Dundalk facts for kids

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Dún Dealgan
Clockwise from top: Castle Roche, Clarke Station, St. Patrick's Pro-Cathedral, The Marshes shopping centre, Market Square, Dundalk Institute of Technology
Clockwise from top: Castle Roche, Clarke Station, St. Patrick's Pro-Cathedral, The Marshes shopping centre, Market Square, Dundalk Institute of Technology
Coat of arms of Dundalk
Coat of arms
Motto: Mé do rug Cú Chulainn cróga  (Irish)
"I gave birth to brave Cú Chulainn"
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
County County Louth
Dáil Éireann Louth
EU Parliament Midlands–North-West
Inhabited 3500 BC
Charter 1189 AD
 • Urban 25.19 km2 (9.73 sq mi)
 • Rural 354.04 km2 (136.70 sq mi)
Population (Census 2011)
 • Town 37,816
 • Rank 7th
 • Urban 31,149
 • Rural 25,613
 • Environs 6,667
Time zone WET (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (UTC+1)
Eircode A91
Irish Grid Reference J048074
Dialing code 042, +353 42
Website www.dundalk.ie

Dundalk (/dʌnˈdɔːk/, Irish: Dún Dealgan, meaning Dalgan's fort) is the county town of County Louth, Ireland. It is on the Castletown River, which flows into Dundalk Bay, and is near the border with Northern Ireland, halfway between Dublin and Belfast. It has associations with the mythical warrior hero Cú Chulainn.


The Dundalk area has been inhabited since at least 3500 BC, in the Neolithic period. A tangible reminder of their presence can still be seen in the form of the Proleek Dolmen, the eroded remains of a megalithic tomb located in the Ballymascanlon area to the north of Dundalk. Celtic culture arrived in Ireland around 500 BC. According to the legendary historical accounts, the group settled in North Louth were known as the Conaille Muirtheimne and took their name from Conaill Carnagh, legendary chief of the Red Branch Knights of Ulster. Their land now forms upper and lower Dundalk.

Dundalk had been originally developed as an unwalled Sráid Bhaile (meaning village; translates literally as "Street Townland"). The streets passed along a gravel ridge which runs from the present day Bridge Street in the North, through Church Street to Clanbrassil Street to Earl Street, and finally to Dublin Street.

St Patricks Church Dundalk 2a
St. Patrick's Church, Dundalk

In 1169 the Normans arrived in Ireland and set about conquering large areas. By 1185 a Norman nobleman named Bertram de Verdun erected a manor house at Castletown Mount and subsequently obtained the town's charter in 1189. Another Norman family, the De Courcys, led by John de Courcy, settled in the Seatown area of Dundalk, the "Nova Villa de Dundalke". Both families assisted in the fortification of the town, building walls and other fortification in the style of a Norman fortress. The town of Dundalk was developed as it lay close to an easy bridging point over the Castletown River and as a frontier town, the northern limit of The Pale. In 1236 Bertram's granddaughter, Rohesia commissioned Castle Roche to fortify the region, and to offer protection from the Irish territory of Ulster.

The town was sacked in 1315, during the Bruce campaign. After taking possession of the town Edward Bruce proclaimed himself King of Ireland and remained here for nearly a whole year before his army was totally defeated and himself slain after being attacked by John de Birmingham.

Dundalk had been under Royalist (Ormondist) control for centuries, until 1647 when it became occupied by The Northern Parliamentary Army of Colonel George Monck.

The modern town of Dundalk largely owes its form to Lord Limerick (James Hamilton, later 1st Earl of Clanbrassil) in the 17th century. He commissioned the construction of streets leading to the town centre; his ideas came from many visits to Europe. In addition to the demolition of the old walls and castles, he had new roads laid out eastwards of the principal streets. The most important of these new roads connected a newly laid down Market Square, which still survives, with a linen and cambric factory at its eastern end, adjacent to what was once an army cavalry and artillery barracks (now Aiken Barracks).

