County Meath is in the province of Leinster . It is the fourteen largest of the thirty-two counties in Ireland and the thirteenth in population. Its length is 41 miles from Bray to the southern corner near Ballingate House and its breath is 31 ½ miles from Mizen Head to the boundary near Dunlavin. It consists of 904.6 square miles (2,343.9 sq km).
Human habitation has been discovered in Co Meath which dates back 9,000 years. Meath was part of the Irish middle kingdom from the 2d century BC. It was chartered as a county in 1296. Historically this province of Meath included all of the current county as well as all of Westmeath and parts of Cavan, Longford, Louth, Offaly, Dublin and Kildare with the seat of the High King of Ireland being the Hill of Tara. The Normans invaded the area in the twelfth century and Trim was the site of the Norman parliament during the fifteenth century. In the 1641 rebellion, most of the Irish and Nroman families had their lands given to the soldiers and officers of the Cromwell army.
In 1821, the County’s population was 159,183 and increased to 183,828 in 1841. During the Great Famine of 1845-1847, the population decreased until it was 140,748 in 1851. The population continued to decrease to 62,969 in 1926. The population has, however, increased to 162,831 in 2006. County Westmeath is predominately Roman Catholic. In 1891, the percentage of Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist was 93.1%, 6.3%, 0.5% and 0.1%. Overtime, the Roman Catholics percentage has decreased to 89.9% in 2006, while the Church of Ireland, Presbyterians and Methodists were 2.4%, 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively, with other or no religions increasing to about 5.9%.