County Dublin

DUBLIN (County of), a maritime county of the province of LEINSTER, bounded on the east by the Irish Sea, on the north and west by the county of Meath, on the west and south-west by that of Kildare, and on the south by that of Wicklow. It extends from 53° 10' to 53° 37' (N. lat.), and from 6° 4' to 6° 36' (W. lon.), and comprises an area, according to the Ordnance survey, of 240,204 statute acres, of which 229,292 acres are cultivated land, and the remainder unprofitable bog and mountain. The population, in 1821, exclusively of the metropolis, was 150,011, and in 1831, 183,042.

The earliest inhabitants of this tract of whom we have any authentic notice were a native people designated by Ptolemy Blanii or Eblani, who occupied also the territory forming the present county of Meath, and whose capital city was Eblana, presumed on good authority to have been on the site of the present city of Dublin. By some writers it is stated that in subsequent remote ages the part of the county lying south and east of the river Liffey formed part of the principality of Croigh Cuolan; while that to the north was included in the principality of Midhe, or Meath.

The Eblani, whatever may have been their origin, probably enjoyed peaceable possession of the soil until the commencement of the Danish ravages, and the seizure and occupation of Dublin by these fierce invaders. At this era, the tract now described experienced its full share of calamities, until the celebrated battle of Clontarf, which terminated in the overthrow of the military power of the Ostmen in Ireland. But that this people had made extensive settlements within its limits, which they were subsequently allowed to retain as peaceable subjects of the native Irish rulers, is proved by the fact that, at the period of the English invasion, a considerable part of the county to the north of the Liffey was wholly in their possession, and from this circumstance was designated by the Irish Fingall, a name signifying either the "white foreigners" or "a progeny of foreigners;" the word "fine" importing, in one sense, a tribe or family.

The country to the south of Dublin is stated, but only on traditional authority, to have been called, at the same period, Dubhgall, denoting the territory of the "black foreigners," from its occupation by another body of Danes. Though all Fingall was granted by Henry II. to Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath, yet the number of other proprietors, together with the circumstance of its being the centre of the English power in Ireland, prevented the county, which was one of those erected by King John in 1210, from being placed under palatine or other peculiar jurisdiction. It originally comprised the territories of the O'Birnes and O'Tooles in the south, which were separated from it and formed into the present county of Wicklow, so lately as the year 1603. At an early period, the jurisdiction of the sheriff of Dublin appears even to have extended in other directions far beyond its present limits; for, by an ordinance of parliament, about the close of the 13th century, preserved in the Black Book of Christ-Church, Dublin, it was restricted from extending, as previously, into the counties of Meath and Kildare, and into some parts even of the province of Ulster.

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