Top 10 fascinating facts about Leinster you never knew

Chances are there are probably many fascinating facts about Leinster you never knew. If you’re curious about this Irish province, find out more here.

The province of Leinster is one of the four current provinces of Ireland. It is situated in the southeast and east of Ireland.

The province of Leinster has a long and interesting history, and, as such, there are many facts to learn about the province of Leinster that you most likely never knew about.

If you’re curious to learn more, read on. We are here with ten fascinating facts about Leinster you never knew.

10. Leinster’s official function in Ireland – an important role

Do you know Leinster's official function in Ireland?
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In Ireland, the province of Leinster is considered an official subdivision.

The province code for Leinster is ISO 3166-2, whereas the county sub-division code that Leinster has is IE-L.

However, Leinster has no official function for local-government purposes.

9. The population of Leinster – home to millions of people

Leinster is the province with the largest population in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

According to the 2016 census, Leinster has a population of 2,630,720 people.

This means that Leinster also takes the record for the most populous province in all of Ireland. This comes as no surprise considering it is home to Dublin, Ireland’s capital city.

8. The flag of Leinster – a golden harp on a green background

One of the facts about Leinster you never knew is about the flag.

One of the fascinating facts about Leinster you never knew is about its flag. The official flag of Leinster is unique in Ireland.

The backdrop of the flag has a dark green tone with a golden harp image emblazoned upon it.

7. The history of Leinster – an ancient kingdom

Leinster was an ancient kingdom in Ireland.

The province we know as Leinster today has its roots steeped in history.

You can trace it back to the ancient Gaelic Kingdom of Leinster, which was a smaller area back then than the size of present-day Leinster.

Back then, Viking cities, such as Dublin, Wexford, Osraige, and Meath, were not included in the Kingdom of Leinster.

6. The origin of the name Leinster – an ancient name

One of the facts about Leinster you never knew is about the origin of the name.

The name Leinster derives from the Irish words Laigin and Tir.

The region was once occupied by a big tribe called Laigin, and the word Tir translates to territory or land.

When brought together, the name means ‘territory of the Laigin’.

5. Leinster’s role in sport – provincial sporting teams

Do you know much about Leinster's role in sport?

One of the most fascinating facts about Leinster you never knew concerns sports.

Many sporting and cultural organisations in Leinster organise themselves based on provincial lines. Examples include Leinster Rugby, Leinster GAA, and Leinster Cricket Union.

4. The first King of Leinster? – king of the province

One of the facts about Leinster you never knew is about the province's first king.
Credit: / Mike Searle

In the seventh century, a man called Hugony the Great, or Laigin Úgaine Mór, became the first historical King of Leinster, or King of Laigin as it was referred to at the time.

Hugony the Great was successful in his attempts to unite the many tribes of Leinster. Many believe that he built the hill fort of Dún Ailinne, near Kilcullen in County Kildare.

3. The establishment of Leinster – a province created

County Wicklow is located in Leinster.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

The kingdom of Laigin (Leinster) was said to have been established by Cathair Mor roughly around 175 or 185 AD after civil wars had broken out throughout Ireland.

The last major boundary changes made to the province of Leinster occured with the formation of County Wicklow, between 1603 and 1606.

2. The language of Leinster – speaking both Irish and English

One of the facts about Leinster you might not know is that it has a large Irish-speaking population.
Credit: Flickr / Jay Galvin

The most commonly spoken language in Leinster is English. However, the region is home to at least 40,000 Irish speakers.

The 2016 census revealed that Dublin is home to the largest concentration of daily speakers of the Irish language in Ireland, with around 14,000 native speakers in the county.

1. How the province of Leinster came to be – the foundation of a province

Do you know about the founding of Leinster?

Topping our list of fascinating facts about Leinster you never knew is that the modern province of Leinster comprises the ancient Kingdoms of Leinster and of Meath and Osraige, which were previously smaller kingdoms in their own rights.

Following the 12th-century Norman invasion of Ireland, these kingdoms gradually merged into the present-day province of Leinster that we know today. 

That concludes our list of top ten fascinating facts about Leinster you never knew. Did you know any of them already? And are there any incredible facts that we forgot to mention?

Notable mentions

One of the facts about Leinster you never knew is about its education system.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Leinster GAA:  Leinster GAA, true to its name, is normally comprised of counties from the province of Leinster.

However, you may be surprised to discover that, on occasion, Galway, Kerry, and Antrim, all counties from other provinces, have played in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship, as has a team from London!

The participation of these counties is based on their performances in the Christy Ring Cup. From here, they can either be promoted or relegated.

The most successful sports teams in Ireland: The two most dominant teams in Ireland’s main sportsof Hurling and Gaelic Footballin recent years are the Dublin Footballers and the Kilkenny Hurlers. So, it’s safe to say Leinster has always been quite dominant in the sporting arena of Ireland.

Education: The province of Leinster also plays a massive role in the overall education system in Ireland. The country’s top four universities, Trinity, UCD, DCU, and Maynooth, are all located in Leinster. So, if you’re looking to pursue further education, setting up a home in Leinster is a good idea.

The largest city in Leinster: The largest city in Leinster also happens to be Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, which has a population of over half a million.

Finn Mac Cool: Many believe the legendary Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill held a stronghold at the Hill of Allen in Leinster.

FAQS about facts about Leinster you never knew

How populated is Leinster?

Leinster is the province with the largest population in Ireland. Over half of the overall population of the Republic of Ireland live in Leinster, with most of these residing in Dublin City.

Is Leinster the biggest province in Ireland?

Despite being the most populated province in Ireland, Leinster is not the largest province in Ireland in terms of area.

That honour goes to the province of Munster, which boasts an overall area of 24,229 square km (9354.87 square miles).

How many counties are there in Leinster?

The province of Leinster is officially divided into 12 traditional counties.

The counties that make up the province of Leinster include County Dublin, County Kildare, County Carlow, County Laois, County Kilkenny, County Longford, County Meath, County Louth, County Offaly, County Wexford, County Wicklow, and County Westmeath.