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THE BIOLOGICAL VICE-COUNTIES OF IRELAND

D. A. Webb, M.R.I.A., School of Botany, Trinity College, Dublin.
Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 80B, 179-196 (1980)

ABSTRACT. The history of the division of Ireland into biological vice-counties, originally used to record the distribution of higher plants and later adopted by workers on other groups of organisms, is summarised. A number of ambiguities and errors are discussed, and attention is drawn to the changes in administrative county-boundaries in 1898-1900; the effect of these on the biological scheme has never received proper attention. The principle adopted by the Praeger Committee of the Royal Irish Academy in 1969, that the biological vice-counties should be defined in accordance with the frontispiece map of Praeger's Irish Topographical Botany (1901), is here reaffirmed (subject to the correction of three very small errors in the printing of the map). The vice-counties are listed and defined more precisely than has hitherto been done and sketch-maps are given to illustrate those divergences from the administrative boundaries of today which cannot be easily expressed in words.
INTRODUCTION

This paper is the tardy implementation of a promise made in 1970. Two years earlier I had brought before the Royal Irish Academy's Praeger Committee for Field Natural History some problems which related to the precise delimitation of the biological vice- counties of Ireland. The Committee asked me for a memorandum on the subject, and after this had been discussed in some detail it passed the following resolution at its meeting of 26 March 1969:

The names, limits and extent of the biological vice-counties of Ireland should be those set out in the map which forms the frontispiece to Irish Topographical Botany by R. L. Praeger (published by the Royal Irish Academy in 1901 as Volume 23 (vol. 7 of the 3rd series) of its Proceedings).
The Committee asked me to arrange for the publication in suitable journals of this recommendation, and when I did so (Webb 1970a. 1970b) I added a brief justification of the decision (given in greater detail below) and a statement that I hoped to submit shortly to the Academy for publication in its Proceedings a more detailed statement about those aspects of the Irish vice-county boundaries which required clarification. This became all the more desirable in view of the appearance. very soon after the adoption of the committee’s resolution, of a detailed publication on the corresponding vice-counties of Britain (Dandy 1969).

History of the biological subdivision of Ireland

The concept of the biological vice-counties stems from the work of H. C. Watson, who may be said to have founded the science of exact biogeography on a local scale. In the early part of his classic Cybele Britannica he had used larger units than counties, but in the fourth volume (Watson 1859) he defined the vice-counties in a sense which has been only slightly modified since. These are territorial units based on the administrative counties, but with the larger counties subdivided and in some cases the smallest amalgamated with one of their neighbours, so as to give units not too disparate in area. Although many counties were subject neither to division nor amalgamation it has been found convenient to apply the term "vice-county" to all the units, including those which correspond to counties. Watson's continued use of the system in his Topographical Botany (Watson 1873- 74) led to its general acceptance by biologists interested in the recording or distribution-patterns of organisms in Britain.

The first step towards organising a comparable system for Ireland was taken by C. C, Babington (1859) in his Hints towards a Cybele Hibernica, Babington, who had more interest in and knowledge of Ireland than had most of the English botanists of his day, proposed for Ireland a system of vice-counties and also of the larger units called "provinces" into which Watson had grouped his vice-counties. Babington proposed thirty-seven counties, grouped into twelve provinces. His vice-counties, as we shall see, were in part taken up and in part re-remodelled by later workers, but the first-fruits of his proposals were seen in Cybele Hibernica (Moore and More 1866), in which Babington's twelve provinces were used as the units for recording distribution; they were, however, renamed "districts" to avoid confusion with the four historic provinces of Ireland. It was probably wise at the time to use these larger units rather than the vice-counties, as much of Ireland still remained inadequately explored by botanists. In 1898, when the second edition of Cybele Hibernica appeared, this argument had less force, but naturally enough the editors adhered to the scheme of the first edition.

