County Meath is a province in Leinster, Ireland situated in the Mid-East region. Named after the historic Meath Kingdom, with Midhe meaning centre or middle, the local authority of the county is Meath County Council. The population in Meath according to the census in 2016 is 195,044 and Navan is Meath’s county town. Slane, Ashbourne, Dunboyne, Trim and Laytown are all other towns in the county. The official Gaeltacht just outside Ireland West have two counties of which Meath is one, and the other is Waterford.
Meath county is also known as The Royal County due to its history as the base for the Ireland High King. While it now forms part of Leinster, it previously a part of the eastern former Kingdom of Mide. Historically the all the counties of Meath, including Westmeath, Fingal, Offaly, Louth, Kildare, Lanford as well as Tara were part of in the kingdom as well as its successor territory the Lordship of Meath. Tara is where the seat of the Ireland High King once was, while the Brú na Bóinne archaeological complex is more than 5,000 years old and home to the Negrange burial sites Dowth and Knowth, in the county’s north-east.
Of the 32 counties of Ireland, Meath is the ninth largest in population and the 14th largest county. When looking at the 12 counties of Leinster, Meath is the second-largest and in terms of population the third largest. Navan is home to the government and the county hall, while Trim was previously the county town, it remains a sitting place of the circuit court and has historical significance. The only two Gaeltacht area in Leinster, Meath is at Baile Ghib and Rath Chairn. In the county there are 18 historic baronies, including Ratoath and Morgallion, baronies officially defined units are no longer in use for administrative purposes, although listed as Administrative units.
Local Politics and Government
Meath County Council consists of 40 elected members, 13 seats – Fine Gael, 10 seats – Fianna Fail, 8 seats Sinn Fein and 9 independents. Meath East and Meath West are the two Dail constituencies and return 6 deputies to Dáil Éireann. Two seats belong to Fine Gael, 1 seat in each constituency to Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin holds 1 set in Meath West. Between 1897 and 2007, 3 out of 5 seats belonged to Fianna Fáil in the Meath constituency, Fine Gael had the other two seats in a period of five elections they hold the seats for four elections, except in 1992, when one seat went to the labour party and regained by Fine Gael in 1997. The east of Meath lies within the border of the county while the west includes parts of the Westmeath, the neighbouring county. Along the Irish Sea coast, Laytown-Bettystown-Mornington, as well as Julianstown, is all part of the Louth consistency.
Since 1981, Count Meath was known for the steady decline in their population rates. In a 40 year time span, the population was cut in half (from 110,373 to 67,497). Although, the population did begin to slowly rise once again over the next several decades, and by 1981, the population made it’s way to being 95,419. The increase in population could be linked to a boom in substance locally, which lead to a boom in babies being born. In modern times, the population reaches an all-time peak in the early 2000’s. Since them, the 2011 census has shown that the population in the area was at 184,135. Though most of the population from this point was originating from inwards migrating from Count Meath’s neighboring counties, such as Dublin and Drogheda. Throughout the recent years, the population increase has shown a few interesting trends regarding in-county migration from reasons such as proximity to local businesses and parks, and jobs relation to construction, agriculture, and catering.
Meath has a rich history for being a county that was known for its livestock, farming, dairy production, as well as grain and potatoes. Although, production did reach a cap due to issues relating to labor completion from other sectors of the county. This created an influx of migrants from Ester Europe to move to Meath and take on these jobs – which has benefitted the economy. Though Meath does not have as much competition as it is the leading Irish country who produces the most potatoes, beef, ground veggies, and dairy
Another one of the businesses that have boosted the economy is the lead-zinc mine, also known as Tara Mines, which has been operating out of Meath since 1977. It has the title of being Europe’s largest mine of the kind which produces over 190 thousand tons of zinc as well as 2,600,000 tones of other ore. Alongside this, quarrying is a popular tradition that brings in money into the economy. Due to the mass of glacial deposits of gravel in the are which ranges from Edenderry to Laytown. Additionally, many of the residents who reside in Meath will travel to Dublin while using the state services of transportation.
Meat is another one of the major business in Meath. Much of the meat processing takes places in both Navan and Clonee. Although, other than meat production, Navan is known for being a hotspot for Irish furniture before its decline. Tourism also brings in economic funds due to the prevalence of horse breeding and racing in the local area.
Meath has been divided into several different civil jurisdictions for baronies. Many of the locations in the country have been divided into an upper and lower level which has helped the country keep civil issues organized at all times. Many of the jurisdictions contain specialized markets and post-towns as well. In addition, there are several different villages in the area, such as Dunboyne, Ratoath, Carlanstown, and Rathlin.