In the beginning the county was controlled by O'Rourke who had control until the 16th century. Dromahaire was, at the time, their head quarters. After the confiscation of O'Rourke's lands and of the plantations of O'Rourke's lands by the English, the county was defined in 1565.
During all the medieval period, the county was covered with huge forests until 17th century. Towns like Carrick-on-Shannon, Manorhamilton and Jamestown were founded at that time.
The Great Famine forced the population to emigrate, which made it drop from 155,000 inhabitants at the beginning of the 19th century to 25,000 today.
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