The division of Ireland into shires or counties is of Anglo-Norman and English origin. The counties generally represent the older native territories and sub-kingdoms.
King John formed twelve counties in 1210. Those parts of Ireland which were under English jurisdiction he parcelled out into twelve shires or counties: namely, Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Uriel (or Louth), Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary.
He directed that in all these counties the English laws should be administered. But it must be always borne in mind that these arrangements, including the administration of the law, were for the settlers only, not for the natives, who were then and long afterwards outside the pale of the law. The king returned to England in August 1210, leaving John de Grey lord justice, to whom he committed the task of carrying out his arrangements. During the remainder of his reign, Ireland was comparatively quiet.
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