ULSTER or CÚIGE ULADH
Since the beginning of the series I have been explaining the origins of
various Ulster place names in Ulster, but where did Ulster itself get
it’s name. In Irish Ulster is Cúige Uladh the province of
Ulster. Cúige, the Irish word for province actually means ‘fifth’
as historically there were five provinces in Ireland, the four which are
still provinces, Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connacht and the former
fifth province of Meath which consisted of the present day Meath and Westmeath.
Ulster being Ulaidh means place of the ulaidh or the place of the Ulster
men the biggest tribe who occupied the province and was documented as
far back as 150AD by Ptolemy, an Greek explorer. The meaning of this tribal
name is unknown but they were the main group occupying the ancient province
of Ulster in the pre-Christian period, which then stretched from the River
drowse in Donegal to the Boyne in County Louth but after the destruction
of Eamhain Macha in A.D. 332, it was restricted to the territory east
of the river Bann, Lough Neagh, and the Newry river.
By the sixth century this had reduced dramatically to cover only Counties
Antrim and Down, the North east of County Derry and as far as the River
Boyle in County Louth.
In the time of the Anglo-Normans it was reduced yet further and covered
only Counties Antrim and Down. The boundaries of the nine county province
of Ulster as it is known today were laid down in the early 17th Century.
So there you have it Ulster, Cúige Uladh, the territory of the
Listen to Céara Ní Choinn talk about the origins of Ulster.
to Logainmneacha index