DUNDALK started life in legendary prehistory as a fort guarding a gap in the mountains to the north. Its name comes from a prehistoric fort known as Dún Dealgan – literally the Fort of Dealgan a Celtic stronghold, said to have once been the home of the Celtic mythological hero Cúchulainn. it became in turn a Norse, Anglo-Norman, Jacobean and finally Williamite stronghold. Throughout its long history because of its superior position Dundalk has been attacked and burned many times.Carlingford 1841
Both Cromwell and the Normans attempted to lay waste to its population. Somehow the areas population always bounced back – its population increasing from 600 in 1660 to about 30,000 today.
Dundalk is now administrative centre for County Louth the boundaries of which were laid by Queen Elizabeth I and her land commission in the 15th century and is the smallest county in Ireland. It is sited on the lowest bridging point of the Castletown River.
Today’s Dundalk retains the linear characteristics of a medieval town. Evidence of pre-historic and early Christian settlements exist though its Seatown Castle medieval characteristics are more evident.
Traditional industries such as breweries, tobacco companies, shoemaking plants, textile mills still thrive among more modern industries such as soft drink bottlers and electronics manufacturers. The town exports meat, footwear, tobacco, cigarettes, beer, barley and oats.
To the south is a village called Dunleer. About 13 miles away is Ardee, site of a legendary battle between Cuchullain and his friend Ferdia. Dundalk is situated in one of the most historical and scenic parts of Ireland, the Boyne valley is only 15 minutes drive away.
Its coastline on the Irish Sea and the amenities of Carlingford Lough are complimented by outstanding hill and rural topography which attract both local and visitors interest.