John Speed's map of Connacht, the westernmost and wildest of Ireland's four provinces.
The map shows west at the top of the map, which highlights how the lough-scarred landscape gives way to the Atlantic Ocean. The transition between land and sea is not rigid here: it is a gradual tumbling.
Cities, towns, rivers, loughs, and islands are all named on this map. To the left, the cities of Limerick and Galway can be found. Connacht originated as a collection of Gaelic kingdoms which were incorporated into a kingdom in the 9th century. It would maintain its independence until civil war in the 13th century allowed for Norman conquest. Many of the reigning Norman families adopted Gaelic culture, and escaped English influence into the late 16th century.
This map originally appeared in Speed's Epitome. The maps in this volume were engraved by Peter Van Den Keere (Petrus Kaerius).
John Speed (1551 or '52 - 28 July 1629) was the best known English mapmaker of the Stuart period. Speed came to mapmaking late in life, producing his first maps in the 1590s and entering the trade in earnest when he was almost 60 years old.
John Speed's fame, which continues to this day, lies with two atlases, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (first published 1612), and the Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World (1627). While The Theatre ... started as solely a county atlas, it grew into an impressive world atlas with the inclusion of the Prospect in 1627. The plates for the atlas passed through many hands in the 17th century, and the book finally reached its apotheosis in 1676 when it was published by Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell, with a number of important maps added for the first time.