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Cities/Towns Boundaries

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For census purposes towns fall into two types; those with and those without legally defined boundaries.

Towns with legally defined boundaries

These comprise

  • the five County Cities (Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway);
  • the five Municipal Cities (Clonmel, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Sligo and Wexford);
  • the forty-nine former Urban Districts (e.g. Arklow, Athlone);
  • the Local Government Act, 2001 (S.I.591 of 2001). Under this act the areas known as Urban District are now called Towns, as are the 26 towns which were formally towns under the Towns Improvement Act 1854.

Where built-up areas have extended beyond the legally defined town boundary, the CSO draws up new boundaries defining the suburban areas of Cities (formerly County Boroughs) and the environs of legal towns.


Towns without legally defined boundaries (Census Towns)

A Census Town is defined as a cluster of 50 or more occupied dwellings, not having a legally defined boundary. Census Town boundaries are determined by the CSO for census purposes only.
SAPS/boundaries are only available for towns with a population of 1,000 or more in the 2006 Census.


Click on the links below (3 downloads for each boundary) or alternatively the 3 files can be downloaded in the self extracting zip file:

Cities and Towns:

city_towns.dbf (191KB)

city_towns.shp (6 MB)

city_towns.shx (4KB)


city_towns.zip (3 MB)




The ESRI Shape (SHP) file format is a vector format created by the Environmental System Research Institute. SHP files support point, multi-point, polygon, polyline and multi-patches.

This file format contains three files for each boundary:
Main file: *.shp
Index file: *.shx
DBase file: *.dbf

The three files must be downloaded. Most GIS applications can read SHP files.

Central Statistics Office, Skehard Road, Cork, Ireland.
Tel: 353-21-4535000 | Fax: 353-21-4535555 | e-mail: information@cso.ie
Contact Census : Tel: 353-1-8951460 | e-mail: census@cso.ie