In the 19th century the town grew in importance and many industries were set up in the local area, including a large distillery. This development was helped considerably by the opening of railways, the expansion of the docks area or 'Quay' and the setting up of a board of commissioners to run the town.

The partition of Ireland in May 1921 turned Dundalk into a border town and the DublinBelfast main line into an international railway. The Irish Free State opened customs and immigration facilities at Dundalk to check goods and passengers crossing the border by train. The Irish Civil War of 1922–23 saw a number of confrontations in Dundalk. The local Fourth Northern Division of the Irish Republican Army under Frank Aiken, who took over Dundalk barracks after the British left, tried to stay neutral but 300 of them were detained by the National Army in August 1922. However, a raid on Dundalk Gaol freed Aiken and over 100 other anti-treaty prisoners; two weeks later he retook Dundalk barracks and captured its garrison before freeing the remaining republican prisoners there. Aiken did not try to hold the town, however, and before withdrawing he called for a truce in a meeting in the centre of Dundalk. The 49 Infantry Battalion and 58 Infantry Battalion of the National Army were based in Dundalk along with No.8 armoured locomotive and two fully armoured cars of their Railway Protection Corps.

For several decades after the end of the Civil War, Dundalk continued to function as a market town, a regional centre, and a centre of administration and manufacturing. Its position close to the border gave it considerable significance during the "Troubles" of Northern Ireland. Many people were sympathetic to the cause of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and Sinn Féin. It was in this period that Dundalk earned the nickname 'El Paso', after the Texan border town of the same name on the border with Mexico.

On 1 September 1973, the 27 Infantry Battalion of the Irish Army was established with its Headquarters in Dundalk barracks, renamed Aiken Barracks in 1986 in honour of Frank Aiken.

Dundalk suffered economically when Irish membership of the European Economic Community in the 1970s exposed local manufacturers to foreign competition that they were ill equipped to cope with. Today many international companies have factories in Dundalk, from food processing to high-tech computer components. Harp Lager, a beer produced by Diageo, is brewed in the Great Northern Brewery, Dundalk.

The Earls of Roden had property interests in Dundalk for over three centuries, and at an auction in July 2006 the 10th Earl sold his freehold of the town, including ground rents, mineral rights, manorial rights, the reversion of leases and the freehold of highways, common land, and the fair green. Included in the sale were many documents, such as a large 18th century estate map. The buyer was undisclosed.


  • 248 - Battle fought at Faughart by Cormac Ulfada, High King of Ireland against Storno (Starno), king of Lochlin
  • 732 - Battle fought at Faughart by Hugh Allain, king of Ireland against the Ulaid
  • 851 – Battle at Dundalk Bay between the Fingall (Norwegian) and Dubhgall (Danish) Vikings takes place
  • 877 - Gregory, King of Scotland took Dundalk en route to Dublin
  • 1318 – Battle of Dundalk (Battle of Faughart) fought on 14 October 1318 between a Hiberno-Norman force led by John de Bermingham, 1st Earl of Louth and Edmund Butler, Earl of Carrick and a Scots-Irish army commanded by Edward Bruce, brother of Robert Bruce, King of Scotland.
  • 1483 - Traghbally-of-Dundalk plundered and burned by Hugh Oge ally of Con O'Donnell
  • 1566 - O'Neill besieged the town with 4,000 footmen and 700 horsemen
  • 1688 - Brothers Malcolm and Archibald MacNeill, officers of William III land in Dundalk and defeat the Celtic MacScanlons in the Battle of Ballymascanlon
  • 1689 - Schomberg's English, Dutch and French army camped to the north of the town record 6,000 deaths due to fever, scurvy, and ague
  • 1941 - On 24 July the town was bombed by the Luftwaffe with no casualties.
  • 1971 - The Battle of Courtbane - on Sunday 29 August 1801 a British army patrol consisting of two armoured Ferret Scout cars crossed the Irish border into Co. Louth near the village of Courtbane close to Dundalk. When attempting to retreat back angry locals blocked their way and set one of the vehicles on fire. While this was happening an IRA unit arrived on the scene and after an exchange of gunfire a British soldier was killed and another one was wounded.
  • 1975 - The Dundalk Christmas Bombing - on 19 December 1975 a car bomb killed 2 and injured 15

