MUNSTER, IRELAND, a province of Ireland occupying the S.W. part of the island. It includes the counties Clare, Tipperary, Limerick, Kerry, Cork and Waterford (q.v. for topography, etc.). After the occupation of Ireland by the Milesians, Munster (Mumha) became nominally a provincial kingdom; but as the territory was divided between two families there was constant friction and it was not until 237 that Oliol Olum established himself as king over the whole. In 248 he divided his kingdom between his two sons, giving Desmond (q.v., Des-Mumha) to Eoghan and Thomond (Tuadh-Mumha) or north Munster to Cormac. He also stipulated that the rank of king of Munster should belong in turn to their descendants. In this way the kingship of Munster survived until 1194; but there were kings of Desmond and Thomond down to the 16th century. Munster was originally of the same extent as the present province, excepting that it included the district of Ely, which belonged to the O'Carrols and formed a part of the present King's County. During the 16th century, however, Thomond was for a time included in Connaught, being declared a county under the name of Clare (q.v.) by Sir Henry Sidney. Part of Munster had been included in the system of shiring generally attributed to King John. In 1570 a provincial presidency of Munster (as of Connaught) was established by Sidney, Sir John Perrot being the first president, and lasted until 1672. Under Perrot a practically new shiring was carried out.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)