Civil parishes in Ireland

Civil parishes in Ireland

The parish was once an ecclesiastical unit of territory based on early Christian and monastic settlements. It came into existence in Ireland in the 12th and 13th centuries and was continued by the Church of Ireland, the Established church, from the time of the Tudor conquest. It was later adopted as the fourth - and lowest - level of civil administrative area after the barony, county and national government.

The boundaries of the civil parishes originally coincided with ecclesiastical parishes of the Church of Ireland. While the boundaries of the parishes of the Church of Ireland changed following the disestablishment of the church in 1869, this did not affect the boundaries of the civil parishes. The parishes of the Catholic Church in Ireland are generally unrelated to civil parishes.

Parishes were delineated after the Down Survey as an intermediate subdivision, with multiple townlands per parish and multiple parishes per barony. The civil parishes had some use in local taxation and were included on the nineteenth century maps of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.[1] For poor law purposes District Electoral Divisions replaced the civil parishes in the mid-nineteenth century.

Civil parishes have not been formally abolished in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. One example where the parish is still referenced in Republic of Ireland law is the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1988, which allows "any person resident in the parish in which the club premises are situated" to object to the granting of an alcohol licence to a club.[2]


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