It was Praeger (1896) who really launched the vice-county system effectively for Ireland. He pointed out the advantages of Babington's proposals in principle and some of their defects in detail, suggested different plans for the division of the counties of Cork, Kerry and Ga1way, and divided Donegal, which Babington had treated as a single vice- county. He also rightly rejected the system whereby the numbering of Irish vice-counties followed that of Britain (with the result that Kerry was brought into immediate juxtaposition with the Orkneys and Shetlands), and proposed an independent system of numbering for the Irish vice-counties (distinguished from those of Britain by being prefixed by the initial H, for Hibernia); these started in the south-west and moved northwards on a boustrophedon track which ensured that in most cases a higher number indicated a more northerly or north-easterly position. Five years later he used for his Irish Topographical Botany (Praeger 1901) substantially the same scheme, only the line of division in Donegal being altered; and the manifest excellence of this work led to the general acceptance of his scheme. It divides Ireland into forty vice-counties, Cork and Galway each being divided into three parts, and Kerry, Tipperary, Mayo and Donegal into two each (Fig. 1). The largest vice-county (Clare) has an area only four and one quarter times that of the smallest (Louth), whereas for whole counties this ratio would be over nine.

Fig. 1 The vice-counties of Ireland (slightly schematic in respect of small irregularities in the boundaries).
The need for vice-counties today

It is sometimes asserted that since the introduction of gridded maps vice-counties should be abandoned and all distributional data expressed in terms of grid-lines. The Census Catalogue of the Flora of Ireland (Scannell and Synnott 1972) provides a sufficient answer; it is impossible to conceive of the data there presented being made comprehensible in terms of grid-squares. The enormous advantage of grids in preparing spot-maps has blinded some enthusiasts to their limitations. It is often necessary from considerations of space and expense, and sometimes desirable for other reasons (including the lack of precisely localised records) to present distributional data in tabular rather than graphical form and here the vice-counties come into their own. Moreover everybody has some idea of where a given county is, and the feat of attaching in one’s memory forty numbers to their appropriate vice-counties is not an enormous one. It follows, therefore, that a list of vice-county numbers can give a fairly clear visual image of the pattern of distribution. H 1-5. 9. 16. 27.35 for example indicating a south-western species with local outliers up the west coast, and H8-11. 13-19. 22-24 indicating a species more or less confined to the midland limestones. On the other hand it is only those who spend their whole lives dealing with grids who will derive from a list of grid- squares any clear visual image without reference to a map.

A different objection has been made on the lines that the vice-county system is inappropriate for Ireland, at any rate as far as fresh-water organisms are concerned, because so many county boundaries in Ireland follow the course of rivers: from which it follows that a single record will in many cases either be ambiguous or will give rise to records for two vice-counties. It has therefore been suggested that river-basins should be used as units. This proposal is, however, open to two objections. In the first place it removes the ambiguity for freshwater organisms only by introducing a similar one for those of mountains. Secondly. as Praeger (1896) long ago pointed out. Ireland is the wrong shape for such a mode of division. The Shannon basin is far too large, and would have to be subdivided arbitrarily, and on account of the proximity to the coast of most of the mountains very considerable areas are drained only by small rivers. Such areas must either be heterogeneous, or else be divided into intolerably small units.

The choice of Praeger's map as standard

Irish Topographical Botany not only secured the wide acceptance of Praeger's proposals for the vice-counties, but it also provided an enormous mass of data presented in accordance with his scheme. It seemed very clear, therefore, that this book should be followed in defining the vice-counties. The map, rather than the text, was selected for two reasons. Firstly, although it is on a small scale (1: 1,250,000), the map is extremely clear, both in its cartography and its printing, and permits the assignment to its vice- county of any locality with a zone of probable error not exceeding half a mile. The accompanying text, on the other hand, is ambiguous or defective with regard to some details. The second reason arises from the fact that from one point of view the date chosen for the collection of data for Irish Topographical Botany was most unfortunate. The field-work was done in 1896-1900, and the final assembling of the data in 1900-1901. But in 1898 there was passed the Irish Local Government Act, which made several changes in the county boundaries; these changes were implemented over the next two years. The town of Ballaghaderreen, to take one example, was in Mayo before 1898; it is now in Roscommon.

A moment's reflection will show that for the effective operation of the vice-county system the boundaries must be 'frozen' at the date on which the system came into operation. The principle has been followed in Britain, and it really admits of no alternative. Praeger, unfortunately, seems to have been unaware of the changes of 1898 and in consequence he assigned to H27 in 1933 a locality which he had in 1901 assigned to H 16. With the exception of one area, his map was drawn up on the basis of the pre- 1898 boundaries, and thus requires no revision on account of subsequent changes. The exception was an area on the west side of Lough Derg (including the villages of Whitegate and Mountshannon), which was transferred by the act of 1898 from Galway to Clare. By chance Praeger's attention was drawn to this transfer (he mentions it in a note on p. 306 of Irish Topographical Botany) and he made his map follow the new boundary without realising that there were several other areas where the same course would have been open to him. It seems best to allow the convenience of following his map to overrule the logical principle of adhering to the pre-1898 boundaries throughout. This area, therefore, is to be regarded as belonging to H9.

