The province of Leinster (Laighin in Irish) corresponds to the ancient Kingdoms of Meath (Mide), Osraige and Leinster. From 1169 the Norman rulers of England invaded Ireland and established English settlements around Dublin, an area that became known as The Pale. As The Pale extended, it progressively absorbed the Kingdoms of Meath and Leinster, laying the grounds for the modern province.
Leinster is made up of 12 counties - the most of any Irish province. It extends on 19,800 km² (7,644 sq mi) and has a population of 2.5 million, which is roughly the equivalent of Slovenia or the French region of Lorraine.
Famous people from Leinster include (chronologically): the satirist and essayist Jonathan Swift, the statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke, the writer Oliver Goldsmith, the White House architect James Hoban, the engineer William Dargan, the novelist Bram Stoker, the writer and poet Oscar Wilde, the playwright George Bernard Shaw, the poet and playwright W. B. Yeats, the novelist James Joyce, the aviation pioneer James Fitzmaurice, the Nobel prize novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett, the structural engineer Peter Rice, the actor and director Gabriel Byrne, the actor Pierce Brosnan, and the actor Colin Farrell.