Coat of arms

A bend between six martlets forms the coat of arms. The bend and martlets are derived from the family of Thomas de Furnivall who obtained a large part of the land and property of Dundalk and district in about 1309 by marriage to Joan de Verdon daughter of Theobald de Verdon (an Anglo-Norman family). Three of these martlets, in reversed tinctures, form the arms of Dundalk FC. The ermine boar supporter is derived from the arms of the Ó hAnluain (O'Hanlon) family, Kings of Airthir.



Situated where the Castletown River flows into Dundalk Bay, the town is close to the border with Northern Ireland (3.5 km direct point-to-point aerial transit path border to border) and equidistant from Dublin and Belfast.


Similar to much of northwest Europe, Dundalk experiences a maritime climate, sheltered by the Cooley and Mourne Mountains to the North, and undulating hills to the West and South, the town experiences cool winters, mild summers, and a lack of temperature extremes.

Climate data for Dundalk (2013-2015 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14
Average high °C (°F) 12
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.0
Average low °C (°F) 0.0
Record low °C (°F) -4.0
Source: Dundalk ILOUTHDU4 Private Weather System,


Population by place of birth:

Location 2006 2011 Change
Ireland 28,095 29,114 +1,019
UK 3,488 3,839 +351
Poland 252 555 +303
Lithuania 421 633 +212
Other EU 27 692 1,119 +427
Rest of World 1,804 2,269 +465

Population by ethnic or cultural background:

Ethnicity or culture 2006 2011
White Irish 29,840 30,645
White Irish Traveller 325 441
Other White 1,802 2,987
Black or Black Irish 1,276 1,669
Asian or Asian Irish 372 687
Other 380 389
Not stated 757 711

Population by religion:

Religion 2002 2006 2011
Roman Catholic 29,177 30,677 31,790
Church of Ireland (incl. Protestant) 482 527 -
Church of Ireland, England, Anglican, Episcopalian - - 590
Apostolic or Pentecostal - - 359
Other Christian religion, n.e.s. 415 480 714
Presbyterian 169 165 178
Muslim (Islamic) 279 436 569
Orthodox (Greek, Coptic, Russian) 44 171 399
Methodist, Wesleyan 84 66 -
Other stated religions 467 627 541
No religion 773 1,158 1,971
Not stated 615 778 705

Places of interest

Places of interest in North Louth within 15 km of Dundalk.

