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South-East Region, Ireland facts for kids

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The South-East region of Ireland with each constituent county highlighted.
The South-East region of Ireland with each constituent county highlighted.
Country  Republic of Ireland
Region Southern

The South-East is a strategic planning area within the Southern Region in Ireland. It is a NUTS Level III statistical region of Ireland (coded IE052). It includes comprises the counties of Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford and the city and county of Waterford. The South-East region spans 7,198 km2, 10.2% of the total area of the state and according to the 2016 census had a population of 422,062.

From 1994 to 2014, the region was governed by the South-East Regional Authority. That body was abolished in June 2014, and from January 2015 it was succeeded by the Southern Regional Assembly.

Former Regional Authority

The South-East region was administered by the South-East Regional Authority, which consisted of 36 elected representatives including the region's representative on the EU Committee of the Regions. These representatives met once a month and were nominated from the five local government councils of the region:

  • Carlow County Council
  • Kilkenny County Council
  • South Tipperary County Council
  • Waterford City Council
  • Waterford County Council
  • Wexford County Council

The Regional Authorities were dissolved in 2014 and were replaced by Regional Assemblies. North Tipperary County Council and South Tipperary County Council were unified into a single local authority for the county on the 1st June, 2014. The current NUTS classification was released in 2013, and remains in place until the end of 2016, therefore Tipperary remains divided for statistical purposes into two different NUTS 3 regions until the next amendment to the classification is released in 2017, which will take into account the changes to the Local Administrative Units of each member state.


According to the 2016 census, the region had a population of 422,062 which constitutes 8.86% of the national population. Its population density was 58.6 persons per km2. The population of the regional capital, Waterford, was 53,504.

The main urban centres within the region each exceed 17,000 in terms of population with an evenly distributed network of second and third-tier towns. This is also supplemented by a strong rural settlement initiative.

Major settlements

A list of the ten largest settlements in the South-East region. County capitals are included and are shown in bold.

Urban Centres
Rank Urban Centres County Population
(2011 census)
1 Waterford Waterford 51,519
2 Kilkenny Kilkenny 24,423
3 Carlow Carlow 23,030
4 Wexford Wexford 20,072
5 Clonmel South Tipperary 17,908
7 Enniscorthy Wexford 10,838
6 Tramore Waterford 10,328
8 Dungarvan Waterford 9,427
10 Gorey Wexford 9,114
9 New Ross Wexford 8,151


The Ireland South East region has grown steadily over the past decade and has strong economic clusters in Engineering, Life Sciences, Financial Services, ICT, Agri-Food and the Creative sectors. Eurostat data shows the region as being the 6th fastest growing region in the EU in terms of job creation (2012–2017) and the 7th fastest growing region in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) per person.

Ireland South East represents a place of opportunity for business, careers, investment, and tourism. A qualitative analysis of the company and infrastructural activity in the region also shows continuing positivity, with new job announcements, new investments, and major infrastructural projects underway. The region continues to score well on affordability and quality of life metrics making it an attractive place for talent and investment.

Regional GDP in 2017 was given as €15,513m, with income per person standing at 90.5% of the State average. The 2019 unemployment rate for the region stood at 8.1%.

Tourism in the region is aided by its rich natural, historic and archaeological sites, which attract over 1 million people annually.

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