Political Maps

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Long ago people made maps to show where land boundaries were. People who governed a country such as kings and queens also liked to have maps drawn up to show where their lands were. These maps could be used for showing the king where taxes were to be collected, where loyal subjects lived and also new areas of land that the king or queen might wish to conquer or place loyal subjects on.

Maps were made in Ireland of areas of land which were taken from one landholder by force and given to another loyal to the monarch. This type of map was known as a plantation map.

As you can see the map above shows only the parish boundaries in Aghaboe in Queens County (Laois) in 1655. Laois was called Queen's County then, not Laois, after Queen Elizabeth. There, lands were given to loyal followers of Queen Elizabeth in the 1550's.

From the map we can see the names of parishes which are divided up into smaller sections. Notice the numbering system of different areas surrounded by boundaries on this map. How do you think that this system was useful to landlords at the time?

Political maps were used during the Famine. Relief works were set up to enable people to work for money on public works such as road building. Though this was some help to the people, the money made was still not enough to prevent many families from starving. At the time, accurate maps were needed to find out which landlords were responsible for relief works in different parts of the country.