County Dublin ( or Contae Átha Cliath) is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Dublin Region and is in the province of Leinster. It is named after the city of Dublin, which is the capital of Ireland. County Dublin was one of the first parts of Ireland to be shired by King John of England following the Norman invasion of Ireland. The area of the county no longer has a single local authority; local government is now split between three authorities. The population of the county at large, which includes Dublin city, was 1,270,603 according to the census of 2011.
It is no longer used for local government purposes in Ireland. In 1994, the administrative county (which did not include the county borough of Dublin) was dissolved and the area divided among the administrative counties of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin each with its county seat. To these areas may be added the area of Dublin city which collectively comprise the Dublin Region and come under the remit of the Dublin Regional Authority.
The area lost its administrative county status in 1994, with Section 9 Part 1(a) of the Local Government (Dublin) Act, 1993 stating that "the county shall cease to exist." At that time, and in response to a European Council report highlighting Ireland as the most centralised country in the European Union, it was decided that a single County Dublin was unmanageable and undemocratic from a local government perspective. In discussing the legislation to dissolve Dublin County Council, Avril Doyle TD said, "The Bill before us today effectively abolishes County Dublin, and as one born and bred in these parts of Ireland I find it rather strange that we in this House are abolishing County Dublin. I am not sure whether Dubliners realise that that is what we are about today, but in effect that is the case."
Despite the legal status of the Dublin Region, the term "County Dublin" is still in common usage. Many organisations and sporting teams continue to organise on a "County Dublin" or "Dublin Region" basis. The area formerly known as "County Dublin" is now defined in legislation solely as the "Dublin Region" under the Local Government Act, 1991 (Regional Authorities) (Establishment) Order, 1993, and this is the terminology officially used by the four Dublin administrative councils in press releases concerning the former county area. The term Greater Dublin Area, which might consist of some or all of the Dublin Region along with counties of Kildare, Meath and Wicklow, has no legal standing.
The latest Ordnance Survey Ireland "Discovery Series" (Third Edition 2005) 1:50,000 map of the Dublin Region, Sheet 50, shows the boundaries of the city and three surrounding counties of the region. Extremities of the Dublin Region, in the north and south of the region, appear in other sheets of the series, 43 and 56 respectively.