County Louth

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County Louth
Contae Lú
Flag of County Louth
Motto: Lugh sáimh-ioldánach  (Irish)
"Lugh equally skilled in many arts"
Location of County Louth
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
Dáil Éireann Louth
EU Parliament Midlands–North-West
County town Dundalk
 • Type County Council
 • Total 826 km2 (319 sq mi)
Area rank 32nd
Population (2011) 122,897[1]
 • Rank 18th [2]
Vehicle index
mark code
Cooley Mountains

County Louth (/ˈlð/; Irish: Contae Lú, Lugmad, Lughbhadh, Lughbhaidh, Lughmhadh)[3][4][5] is a county[6] in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Louth. Louth County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 122,897 according to the 2011 census.[7]


County Louth is colloquially known as 'the Wee County' as it is Ireland's smallest county by area (826 km² (319sq miles).[8] It is the 19th largest in terms of population.[9] It is the smallest of Leinster’s 12 counties by size and the sixth largest by population.


Baronies of Louth

The official spelling in Irish, , is derived from Lughbhaidh - the Celtic pagan god Lugh, whose festival is celebrated at Lughnasadh (Lúnasa). This is a county steeped in myth, legend and history, going back to the pre-historic days of the Táin Bó Cúailnge (Cooley Cattle Raid, see Cú Chulainn). Later it saw the influence of the Vikings as seen in the name of Carlingford Lough. They also established a longphort at Annagassan in the ninth century. At this time Louth consisted of three sub-kingdoms each subject to separate over-kingdoms: Conaille (Ulaidh); Fir Rois (Airgialla); and, the Fir Arda Ciannachta (Midhe). The whole area became part of the O'Carroll Kingdom of Airgialla (Oriel) early in the twelfth century.

There are a number of historic sites in the county, including religious sites at Monasterboice, Mellifont Abbey and the St Mary Magdalene Dominican Friary. In the early fourteenth century the Scottish army of Edward Bruce siege of Drogheda. Edward went on to be defeated in the Battle of Faughart near Dundalk, this time losing not only his claim to the High Kingship Of Ireland, but also his life.

The Normans occupied the Louth area in the 1180s, and it became known as English Oriel, to distinguish it from the remainder (Irish Oriel) which remained in Irish hands. The latter became the McMahon lordship of Oriel of Monaghan.

In 1412AD a Royal Charter was granted to Drogheda. This charter unified the towns of Drogheda-in-Meath and Drogheda-in-Uriel (Louth) as a County in its own right, styled as ‘the County of the town of Drogheda’.[10] Drogheda continued as a County Borough until the setting up of County Councils, through the enactment of the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898, which saw all of Drogheda, including a large area south of the River Boyne, become part of an extended County Louth.[10][11][12]

Until the late sixteenth century Louth had been a part of Ulster, before being included as part of Leinster after a conference held at Faughart (in 1596) between the Chiefs of Ulster (O'Nial/O'Niel and O'Donel/McDonnel), on the Irish side, and the Archbishop of Cashel and the Earl of Ormonde on that of the English.

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries featured many skirmishes and battles involving Irish and English forces, as it was on the main route to 'the Moiry Pass' and the Ulster areas often in rebellion and as yet uncolonised. Oliver Cromwell attacked Drogheda in 1649 slaughtering the Royalist garrison and hundreds of the town's citizens. Towards the end of the same century the armies of the warring Kings, James and William, faced off in South Louth during the build-up to the Battle of the Boyne the battle was fought 3 km west Drogheda. Drogheda held for James II under Lord Iveagh but surrendered to King William (III) of Orange the day after the battle of the Boyne.[13]

In 1798 the leaders of the United Irishmen included Bartholomew Teeling, John Byrne and Patrick Byrne, all from Castletown; Anthony Marmion from Louth Town & Dundalk,Anthony McCann from Corderry; Nicholas and Thomas Markey from Barmeath, Arthur McKeown, John Warren and James McAllister from Cambricville. They were betrayed by informers, notably a Dr. Conlan, who came from Dundalk, and an agent provocateur called Sam Turner, from Newry. Several leaders were hanged.

The priest and scientist Nicholas Callan (1799–1864) was from Darver.


County Louth is the 19th largest county in terms of population[9] yet it is the most densely populated county in Ireland outside of Dublin with a population density of 148.7 people per km², almost double that of the national average. The majority of the county's 122,897 population live in either Dundalk in North Louth, or Drogheda in South Louth. The 2011 Census[20] confirmed Drogheda[20] and Dundalk[20] as not only the largest towns in the county, but also the largest and second largest towns and overall 6th and 7th largest urban areas in Ireland.