The only difficulty which the Praeger Committee had to face before adopting Praeger's map as the standard was the existence of a map, published in 1949 by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland under the superintendence of its then director, the late Col. MacNeill (who was a keen naturalist), which showed the biological subdivisions of Ireland. It bore a statement that it was issued with the approval of the Flora and Fauna Committee of the Royal Irish Academy (forerunner of the Praeger Committee), but this statement was based on a misunderstanding and did not appear on later impressions, as the Committee minuted on 24 February 1950, that "the map contains several features which the Committee does not like." These include errors, such as the assignment to the wrong vice-county of the Aran Islands and of the city and liberties of Londonderry. Some of these errors were corrected in subsequent impressions, but the map still differed from Praeger's in that it adopted the current county boundaries instead of those operative before 1898. It cannot, therefore, be followed. It served one useful purpose, however, in that it introduced the principle that in estuarine waters the boundary should follow the line of deepest water. This principle can certainly be accepted. The new proposals made in Col. MacNeill's map for the boundary between West Cork and Mid- Cork are discussed below.

Mention may here be made of two other vice-comital maps of Ireland. Scannell and Synnott ( 1972) have reproduced Praeger's map. The colour printing is greatly inferior to that of the original (for which the authors are not to blame), but except for critical localisation it serves very well as a substitute and is readily available. Druce (1932) published a vice-comital map for the British Isles which, although it makes some serious mistakes in Britain, is fairly satisfactory for Ireland. It is however, on a smaller scale than Praeger's and has a few small errors in its boundaries as for example around Drogheda and Belfast.

Changes in the county boundaries

The changes made in 1898 fall under two heads:-

  1. A considerable number of the larger towns of Ireland are situated on the extreme margin of the county to which they belong (or, in the case of county boroughs, originally belonged). This is because rivers are widely used as county boundaries, and many towns are situated on the major rivers. The town tends sooner or later to spread across the river into the neighbouring county, and after a time it becomes desirable to give administrative recognition to this development by incorporating the new suburbs into the urban district concerned and thereby to transfer them to the county in which the town has its original nucleus. The majority of the changes made in 1898 can be explained in this way, and such changes cause very little trouble. One has merely to remember that the river, which was the administrative boundary before 1898, remains the boundary between the vice- counties. In Athlone, for example, the western part of the town (including the railway- station) was formerly in Roscommon: it is now in Westmeath, but still in H25. The following is a list of the changes of this type made in 1898, changes which are listed merely so that the biologist may be reminded to ignore them. (Of the pairs of counties listed below, the first is that in which the original nucleus of the town lies).

    Town Counties involved River
    Athlone Westmeath, Roscommon Shannon
    Ballinasloe Galway, Roscommon Suck
    Bray Wicklow, Dublin Bray River (1)
    Carlow Carlow, Laois Barrow
    Carrick-on-Suir Tipperary, Waterford Suir
    Clonmel Tipperary, Waterford Suir
    Drogheda Louth, Meath Boyne
    New Ross Wexford, Kilkenny Barrow
    Newry Down, Armagh Newry River

    (1) The Bray River forms the boundary between H20 and H21 from its mouth to half a mile above Bray bridge: above this point old and new administrative boundaries alike diverge northwards. so that above this point the river is wholly in H20.
  2. The other type of change is unrelated to the growth of towns; it consists of the transfer, for reasons which are now inscrutable, of a mainly rural area from one county to another. One such transfer, on the west side of Lough Derg, has been referred to already; it was accepted by Praeger and enshrined in his map, so that the modern administrative boundary in this case coincides with the boundary between the vice- counties. There are four other places where a similar transfer took place, but as they were not recognised by Praeger the old boundary must be retained for the vice-counties. These areas comprise a transfer from Sligo to Mayo on the right bank of the River Moy, opposite Ballina; from Mayo to Roscommon in the neighbourhood of Ballaghaderreen (the territory transferred including the town itself); from Galway to Roscommon a few miles west of the town of Roscommon; and from Galway to Mayo at the south-west corner of Lough Mask. They are described below in detail under the appropriate vice- county, with a diagram to show their position and extent.

