Munster, the south-west and largest of the four provinces of Ireland. It contains the six counties of Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tip-perary, and Waterford. Area, 6,064,579 statute acres. Pop. (1841) 2,396,161; (1861) 1,513,558; (1901) 1,076,188 (1,007,876 Catholics).
Munster, capital of Westphalia, 101 miles by rail N. by E. of Cologne and 106 SS W. of Bremen. It retains numerous remains of mediaeval architecture, including the mixed Romanesque and Gothic cathedral (12th-14th c.); the Gothic town-hall, in which, in 1648, the peace of Westphalia was signed; the castle, built in 1767, and surrounded by fine pleasure-grounds; and the 16th-century town wine-cellar, with its old pictures. The Catholic university of Munster was dissolved in 1818 ; there is now an academy, with a Catholic theological and a philosophical faculty, about 470 pupils, and a library of 123,000 volumes. The industrial products include woollen, cotton, and silk fabrics, and paper, besides dyeing, printing, and enamelling. Pop. (1875) 35,705; now, with suburbs, 72,300, mainly Catholics. In 791 Charlemagne made Mimigardevord the see of the new bishop of the Saxons, and about 1050 a monastery (whence Munster) was founded on the spot. In the 13th c. the city became a Hanse Town ; and in 1535 was the scene of the violent movement of the Anabaptists, till the bishop repossessed himself of the city. In both the Thirty Years' War and the Seven Years' War Munster suffered severely. The principality, into which the bishopric had been elevated in the 12th century, was secularised in 1803, and the Congress of Vienna gave the greater part of it to Prussia. - There is another Munster in Alsace, 12 miles SW. of Colmar by rail; pop. 3390.