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South-West Region, Ireland facts for kids

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Ireland location map South West
The South-West region of Ireland with each constituent county/city council highlighted.

The South-West Region (coded IE025) is a NUTS Level III statistical region of Ireland. It consists of the territory of the city of Cork and of the counties of Cork and Kerry. The South-West region spans 12,161 km2, roughly 16% of the total area of the state and according to the 2006 census has a population of 621,130.

Prior to 2014, the region was governed by the South-West Regional Assembly. Statutory instrument No. 573/2014 abolished that assembly. Since that date, the association between Regional Assemblies and NUTS regions has ceased. The NUTS regions are used for statistical reporting to Eurostat, while the Regional Assemblies are responsible for planning at a local government level.

The South-West Region benefits from a mild climate and has a very scenic environment, which includes features such as Macgillycuddy's Reeks (the highest mountain range in Ireland), the Dingle Peninsula, Mizen Head and the Iveragh Peninsula along with numerous small islands.

South-West Regional Authority

The South-West Region was administered by the South-West Regional Authority, which consisted of 24 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 three administrative councils of the region:

  • Cork City Council (7)
  • Cork County Council (9)
  • Kerry County Council (8)

The Regional Authorities were dissolved in 2014 and were replaced by Regional Assemblies.


The South-West region has experienced a steady increase in its population with migration to the region due to its strong educational infrastructure, scenic beauty, mild climate, as well as its quality of life and work.

According to the 2006 census, the South-West region had a population of 621,130, which constitutes 14.65% of the national population. Its population density was 51.08 persons per km2. The population of the regional capital, Cork City, including its suburbs was 190,384.


The South-West region contains two airports, Cork International Airport and Kerry International Airport, both of which provide a wide range of flights to locations across Europe. The region also has ferry services operating between Cork, the United Kingdom and France.


Ireland's southernmost and westernmost points are located in the Southwest. Including islands Tearaght Island is the westernmost point located 12.5 km west of the Dingle Peninsula in Kerry. The southernmost point is Fastnet Rock which lies 11.3 km south of mainland County Cork. Only including mainland Ireland, Brow Head, County Cork is the southernmost point and Dunmore Head, County Kerry is the westernmost point. Ireland's twelve highest mountains are located in County Kerry. Killarney National Park in Kerry has Ireland's only native herd of Red Deer and the most extensive covering of native forest remaining in Ireland. The southwest has a total of 132,274 hectares (326,856 acres) of Forest and woodland area, larger than six different Irish counties. The area of the Southwest is 12,203 km2, roughly 14.5% of Ireland's land area which is large enough to fit the 10 smallest counties inside it and almost as large as Northern Ireland. The combined coastline of Cork and Kerry is 1,778 km including islands.

Major settlements

A list of the ten largest settlements in the southwest County capitals are included and are shown in bold.

Rank Town County Population
(2011 census)
1 Cork Cork 198,582
2 Tralee Kerry 23,693
3 Ballincollig Cork 17,368
4 Carrigaline Cork 14,775
5 Killarney Kerry 14,219
6 Cobh Cork 12,347
7 Midleton Cork 12,001
8 Mallow Cork 11,605
9 Youghal Cork 7,794
10 Fermoy Cork 6,489
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