In order to create this fusion table it was first necessary to find the appropriate population data and the kml (keyhole markup language) file for the Irish Republic topography. By constructing an excel table with the 2011 Irish census data for each county and uploading it to a google fusion table it was possible to plot that data over a google map to show physically where populations were distributed. With the kml data it was possible to create a heat map as it held the polygonal data for the map. By merging both tables in the Google Fusion program it was possible to integrate the specific county population data with the physical graphic overlay on the map, thus producing an accurate and aesthetically pleasing heat map showing the 2011 population data.
The distribution was broken down so as to try and capture an even distribution of the population across the buckets it was streamed into. By looking at these variances in population density along with other topographical features, we can draw certain conclusions about Ireland and it’s population distribution.
Dublin is Doublin’
A disproportionate amount of the population is centralised in Dublin. At 1,273,069 Dublin has more than twice the population of the next densest county, Cork(519,032) and forty times that of the least dense, Leitrim (31,798). Cork as well has over 300,000 more residents than the next largest county, Kildare (210,312).
Hell Over Connacht
The northwest is the least populated area of the country. Noticeably these are also the most isolated from cities by both proximity and transport links.
The Northern “Sitch-e-ation”
In looking at the counties neighbouring Northern Ireland we can see some interesting distributions.
Cavan serviced not only by more direct links to Dublin, but also Enniskillen, the closest large town in the North. Though Monaghan is closer in proximity to Northern Ireland, it’s proximity is to equally underpopulated areas, poorly serviced by transport links. Donegal, while technically the most isolated county in the Republic, with the worst transport links (no direct roads or rail inks)has a significantly larger population than many others. What it lacks in access to the Republic it makes up for in access to Northern Ireland with direct routes to Derry/Londonderry.
Room For Improvement
With greater, more detailed geographic data, there comes the ability to make even more detailed fusion tables that can illustrate more nuanced population distributions and take into account even more factors that influence them.
For example in applying data from the 1911 Census we can see the population density and distribution one hundred years prior and make certain hypothesis about the change of Ireland’s social landscape.
By applying a similar weighting system we can see clearly that the Ireland of 1911 had a far different distribution of it’s population. While still the most populace county, Dublin was no where near it’s current size and it’s surrounding counties were at the lower end of the population scale. Conversely the West and South-West in particular held a greater density of the population.
While comparing these tables to one another provides interesting insights into the change of life in Ireland over the course of that century, with more complete data it would be possible to produce even more interesting information. By tracking internal and external migration of individuals in the intervening censuses, we can track the movement of families across time, the introduction of new families and residents and the end of certain bloodlines.
With greater kml information on transportation changes we could see how these affected the changing populations of Irish counties, for the better or worse.