Pre-1898 deviations from the administrative boundaries

In four areas Babington, Moore and More and Praeger agree in deviating from the administrative boundaries which existed before 1898, but they do not set out these deviations formally, and in some cases do not mention them at all. There is no doubt, however, that they were tacitly adopted from the start.

  1. Limerick had for long been a county borough, and its spread northwards across the Shannon had. for this reason, already received administrative recognition The Shannon, however, was regarded as the boundary between H8 and H9, and all parts of the city of Limerick north of the river are, therefore, in H9
  2. In exactly the same way those parts of the city of Waterford which lie north of the River Suir are to be regarded as situated in vice county H II.
  3. The Aran Islands, which have always been administratively part of County Galway, have from the start, on account of their close relationship, geologically and floristically, to County Clare, been regarded as falling under H9
  4. Such parts of the city and county of Londonderry as lie on the left (west) bank of the River Foyle have always been regarded as coming under Donegal for biological purposes, and now form part of H34

It may be added, not as a deviation but as an interpretation, that the county borough of Belfast has always been regarded as divided by the River Lagan, those parts to the west of it coming under H39 and those parts to the east under H38.

Subdivision of the larger counties

Hitherto we have been discussing differences between administrative and biological boundaries. In the subdivision of the larger counties the biologist has a free hand, and administrative boundaries (as of baronies or parishes) are irrelevant unless he cares to use them. Babington divided Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, Galway and Mayo into two parts each. Praeger modified some of these divisions, dividing Cork and Galway each into three parts; he also divided Donegal into two. These counties vary in respect of the clarity with which the lines of division have been defined, and are best considered individually.

Tipperary. This is divided, on Babington's suggestion, by the main railway-line from Dublin to Cork, which gives a clear and satisfactory boundary. The divisions so formed, however, are really north-west and south-east Tipperary, rather than north and south, as they are called.

Mayo. Babington's proposed line of division has not been modified; it is sound in principle (more or less dividing the limestone area from the rest) but it is slightly vague in definition. A stricter definition, which is in harmony with Praeger's map, is given below. Galway. Babington's separation of West Galway from the rest by Lough Corrib and the River Corrib is obviously sound; only the islands in the river and lake remain to be assigned, and this seems best done by following the boundary between the baronies. Details are given below. Praeger rightly judged that the eastern portion was still too big, and divided it into North-East and South-East Galway by the main Dublin-Galway railway-line. But he speaks of "the Midland Great Westerp Railway from Ballinasloe to Oranmore, where the line meets the sea at Oranmore village". Unfortunately the line does not meet the sea at Oranmore, but only when it is almost in Galway city. Since the coast between Oranmore and G alway has always been regarded as coming under H 17 (North-East Galway), I have modified the definition to allow for this and to accord with Praeger's map.

Kerry. Babington divided this by the Fleskand Laune rivers, a line which seems to me very satisfactory. Scully, however, had already by 1896 collected for his proposed County Flora a good deal of information in which the baronies were used as the distributional units. Praeger. under some pressure from Scully, and in my opinion rather unwisely. changed the line of division to coincide with that bounding the baronies of Magunihy and Trughanacmy on the south and west. This line has three disadvantages. It is hard to trace. as it follows natural features for only a small part of its course: it divides the Killarney region very awkwardly: and it leaves South Kerry as two detached parts, the barony of Corkaguiny (comprising most of the Dingle peninsula) having no connexion with the rest. This has given rise to a lot of misunderstanding: many small- scale maps in black-and-white, such as those in Praeger ( 1934) and in Perring and Walters (1962) show this fact, if at all, so obscurely that it is easily overlooked and many records for the Dingle peninsula have, in consequence, been wrongly assigned to North Kerry (H2). It is, however, impossible to change the boundary now. There is a tolerable map of the barony boundaries in the County Flora (Scully 1916) on a scale of approximately ten miles to the inch. For those who require greater accuracy a sketch map is given below (Figs. 2 and 3) on a scale of 1- inch to a mile, so that readers may trace it on to a 1--inch map. Reproduction on a scale of ½ inch to a mile is, unfortunately, not feasible in the format of these Proceedings.

Fig. 2 The south-eastern part of the boundary between South Kerry (H 1) and North Kerry (H2). Scale: t inch to 1 mile.

Fig. 3 The north-western part of the boundary between South Kerry (H1) and North Kerry (H2). Scale ¼ inch to 1 mile.

