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Northern Ireland map

An 1848 map of Northern Ireland. The 1841 & 2002 population of Northern Ireiand.

Northern Ireland map 1841

The Northern Ireland map below shows the province of Ulster as it was in 1848, at the height of the famine that brought unbearable suffering to millions of people.

Death and emigration caused the population to shrink dramatically. Some counties, especially the more rural, have a considerably smaller population density in the 21st century than they did in 1841.

Even allowing for later migration to cities, the figures tell the tale of a devastated population.

Northern Ireland map showing the province of Ulster in the famine year of 1848.
Click for larger view.
Map of Northern Ireland from 1848.

The province of Ulster

In 1922 the province of Ulster was divided so that six counties now make up the separate state of Northern Ireland and are part of the UK, while three counties remain within the Republic of Ireland.
  • Republic of Ireland: Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan.
  • Northern Ireland (UK): Antrim, Armagh, Down, Derry-Londonderry, Fermanagh, Tyrone.

When conducting Irish genealogy research it is important to make the distinction between the two political states because some records are held in Belfast and others in Dublin. Knowing in which state your ancestors' county now lies can save you valuable research time.

The population of Ulster in 2002 and 1841

      County          Area in KMs2       Population 2002   
   Population 2002   
    per KM2   
   Population 1841   
    per KM2   
Antrim 2844 566,400 199 125
Armagh 1254 127,700 102 185
Derry 2074 214,800 104 107
Down 2448 416,600 170 148
Fermanagh 1691 54,200 32 93
Tyrone 3155 161,800 51 99
Cavan 1931 56,416 29 126
Donegal 4841 137,383 28 62
Monaghan 1294 52,772 41 155

Source: Republic Census 1841/Census 2002; NI estimates.

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The Ulster Way

The Ulster Way is a long distance 625 mile (1000 km) circular hiking route around Northern Ireland and takes in coastal, city, lake and rural views.

Along the way, it visits all six of the Northern Irish counties.

Ulster Way road sign

It includes the Mourne Mountains, the World Heritage Site of the Giant's Causeway, Lough Erne, Cavehill and the Sperrin Mountains, and skirts the city of Belfast. More about the Ulster Way.

Ulster Way path marker

North of Ireland Population
in 1831

County Population
Antrim 314,608
Armagh 220,651
Derry 212,416
Down 352,571
Fermanagh 149,555
Tyrone 302,943
Cavan 228,050
Donegal 298,104
Monaghan 195,532

Source: Dublin Penny Journal, Vol 1, No 14, dated 29 Sept 1832.

Total Population
of Northern Ireland (UK)

The figures below relate only to the collective totals of the six counties now in the UK ie they do not include Cavan, Donegal or Monaghan.

Year Population
1901 1,237,000
1921 1,272,000
1941 1,288,000
1961 1,427,000
1981 1,543,000
2001 1,689,300
2007 1,759,000

Source: Nisra

Best sites for Northern Irish genealogy

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By Claire Santry, Copyright© 2008-2018 Dedicated to helping YOU discover your Irish Heritage.
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