Province (pop., 2002 prelim.: 2,105,449), eastern Ireland. It covers an area of 7,645 sq mi (19,801 sq km). Its counties include Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laoighis, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, and Wicklow. Its northern part, Meath, was once a separate kingdom. In the early Middle Ages, kings of Leinster fought constantly against the Uí Néill, the line of high kings whose capital was at Tara in Meath. In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Leinster was virtually independent, under the earls of Kildare.