Donegal. Praeger originally proposed to divide the county by a boundary running east and west, but Hart ( 1900) made some reasonable objections to this proposal, and as his Flora (Hart 1898), which uses as its units divisions approximating to the baronies, had already been published, Praeger at the last moment substituted a line of division running roughly north and south, and separating the baronies of Inishowen. Raphoe and Tirhugh on the east from those of Kilmacrenan. Boylagh and Bannagh on the west. It may be noted that Hart did not adhere strictly to the barony boundaries, and the deviation near Lough Eske and the Blue Stack Mountains is considerable. The district VII of his Flora, therefore, though largely in H35 is partly in H34. A few records have been misplaced for this reason. Praeger's boundary suffers from the first defect among those mentioned for Kerry: the line is troublesome to locate on a map and virtually impossible to identify in the field over most of its length. Here again, therefore, I have given in Fig. 4 a diagram of its course suitable for tracing on to a ¼-inch map

Fig. 4 The boundary between East Donegal (H34) and West Donegal (H35). Scale: ¼ inch to 1 mile.

Cork. Babington's original proposal for the division of this county was unsatisfactory, and Praeger's boundaries are based in part on Allin (1883) and in part on a suggestion by R. A. Phillips. West Cork is divided from Mid-Cork by a railway-line from the Kerry border to Millstreet. by straight lines from Millstreet to Macroom and thence to Bandon, and then by the Bandon River to the sea. In the Ordnance Survey map of 1949, to which reference has already been made, this was replaced by a line based on barony boundaries. Col. MacNeill justified this on the grounds that the latter mostly followed streams or ditches which were easy to identify in the field, whereas straight lines were not. He wrote to Praeger suggesting the change: Praeger replied, giving a nihil obstat, and the Flora and Fauna Committee endorsed his decision. The Committee had, however, accepted too readily and without examination Col. MacNeill's assurance that the change was a slight one; in fact his proposed line deviates from the original by as much as five miles in two places. Moreover. the assertion that the barony boundary is more convenient is in my opinion unjustified. It is very troublesome to ascertain from maps, whereas a straight line can easily be drawn on whatever map the recorder cares to use, and if this is done carefully on a ½-inch map the zone of uncertainty need not be more than 100 yards wide at the most. Such accuracy is surely sufficient. I consider, therefore, that the Praeger Committee by its ruling of 1969 has rescinded whatever approval the Flora and Fauna Committee may have given for a change in this boundary, and that it had sound reasons for doing so.

Figure The boundary between Mid Cork (H4) and East Cork (H5). as proposed by Col. MacNeill, Ordnance Survey 1949

The line between Mid-Cork and East Cork was originally defined by the railway-line from Charleville (Rath Luirc) to Cork, and thence along the western shore of Cork Harbour to the ocean. This needs modification to meet Col. MacNeill's principle, agreed to earlier in this paper; for "the western shore of" one must substitute "the line of deepest water in". There is nothing inconsistent with this in Praeger's map, and in fact the only land areas affected are Spike and Haulbowline Islands, which come under H4.

Printer's errors in Praeger's map

There remain to be considered three very small areas where the colouring of Praeger's map corresponds neither to the old nor to the new county boundary, and for which there is no reason to suppose that the deviation is deliberate; it arose in all cases from errors in making the blocks for the colour-printing. In these cases I consider that the true county boundary should be followed and the map amended.

  1. The island of Aughinish. on the south shore of Galway Bay, has always been included in County Clare, though connected to County Galway by a causeway. It should be included in H9, though the map colours it as in H15.
  2. South-west of Clones the map shows a small area of County Monaghan entirely surrounded by County Fermanagh. In Britain such enclaves were formerly fairly numerous, and it is the practice to consider them as part of the vice-county by which they are surrounded. Fortunately this is not the case here; the area in question is connected to the rest of County Monaghan by an extremely narrow neck at its southern end, and the map should be amended accordingly.
  3. A western protrusion of County Kildare, lying west of the River Figile and a short distance north-east of Portarlington, though correctly delimited on the map by a faint dotted line, is coloured as belonging to Queen's County (Laois). This area, which consists mainly of the northern and eastern parts of Derrylea Bog, should be included in H19.
Formal definition of the vice-counties

South Kerry (H1). That part of the administrative county of Kerry which includes the baronies of Glanarought, Dunkerron South and North. Iveragh and Corkaguiny. It should be noted that this vice-county consists of two separate parts, as the head of Castlemaine Harbour is in North Kerry (H2).

