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County Leitrim

County Leitrim
Contae Liatroma
Coat of arms of County Leitrim
Coat of arms
Location of County Leitrim
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
Dáil Éireann Roscommon–South Leitrim
Sligo–North Leitrim
EU Parliament Midlands–North-West
County town Carrick-on-Shannon
 • Type County Council
 • Total 1,590 km2 (610 sq mi)
Area rank 26th
Population (2011) 31,798
 • Rank 32nd
Vehicle index
mark code
Website .ie.leitrimwww

County Leitrim (pronounced , Irish: Contae Liatroma) is a county in Ireland. It is located in the Border Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the village of Leitrim. Leitrim County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 31,798 according to the 2011 census.[1]


  • Geography and political subdivisions 1
    • Baronies 1.1
    • Largest Towns in County Leitrim (2011 Census) 1.2
    • Towns & villages in north Leitrim 1.3
    • Towns & villages in south Leitrim 1.4
    • Geography 1.5
  • History 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Local government and politics 4
  • Transport 5
  • People 6
  • See also 7
  • Civil Parishes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Geography and political subdivisions

Leitrim is the 26th largest of the 32 counties by area and the smallest by population on the island.[2] It is the smallest of Connacht’s 5 counties in both size and population. Leitrim is bordered by the counties of Donegal to the north, Fermanagh to the north-east, Cavan to the east, Longford to the south, Roscommon to the south-west and Sligo to the west. Fermanagh is in Northern Ireland while all the other neighbouring counties are within the Republic.


There are five historic baronies in the county. While baronies continue to be officially defined units, they are no longer used for many administrative purposes. Their official status is illustrated by Placenames Orders made since 2003, where official Irish names of baronies are listed under "Administrative units". They are Carrigallen, Drumahaire, Leitrim, Mohill and Rosclogher.[3]

Largest Towns in County Leitrim (2011 Census)

  1. Carrick-on-Shannon, 3,980
  2. Manorhamilton, 1,336
  3. Ballinamore, 889
  4. Kinlough, 1,018
  5. Mohill, 928

Towns & villages in north Leitrim

A tour boat on Lough Gill. One of the many lakes in County Leitrim.
The ruins of Creevelea Friary, near Dromahair.
A typical country lane near Carrigallen.

Towns & villages in south Leitrim


Glencar Waterfall at Glencar Lough.

Leitrim has a hilly and mountainous landscape in its north-west and is relatively flat in the south-east, each separated from the other by Lough Allen in the middle of the county. Leitrim has the shortest length of coastline of any Irish county that touches the sea. At Tullaghan, the coastline is only 2.5 km long.[4] The Shannon is linked to the Erne via the Shannon-Erne Waterway. Notable lakes include:


Leitrim countryside.

In ancient times Leitrim formed the western half of the Kingdom of Breifne. This region was long influenced by the O'Rourke family of Dromahair, whose heraldic lion occupies the official county shield to this day. Close ties initially existed with the O'Reilly clan in the eastern half of the kingdom, however a split occurred in the 13th century and the kingdom was divided into East Breifne, now County Cavan, and West Breifne, now County Leitrim. The Normans invaded in the 13th century and occupied the south of Breifne. Much of the county was confiscated from its owners in 1620 and given to Villiers and Hamilton. Their initial objective was to plant the county with English settlers. However, this proved unsuccessful. English Deputy Sir John Perrot had ordered the legal establishment of "Leitrim County" a half-century prior, in 1565. Perrott also demarked the current county borders around 1583. Five forests are traditionally said to have stood in Leitrim up till the 17th century.

Leitrim was first hit by the recession caused by the mechanisation of linen weaving in the 1830s and its 155,000 residents (as of the 1841 census) were ravaged by the Great Famine and the population dropped to 112,000 by 1851. The population subsequently continued to decrease due to emigration. After many years, the wounds of such rapid population decline have finally started to heal. Agriculture improved over the last century. Leitrim now has the fastest growing population in Connacht.

Working of the county's rich deposits of iron ore began in the 15th century and continued until the mid 18th century. Coal mining became prominent in the 19th century to the east of Lough Allen in Sliabh an Iariann and also to the west in Arigna, on the Roscommon border. The last coal mine closed in July 1990 and there is now a visitor centre.[5] Sandstone was also quarried in the Glenfarne region. William Butler Yeats spent the turn of the twentieth century fascinated with Lough Allen and much of Leitrim. In the northwest, 11 km from Manorhamilton can be found Glencar Waterfall, which was an inspiration to Yeats and is mentioned in his poem The Stolen Child.


The Stone bridge at Drumsna that connects counties Leitrim and Roscommon.
  • Leitrim has the fastest growing population of any county in Connacht. As measured by census, the population rose by 12.2% between 2002 and 2006 to 29,000.[6]
  • 2005 HEA statistics identified that Leitrim has the highest rate of participation in higher education in the Republic with 75% of 17-19 year olds being admitted to a higher course.[7]
  • The county town is Carrick-on-Shannon (3,505 inhabitants).[8] It is a highly developed, prospering river port on the River Shannon and many tourists hire cruising boats here to explore the Shannon and the Shannon-Erne Waterway -a 63 km canal linking the two river systems. It is amongst the fastest growing towns in Ireland having grown by 25% in the past few years.[9]

Local government and politics

2009 Irish Local Elections[11]
Leitrim County Council
Party Seats Change
Fine Gael 10 + 2
Fianna Fáil 8 - 2
Sinn Féin 2 =
Independent 2 =

Leitrim County Council is the local authority for the administrative county. The county is divided into five local electoral areas for the purpose of elections:[11] Ballinamore (5 councillors), Carrick-on-Shannon (5 councillors), Dromahaire (5 councillors), and Manorhamilton (5 councillors).

The county is divided into two constituencies for elections to Dáil Éireann. They are: Roscommon-South Leitrim and Sligo-North Leitrim. This division which was first used for the 2007 general election proved highly controversial as it resulted in no TD whose domicile was in the county. As of 2011, the only Leitrim based TD is Michael Colreavy (Sinn Féin).


Bridge in Carrick-on-Shannon.


  • James Gralton - (17 April 1886–1945) was an Irish communist leader, who became a United States citizen after emigrating in 1909, and the only Irishman ever deported from Ireland. Born in Effrinagh

See also

Civil Parishes


  1. ^ Census 2011 County Leitrim Overview
  2. ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 186–191. 
  3. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland. Baronies of County Leitrim. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  4. ^ An Article on the geography/history of Leitrim
  5. ^ Sliabh an Iarainn Visitor Centre
  6. ^ Population increase in Co. Leitrim
  7. ^ HEA statistics 2005
  8. ^ "Population and area of each Province, County, City, urban area, rural area and Electoral Division, 2002 and 2006" (pdf). Census 2006, Volume 1 - Population Classified by Area.  
  9. ^ "IDA Population information on Carrick-on-Shannon". 
  10. ^ [1]for post 1821 figures 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy March 14 1865 For a discussion on the accuracy of pre-famine census returns see JJ Lee “On the accuracy of the pre-famine Irish censuses” in Irish Population Economy and Society edited by JM Goldstrom and LA Clarkson (1981) p54 in and also New Developments in Irish Population History 1700-1850 by Joel Mokyr and Cormac Ó Gráda in The Economic History Review New Series Vol. 37 No. 4 (Nov. 1984) pp. 473-488.
  11. ^ a b 2009 Local Elections – Electoral Area Details Retrieved: 2011-03-16.

External links

  • Leitrim Population Chart (1841 - 2006)

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