Place Description Location Image
County Museum Dundalk The county museum documenting the history of County Louth.
St. Patrick's Church The site was acquired in 1834 with the building completed in 1847, but was in use from 1842.
St Patricks Church Dundalk 2a
St. Nicholas' Church (Roman Catholic) The site was levelled and the foundations cleared out in February 1859, dedication of the Church was in August 1860. Contains a shrine to the local born St. Bridget.
St Joseph's Redemptorist Church The community of Redemptorists, or missionary priests, settled here in 1876. Contains a relic of St. Gerard Majella.
Parish Church of Saint Nicholas (Anglican Church of Ireland) Known locally as the Green Church due to its green copper spire. Contains epitaph erected to the memory of Scotland's National Bard, Robert Burns and whose sister Agnes Burns/Galt and her husband William Galt who built Stephenstown Pond are buried here.
St. Nicholas Church, Dundalk
St. Nicholas Church, Dundalk
Priory of St Malachy, Dominican chapel The 'Carlingford Dominicans' official foundation in Dundalk was in 1777
Saint Brigid's Shrine
St Brigid's Well Holy Well dedicated to St. Brigid
St Bridget's Church, Kilcurry Holds a relic of St Bridget - a fragment of her skull was brought here in 1905 by Sister Mary Agnes of the Dundalk Convent of Mercy
Castle Roche Norman castle, the seat of the De Verdun family, who built the castle in 1236 AD.
Roche Castle from North West 1
Proleek Dolmen One of the finest examples of its kind in Ireland
Proleek Wedge Tomb
Franciscan friary Founded 1246
County Louth - Seatown Castle
County Louth - Seatown Castle
Windmill Tower An eight-storey windmill-tower, built around 1800.
Our Lady's Well / Ladywell Pattern takes place here on 15 August, during the feast of the assumption.
Cloghafarmore (Cuchulains / Cú Chulainn Stone) Standing stone on which Cú Chulainn tied himself to after his battle with Lugaid in order to die on his feet, facing his enemies.
Dromiskin Round Tower & High Crosses Founded by a disciple of St Patrick, Lughaidh (unknown - 515AD)
Round Tower, Dromiskin
Cú Chulainn Castle / Dun Dealgan Castle / Castletown Motte / Byrne's Folly Built in the late 11th century by Bertram de Verdun, a later addition was the castellated house known as 'Byrne's Folly' built in 1780 by a local pirate named Patrick Byrne.
Byrne's Folly on Castletown Motte profile 2
Byrne's Folly on Castletown Motte profile 2
Magic Hill A place where the layout of the surrounding land produces the optical illusion that a very slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope. Thus, a car left out of gear will appear to be rolling uphill against gravity.
Long Woman's Grave or "The Cairn of Cauthleen" The grave of a Spanish noble woman, Cauthleen, who married Lorcan O’Hanlon, the youngest son of the "Cean" or Chieftain of Omeath. Her grave is known as the "Lug Bhan Fada" (long woman’s hollow).
Rockmarshall Court Tomb 14 metres long cairn.
Dunmahon Castle Ruins of four storeys tower-house with vault over ground floor. In 1659 it was the residence of Henry Townley.
Haynestown castle 3-storey square tower house with corner turrets
Milltown Castle 15th century Norman keep about 55 feet high built by the Gernon family.
Knockabbey Castle and Gardens Originally built in 1399, the historical water gardens originally date from the 11th century.
Louth Hall Castle Ruins originally built in the 14th century in gothic design, it was later extended in the 18th and 19th century in Georgian design. Home of the Plunkett family, Lords of Louth
Roodstown Castle Dates from the 15th century, features two turrets.
Aghnaskeagh Cairn and Portal Tomb
Faughart Round Tower Remains of a monastery founded by St Moninna in the 5th century.
Grave of Edward Bruce Proclaimed High King of Ireland before he was killed in the battle of Faughart in 1318
Faughart Motte
Kilwirra Church, Templetown St Mary's Church at Templetown, associated with the Knights Templar founded in 1118 by Hugh de Payens.
Lady Well, Templetown
Ardee Castle The largest fortified medieval Tower House in Ireland or Britain, founded by Roger de Peppard in 1207, the current building was built in the 15th century by John St. Ledger. James II used it as his headquarters for a month prior to the Battle of the Boyne.
Hatch's Castle, Ardee Medieval Tower House
Kildemock Church 'The Jumping Church' 14th century Church built on the site of the Church of Deomog (Cill Deomog), under the control of the Knights Templar until 1540.
St Mary's Priory Augustinian Priory stands on the site where St Mochta established a monastery in 528 CE.
St Mochta's House 12th Century Church/Oratory.
St James' Well
Liberties of Carlingford Medieval Head Carving
The Mint of Carlingford Mint established in 1467
Tallanstown Motte
Dominican Priory of Carlingford Founded by Richard de Burgh in 1305
King John's Castle (Carlingford) Commissioned by Hugh de Lacy before 1186, the castle owes its name to King John (Richard the Lionheart's brother) who visited Carlingford in 1210.
King johns front shadow
King John's Castle
Carlingford Lough A glacial fjord that forms part of the border between Northern Ireland to the north and Ireland to the south. On its northern shore is County Down and on its southern shore is County Louth. At its extreme interior angle (the northwest corner) it is fed by the Newry River and the Newry Canal.
Taaffe's Castle and Carlingford Harbour - geograph.org.uk - 986404
Carlingford Harbour
Ravensdale Forest, Ravensdale, County Louth
Ravensdale Forest
Ravensdale Forest

Arts and festivals

Dundalk has two photography clubs – Dundalk Photographic Society and the Tain Photographic Club. In 2010 Dundalk Photographic Society won the FIAP Photography Club World Cup.