The line separating H1 from H2 (Figs. 2 and 3) runs from the Cork border near the summit of Commagearlaghy across the Loo valley at Aghnanus Bridge to the summit of Mangerton; thence south-westwards to Cummeenslaun Laugh, across Windy Gap to the alas Loughs, and thence northwards across the Upper Lake of Killarney (leaving about a quarter of the lake in 1). over the summit of Sheehy Mountain to the shore of the Lower Lake opposite Ross Island: thence to the point where the River Laune leaves the lake, and along that river to within a mile of Killorglin: next by a very irregular course. running north of Caragh Lake and across Lough Yganavan to the shore of Castlemaine Harbour opposite the tip of the Inch peninsula. It then cuts the Dingle peninsula by a line from Aughils over Caherbla to the summits of Caherconree. Bartregaum and Glanbrack Mountain, and thence due north to reach Tralee Bay north of Derrymore Island.

North Kerry (H2). That part of the administrative county of Kerry which includes the baronies of Magunihy, Trughanacmy, Clanmaurice and Iraghticonnor. The line separating it from South Kerry is described above.

West Cork (H3). That part of the administrative county of Cork which lies to the west of a line defined as follows: along the Killarney-Mallow railway from the Kerry border to Millstreet station, thence by a straight line to the centre of Macroom and by another straight line to the bridge at Bandon, and down the Bandon River to the sea.

Mid-Cork (H4). Those parts of the administrative county of Cork and of the city and county borough of Cork which lie to the east of the line described above under West Cork, and to the west of a line running along the railway from Rath Luirc (Charleville) to Cork station, and thence along the line of deepest water in Cork Harbour to the ocean.

East Cork (H5). Those parts of the administrative county of Cork and of the city and county borough of Cork which lie to the east of the second of the two lines described under Mid-Cork.

Waterford (H6). The administrative county of Waterford together with those parts of the city and county borough of Waterford and of the urban districts of Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir which lie on the right (south) bank of the River Suir.

South Tipperary (H7). That part of the administrative county of Tipperary which lies to the south and east of the railway-line from Port Laoise (formerly Maryborough) to Rathluirc (formerly Charleville), but excluding those parts of the urban districts of Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir which lie on the right (south) bank of the River Suir.

Limerick (H8). The administrative county of Limerick, together with that part of the city and county borough of Limerick which lies on the left (south) bank of the River Shannon.

Clare (H9). The administrative county of Clare, together with the Aran Islands and that part of the city and county borough of Limerick which lies on the right (north) bank of the River Shannon.

North Tipperary (H10). That part of the administrative county of Tipperary which lies to the north west of the railway-line from Port Laoise (formerly Maryborough) to Rath Luirc (formerly Charleville).

Kilkenny (H11). The administrative county of Kilkenny, together with that part of the urban district of New Ross which lies on the right ( west) bank of the River Barrow, and that part of the city and county borough of Waterford which lies on the left (north) bank of the River Suir.

Wexford (H12). The administrative county of Wexford, except for that part of the urban district of New Ross which lies on the right (west) bank of the River Barrow.

Carlow (H13). The administrative county of Carlow, except for that part of the urban district of Carlow which lies on the right (west) bank of the River Barrow.

Laois (H14) (formerly Queen's County). The administrative county of Laois, together with that part of the urban district of Carlow which lies on the right (west) bank of the River Barrow.

South-East Galway (H15). That part of the administrative county of Galway which lies to the south and east of a line formed by the railway line between Athlone and Galway from the point where it crosses the River Suck near Ballinasloe to the point where it crosses the road from Oranmore to Claregalway, and thence along this road southwards to Oranmore Bridge and down the estuary at Oranmore to Galway Bay. That part of the urban district of Ballinasloe which lies on the left (east) bank of the River Suck is, however, excluded.

West Galway (H16). Those parts of the administrative county of Galway and the city and county borough of Galway which lie to the west of Lough Corrib and the River Corrib (but excluding the Aran Islands). together with a part of the administrative county of Mayo around the south-west corner of bough Mask which formed part of County Galway before 1898 and is indicated in Fig 5. (This and subsequent figures are on a scale suitable for tracing on to ½-inch Ordnance Survey maps.)

The boundary along the course of the River Corrib follows the most westerly branch of the river in Galway city (the greater part of the city, therefore, lying in H 17. though some of its western suburbs lie in H 16). Further up the river the line passes to the east of Jordan's Island. but to the west of the two large islands where the river issues from the lake. Its course through Lough Corrib is indicated in Fig. 6. The great majority of the islands in the lake are in H 16.

