Gaelic Ireland consisted of as few as five and as many as nine Primary kingdoms (Cuaighe) which were often subdivided into many minor smaller kingdoms (Tutha). The primary kingdoms were Connacht, Ailech, Airgíalla, Ulster, Mide, Leinster, Osraige, Munster and Thomond. Until the end of Gaelic Ireland they continued to fluctuate, expand and contract in size, as well as dissolving entirely or being amalgamated into new entities. The role of High King of Ireland was primarily titular and rarely (if ever) absolute. Gaelic Ireland was not ruled as a unitary state.
The names of Connacht, Ulster, Leinster and Munster are still in use, now applied to the four modern provinces of Ireland.