Dundalk has a vibrant music environment.

  • The Fr. McNally Chamber Orchestra created in April 2010. It is a string chamber orchestra made of violins, violas, double basses and cellos and has 29 members.
  • The Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland (CBOI) which is one of Ireland's primary youth orchestras. It is based in the Dundalk Institute of Technology and maintains a membership of 160 young musicians between the ages of 12 and 24 years. The CBOI was established in 1995 shortly after the implementation of the Peace Process and is recognised internationally and one of Ireland's flagship peace initiatives. The CBOI tours regularly to Europe and America and has sold out such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, New York and Chicago Symphony Hall.
  • The Clermont Chorale. It was formed in 2003 and has 30 members, drawn from all parts of County Louth. Its repertoire includes music from the 17th to the 21st century, across many styles and genres.
  • Dundalk School of Music. Created in February 2010, it aims to provide education in music for all age groups in many disciplines.
  • Historic Dundalk Gaol is the home of The Oriel Centre – a regional centre for Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann. The Oriel Centre Dundalk Gaol. opened in Oct 2010 and focuses on the promotion of Traditional Irish music, song dance and the Irish language.
Local festivals
Month Festival
February Brigid of Faughart Festival
March Carlingford National Leprechaun Hunt
June Louth Táin March Festival

Dundalk Youth Arts Festival

August All-Ireland Poc Fada Championship

Annagassan Viking Festival
Carlingford Oyster Festival
Heritage Week
Peninsula Ploughing & Field Day
Greenore Maritime Festival

September Knockbridge Vintage Rally & Family Fun Day
October Festival of Horrors
November Dundalk Festival of Light & Culture

Ardee Baroque Festival



Border diagram 2007
Dundalk Infrastructure Hub & Gateway access
Dundalk platform
Dundalk railway station

Shipping services to Liverpool were provided from 1837 by the Dundalk Steam Packet Company.

Dundalk is an important stop along the Dublin–Belfast railway line, being the last station on the Republic side of the border. Its rail link to Dublin was inaugurated in 1849 and the line to Belfast was opened the following year. Further railway links opened to Derry by 1859 and Greenore in 1873.

In the 20th century, Dundalk's secondary railway links were closed: first the line to Greenore in 1951 and then that to Derry in 1957. In 1966 Dundalk railway station was renamed Dundalk Clarke Station after the Irish republican activist Tom Clarke, though it is still usually just called Dundalk Station. The station is served by the Dublin-Belfast "Enterprise" express trains as well as local Commuter services to and from Dublin. It also houses a small museum of railway history.

Dundalk's Bus Station is operated by Bus Éireann and located at Long Walk near the town centre.

Ongoing infrastructure evolutions continue in and around Dundalk to meet a programme deadline of 2020. These improvements embrace the road, rail and telecommunication infrastructures for—according to the National Development Plan—a better integration with the neighbouring Dublin, Midlands Gateway, and Cavan/Monaghan Hubs.

The M1 – N1/A1 now connects Dundalk to Dublin and Newry. Works to extend it to Belfast are ongoing and are scheduled to end in winter 2010.

Twinning / sister cities

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the Republic of Ireland

Dundalk is twinned with the following places:


World towns named after Dundalk:

  • United States Dundalk, Maryland, United States - founded 1856
  • Canada Dundalk, Ontario, Canada - incorporated 1887


  • Canada Dundalk Mountain, Yukon Territory, Canada


  • Dundalk Road, Crossmaglen, Northern Ireland
  • Dundalk Road, Cullyhanna, Northern Ireland
  • United Kingdom Dundalk Rd, London SE4 2JJ, United Kingdom
  • United Kingdom Dundalk Rd, Widnes, Cheshire, United Kingdom

Images for kids

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