North-East Galway (H17). Those parts of the administrative county of Galway and of the city and county borough of Galway which lie to the north and west of the line defined under H 15, and to the east of the line defined under H 16, together with an area near the village of Fuerty, west of Roscommon town, which formed part of County Galway before 1898 but is now in County Roscommon (see Fig. 7). That part of the urban district of Ballinasloe which lies on the left (east) bank of the River Suck is, however, excluded.

Fig. 5 The area at the south-west corner of Lough Mask transferred in 1898 from Co. Galway to Co. Mayo, but still to be regarded as part of H 16. ACB is the former county-boundary and the boundary between the vice-counties. ADB is the modern administrative boundary. Scale: ½ inch to 1 mile.

Fig. 6 The south-eastern part of Lough Corrib, showing the course of the boundary between H16 (West Galway) and H17 (North-east Galway). Scale ½ inch to 1 mile.

Fig. 7 The area west of Roscommon. transferred in 1898 from Co. Galway to Co. Roscommon. but still to be regarded as part of H 17 (North-east Galway). ACB is the former county-boundary and the boundary between the vice-counties. ADB is the modern administrative boundary. Scale: ½ inch to 1 mile.

Offaly (H18) (formerly King's County). The administrative county of Offaly.

Kildare (H19). The administrative county of Kildare.

Wicklow (H20). The administrative county of Wicklow, except for that part of the urban district of Bray which lies north of the Bray River and which formed part of County Dublin before 1898.

Dublin (H21). The administrative county of Dublin, together with the city and county borough of Dublin and the borough of Dun Laoghaire, and that part of the urban district of Bray which lies north of the Bray River and which formed part of County Dublin before 1898.

Meath (H22). The administrative county of Meath, together with that part of the urban district of Drogheda which lies on the right (south) bank of the River Boyne.

Westmeath (H23). The administrative county of Westmeath, except for that part of the urban district of Athlone which lies on the right (west) bank of the River Shannon.

Longford (H24). The administrative county of Longford.

Roscommon (H25). The administrative county of Roscommon, with the following additions and exceptions:-

  1. That part of the urban district of Athlone which lies on the right ( west) bank of the Shannon is included in H25.
  2. That part of the urban district of Ballinasloe which lies on the left (east) bank of the River Suck is included in H25.
  3. An area surrounding and including the town of Ballaghaderreen, indicated in Fig. 8, which was formerly part of the county of Mayo, is excluded from H25.
  4. The area near Fuerty, referred to under H 17 and illustrated in Fig. 7, which was formerly part of the administrative county of Galway. is excluded from H25.
East Mayo (H26). That part of the administrative county of Mayo which lies to the east of the line defined under H27, together with the area including the town of Ballaghaderreen, now in the administrative county of Roscommon, which is illustrated in Fig. 8, but excluding the area near Ballina, illustrated in Fig. 9, which was formerly part of the administrative county of Sligo.

Fig. 8 The area surrounding the town of Ballaghaderreen transferred in 1898 from Co. Mayo to Co. Roscommon, but still to be regarded as part of H26 (East Mayo). ACB is the former county- boundary and the boundary between the vice-counties, ADB is the modern administrative boundary, Scale: ½ inch to I mile.

West Mayo (H27). That part of the administrative county of Mayo which lies to the west of the line defined below, but excluding the area at the south-west corner of Lough Mask, indicated in Fig. 5, which was formerly part of the administrative county of Galway.

The line separating H26 from H27 runs from near the middle of Lough Mask to the mouth of the Cloon River at the northern end of the lake, then up this river, through Cloon Lough, up the Aille River and its tributary through Cooley Lough, Ballyhean village and Buncam Lough to the small lake immediately west of the hamlet ofTully. From here it follows the road to Castlebar, then down the Castlebar River, across Lough Cullin and down the River Moy till it meets the former boundary with County Sligo 2½ miles above Ballina.

Fig. 9 The area on the east bank of the River Moy opposite Ballina, transferred in 1898 from Co. Sligo to Co. Mayo. but still to be regarded as part of H28 (Sligo). ACB is the former county-boundary and the boundary between the vice-counties. ADB is the modern administrative boundary. Scale: t inch to 1 mile.