Towns & Settlements (2011 Census)[edit]

Area Legal Town Limit Inc. Environs
Dundalk 31,149[21] 37,816[22]
Drogheda 30,393[23] 38,578[24]
Ardee 4,554 4,927
Blackrock 3,000 3,000
Clogherhead 1,993 3,026
Dunleer 1,786 2,340
Termonfeckin 1,443 1,443
Tullyallen 1,358 1,358
Dromiskin 1,115 1,115
Carlingford 1,045 1,045
Castlebellingham 1,035 1,035
Louth 715 715
Tallanstown 673 673
Knockbridge 583 583
Omeath 503 503
Tinure 456 456
Jenkinstown 323 323
Beaulieu 221 221
Annagassan 180 180

Towns and villages[edit]

Local government and politics[edit]

Louth County Council[edit]

Main article: Louth County Council

The local authority is Louth County Council, offices in Dundalk, which provides a number of services including; planning, roads maintenance, fire brigade, council housing, water supply, waste collection, recycling and landfill, higher education grants and funding for arts and culture.[25]

Since the implementation of the Local Government Reform Act 2014 on 1 June 2014, County Louth has been subdivided into four Local Electoral Area's (often abbreviated as LEA) for elections to Louth County Council and three Municipal districts for local government which are,

  • Ardee Municipal District
  • Drogheda Borough District
  • Dundalk Municipal District
Council Area District
[t 1]
[t 2]
[t 3]
Louth County Council (29) Ardee Y Y 6
Drogheda Y[t 4] Y 10
Dundalk Y 13
Dundalk Carlingford Y 6
Dundalk South Y 7


  1. ^ Y indicates the area is a municipal district. (Those designated as "metropolitan district" or "borough district" are footnoted.)
  2. ^ Y indicates the area is a local electoral area.
  3. ^ The number of councillors returned by the LEA and/or the number on the district council. All district councillors are ex officio members of the county/city council.
  4. ^ Borough district.

Louth Dáil Éireann constituency[edit]

For elections to Dáil Éireann, Louth is represented by the five member Louth constituency which takes in the entire county of Louth and two electoral divisions in County Meath. the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2009 merged the electoral divisions of St.Mary's (Part) and Julianstown, collectively known as "East Meath" in County Meath with County Louth to form one Dáil Éireann constituency. The Report on Dáil and European Parliament Constituencies 2007 outlined "by extending the constituency southwards from, and in the environs of, Drogheda and taking in electoral divisions which have extensive linkages with the town. This will allow the inclusion of the town of Drogheda and hinterland areas in a single constituency." [26] TThis merger allowed the areas of the Greater Drogheda area in County Meath [27] and their combined population of 20,375 to be merged with Drogheda and County Louth. Following the 2011 general election, the constituency elected two TDs for the Fine Gael party (centre right), and one TD each for Fianna Fáil (centre to centre-right), the Labour Party (centre left) and Sinn Féin (left wing).

Irish language[edit]

The area of Omeath was Irish-speaking until the early 20th century. A native dialect of Louth Irish existed there until about 1930, but is now extinct, although recordings have been made.[28] Within the county 1,587 people use Irish on a daily basis outside of the education system according to the 2011 census.[29]








See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census 2011 - County Louth". Central Statistics Office. 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland (April 2007).
  3. ^ "Placenames Database of Ireland". Fiontar (DCU) and The Placenames Branch (Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht). 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Louth - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  5. ^ Location Result
  6. ^ Section 2(1) of the Local Government Act, 2001, provides that the administrative area for which a county council is responsible is a county:,1963,en.pdf
  7. ^ Census 2011 - County Louth Overview
  8. ^ North West Passage
  9. ^ a b Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 186–191. ISBN 0-340-89695-7. 
  10. ^ a b Johnston, L. C. (1826). History of Drogheda: from the earliest period to the present time. Drogheda. p. 37. 
  11. ^ D'Alton, John 1844, The History of Drogheda
  12. ^
  13. ^ Cite error: The named reference ReferenceA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  14. ^ For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy March 14, 1865.
  15. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  16. ^
  17. ^ NISRA - Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2013. (2010-09-27). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  18. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 
  19. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850". The Economic History Review 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. 
  20. ^ a b c
  21. ^ "Legal Towns Dundalk Legal Town (CSO Area Code LT 10008)". Central Statistics Office. 2011. 
  22. ^ "Dundalk Legal Town And Its Environs Results". Central Statistics Office. 2011. 
  23. ^ "Legal Towns Drogheda Legal Town (CSO Area Code LT 10008)". Central Statistics Office. 2011. 
  24. ^ "Drogheda Legal Town And Its Environs Results". Central Statistics Office. 2011. 
  25. ^ "Services". Louth County Council. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Louth Irish Language
  29. ^ "County Louth". Central Statistics Office. 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°50′N 6°30′W / 53.833°N 6.500°W / 53.833; -6.500