donegal||DOW, NIR - Down|
|DUB, IRL - Dublin||FER, NIR - Fermanagh|
|GAL, IRL - Galway||KER, IRL - Kerry|
|KID, IRL - Kildare||KIK, IRL - Kilkenny|
|LDY, NIR - Derry / Londonderry||LET, IRL - Leitrim|
|LEX, IRL - Leix / Queens / Laois / Laoighis||LIM, IRL - Limerick|
|LOG, IRL - Longford||LOU, IRL - Louth|
|MAY, IRL - Mayo||MEA, IRL - Meath / Navan|
|MOG, IRL - Monaghan||OFF, IRL - Kings / Offaly|
|ROS, IRL - Roscommon||SLI, IRL - Sligo|
|TIP, IRL - Tipperary||TYR, NIR - Tyrone|
|WAT, IRL - Waterford||WEM, IRL - Westmeath|
|WEX, IRL - Wexford||WIC, IRL - Wicklow|