Sligo (H28). The administrative county of Sligo, together with the area near Ballina, now part of the administrative county of Mayo, which is illustrated in Fig. 9.

Leitrim (H29). The administrative county of Leitrim.

Cavan (H30). The administrative county of Cavan.

Louth (H31). The administrative county of Louth, except for that part of the urban district of Drogheda which lies on the right (south) bank of the River Boyne.

Monaghan (H32). The administrative county of Monaghan.

Fermanagh (H33). The administrative county of Fermanagh.

East Donegal (H34). That part of the administrative county of Donegal which lies to the east and south of the line defined under H35 (comprising the baronies of Inishowen North and South, Raphoe and Tirhugh), together with those parts of the county of Londonderry and of the city and county borough of Londonderry which lie on the left (north-west) bank of the River Foyle and its estuary. It should be noted that most of the city of Londonderry lies in H34.

West Donegal (H35). That part of the administrative county of Donegal, comprising the baronies of Kilmacrenan, Boylagh and Bannagh, which lies to the north and west of a line defined as follows:-

From Donegal town the line runs up the River Eske, through Lough Eske and up the Corabber River to within half a mile of Belshade Lough. It continues north-eastwards for two miles to near the unnamed summit of 1431 ft. then north-westwards for a mile, and back south-westwards to within less than half a mile of Belshade Lough. It next runs over the north-eastern shoulder of the Blue Stack Mountains, down the Effernagh River between Crooveenananta and Gaugin Mountain, and then between Boultypatrick and Clogher North, turning north-north-east to meet the River Finn one mile below Shivnagh Lough. It runs down the river to Cummirk Bridge, up the Cummirk River for 1½ miles, and then north-eastwards across country to join the River Swilly one mile above Breenagh. From here it follows the River Swilly past Letterkenny to the sea (See Fig. 4).

Tyrone (H36). The administrative county of Tyrone.

Armagh (H37). The administrative county of Armagh, together with that part of the urban district of Newry which lies on the right (west) bank of the Newry River.

Down (H38). The administrative county of Down, together with that part of the city and county borough of Belfast which lies on the right (east) bank of the River Lagan, but excluding that part of the urban district of Newry which lies on the right (west) bank of the Newry River .

Antrim (H39). The administrative county of Antrim, together with that part of the city and county borough of Belfast which lies on the left (west) bank of the River Lagan.

Londonderry (H40). Those parts of the administrative county of Londonderry and of the city and county borough of Londonderry which lie on the right (south-east) bank of the River Foyle and its estuary.

REFERENCES

ALLIN, T. 1883 The Flowering Plants and Ferns of the County Cork. Weston-super-Mare. Marche.

BABINGTON, C. C. 1859 Hints towards a Cybele Hibernica. Nat. Hist. Rev. 6. 533-537.

DANDY. J. E. 1969 Watsonian Vice-counties of Great Britain. London. The Ray Society.

DRUCE. G. C. 1932 The Comital Flora of the British Isles. Arbroath. Buncle.

HART. H. C. 1898 Flora of the County Donegal. Dublin and London. Sealy, Bryers & Walker: David Nutt.

HART, H. C. 1900 Remarks on the second edition of "Cybele Hibernica". Ir. Nat. 9. 27-44.

MOORE, D, and MORE, A. G. 1866 Cybele Hibernica. Dublin. Hodges and Smith.

PERRING, F. H, and WALTERS, S. M. 1962 Atlas of the British Flora. London and Edinburgh. Nelson.

PRAEGER, R. L. 1896 On the botanical subdivision of Ireland. Ir. Nat. 5. 29-38.

PRAEGER, R. L. 1901 Irish Topographical Botany. Published as Proc. R. Ir. Acad. (3) 7.

PRAEGER, R. L. 1934 The Botanist in Ireland. Dublin. Hodges and Figgis.

SCANNELL, M. J. P, and SYNNOTT. D. M. 1972 Census Catalogue of the Flora of Ireland. Dublin. Stationery Office.

SCULLY, R, W. 1916 Flora of County Kerry. Dublin. Hodges and Figgis.

WATSON, H. C. 1859 Cybele Britannica. Vol. 4. London. Longman.

WATSON, H. C. 1873-74 Topographical Botany. Thames Ditton. Privately printed.

WEBB. D. A. 1970a The Irish vice-counties. Ir. Nat. J. 16. 317.

WEBB. D. A. 1970b The Irish vice-counties. Watsonia 8. 51.