This fine island is situated west of England, from which it is separated by the Irish Sea, or Saint George's Channel, between 51˚ 26' and 55˚ 21' north latitude, and between 5˚ 20' and 10˚ 26' west longitude of Greenwich. The general figure of the island resembles a rhomboid. Its greatest length is about three hundred English miles; its breadth is very irregular, and varies from about eighty to one hundred and eighty English miles. It is devided into four great provinces, viz. - Leinster, Connaught, Munster, and Ulster. The number of counties, baronies, and parishes, its population and other statistical particulars, will be hereafter given. The ecclesiastical divisions of Ireland comprise two provinces - Armagh, including the quondam province of Tuam, now merged into Armagh, and Dublin, including Cashel. The Greeks appear to have had some intercourse with this fertile and beautiful island several centuries before the Christian era; but who were its aborigines is disputed, and it is not within the province of a commercial directory to discuss so obscure and debateable a question. Many historians suppose that the country was peopled from Persia or Iræn; hence they say sprang the appellative word 'Erin.' The Saxon Chronicle states that the first inhabitants were a sciony from Armenia; while Sir William Betham has written an ingenious and learned pamphlet to show that the language of the Irish and that of the Phœnicians are identical. It is certain that the original inhabitants successively mingled themselves with the Spaniards, the Danes, and the Scotch, who each invaded the country, from which mixture spring the varying races that are located in the west, the south, and the north. The situation of this island is peculiarly favourable for commerce: its communication is open and direct with England, France, Spain, Portugal, the coast of Africa, the East Indies, South America, Newfoundland, Hudson's Bay, Greenland, &c. It possesses the privilege of trading with all the different colonies, equally with England and Scotland, and its position is more favourable for navigation. The islands contiguous to the coasts are, in number one hundred and ninety-six, mostly small.
Transcribed from Slater's National Commercial Directory of Ireland, 1846