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Dún Léire
Dunleer station and platform on the Belfast-Dublin Line
Dunleer station and platform on the Belfast-Dublin Line
Dunleer is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°49′48″N 6°23′42″W / 53.830°N 6.395°W / 53.830; -6.395Coordinates: 53°49′48″N 6°23′42″W / 53.830°N 6.395°W / 53.830; -6.395
39 m (128 ft)
 • Town1,822
 • Urban

Dunleer (Irish: Dún Léire) is a town and townland in County Louth, Ireland. Dunleer is situated midway between Dundalk and Drogheda and is located on the junction of the R132, R169 and R170 regional roads that intersect the town.

Dunleer used to be the principal Town Borough in the Barony of Ferrard and has a Charter dating back to 1252.


The town has ties to the early Sixth Century Christian monastery of Lann Leire. The Monastery, which was located approximately where today Dunleer's Church of Ireland is located, suffered numerous attacks over its history it was finally burned to the ground in 1148. After a period of ruin, the Norman family of De Audley settled the area about thirty years later.

In 1513, John Barnewall was knighted and received large grants of land in the Dunleer area, including the manor of Dunleer. It is possible that it was at this time that the settlement became known as "Dun" Leire. There is a reference to "the ville of Dun Leire" in old records dating from 1227. The town was raised to the status of a Manor at this time. Dunleer was subsequently granted a Market Town Charter in 1252, with the right to hold a Fair and Markets at various times.[2]

Dunleer is the principal town in the former Barony of Ferrard and was granted an enhanced Charter by King Charles II in 1671 to hold markets and fairs.

This was followed by Royal Charter in 1678 establishing Dunleer as a Municipal Corporation (Town Borough Council). This was to encourage greater settlement. The Corporation had 13 members, and annually elected a mayor, known as "Sovereign" of the Borough. It was the very last Borough to be established in Ireland.

Dunleer at one time also elected two members of parliament to the old Irish House of Commons, which was abolished by the Act of Union in 1801. After the Act of Union between the English and Irish House of Commons, there was very little business for the Corporation to do. It last convened in 1811. Since that time, it has not met.


Dunleer has grown rapidly in recent years, and the population has grown accordingly, with many new houses being built. This is born out by the Irish 2006 Census, which revealed that Dunleer had 2,340 people living in the Town. This meant the population had grown by more than 30% in five years.

The 2016 Census shows the present population of Dunleer to be 2,878. With the town experiencing renewed prosperity as a result of this growth, a wide range of shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes have been established in the thriving town centre. Dunleer's proximity to Drogheda, Ardee, Dundalk, and its location as a crossroads on the main north-south economic corridor of Ireland have made this once rural village officially a town.


Dunleer has been a centre of industry from the 17th Century.

At one time it had three water powered mills. Rosevale; which was a flax mill (location of today's Glen Dimplex on the Barn Road), Skibbolmore; which was a steel pin manufacturing mill (later converted to flour milling) and Glebe Mill (operating since 1698) which is still producing stone ground flour in small amounts from time to time for the artisan trade.

Dunleer has also been a centre of domestic appliance manufacturing since the late 1930s, and is still a centre of manufacturing, with two factories employing several hundred people. There are also a number of thriving services firms. In recent years, it has been known as the home of the award-winning Lannleire Honey, which is produced there.

Dunleer is becoming a location for cutting edge technologies. Suretank, world leaders in industrial liquid container technology Patrick Joy who led the company for many years was awarded the Entrepenaur of the year award in Ireland 2014. Swift Composites;cutting edge engineering and M-Cor, 3D Printing and fabrication technologies are located in Dunleer's Shamrock Hill Business Park. Further to this the Dunleer Development Board has now founded the New Energy Ambassador which is helping people reduce energy costs and upgrade their homes in 2016 and 2017. Glen Dimplex the local company also produces the technology to help upgrade homes and businesses. Dunleer is fast becoming one of Ireland's most energy efficient communities.


Dunleer is well served by the number of schools in its locality. All are co-educational facilities where boys and girls are taught together.

Primary school[edit]

The town has three mixed gender primary schools in Dunleer;

  • St. Kevins National School
  • St. Fintan's National School
  • St. Brigids National School

Secondary school[edit]

Scoil Ui Mhuiri Post Primary, the only secondary school in the local area, is a fast growing mixed post-primary school which has become more modern due to new buildings being constructed, it is located on Barn Road in Dunleer. The school has experienced significant growth in recent years with two extensions built with a third one on the way, the school currently has 586 pupils enrolled and over 50 staff employed The school received funding for a multimillion-euro extension but work is currently halted, it was originally planned to be finished before the end of 2018.[3][4]

Civic Amenities and Community Life[edit]

In recent years the town has developed a broad range of services, supplying the needs of its growing population.

  • Dunleer is home to Lannleire GFC but nearby locates St. Kevins GFC which is also within the parish of Dunleer.
  • There has been fantastic rivalry between the two GAA teams since their founding.
  • It has a Roman Catholic church (St. Brigid's) and a Church of Ireland Church.
  • There is a community library which is located in the old Station Master's House on Station Road.
  • It has a Pavilion Centre, with an indoor Basketball Arena and Gym facilities.
  • Dunleer also has an outdoor Athletics Racing Track, the home of Dunleer Athletic Club, located on Lannleire GFC football sports campus. Dunleer A.C. organise the world-famous Ras na hEireann Cross-Country International Athlete Races.
  • Dunleer has an existing railway station which is currently not open to the public.
  • The Mid-Louth Camera Club meets every week in The Mill Race Inn, operated by landlord Dessie Connor.
  • Dunleer Film club meets in St. Brigid's Centre, Upper Main Street, Dunleer.
  • Dunleer 'Men's Shed' Project was established in early 2015. They are the latest addition to Dunleer's community life.
  • Dunleer is also home to Scoil Ui Mhuiri Secondary School, which is regarded as a very modern teaching facility.
  • Efforts are underway to establish a Gaelscoil(Irish Language Medium Primary School) in the area, and it is hoped for it to be open sometime in the near future.
  • Dunleer Children's Playground amenity opened on March 31, 2012. Developed by the Dunleer Community Development Board, a community fundraising effort was needed, and this was achieved.
  • The Market House of Dunleer reopened during July 2014. It is the civic centre of Dunleer Village. It is a civic body established by the Dunleer Community Development Board, whom are the trustees of the building. The Board formed a Limited Liability Company, with Legal Status, known as DCDB Limited to manage The Market House as a civic amenity.
  • Dunleer's St. Patrick's Day Parade was revived in 2010, after a break of sixteen years and ended again due to lack of funding.
  • The annual Christmas Festival of Dunleer occurs in December each year. This includes Turning on the Christmas Lights, 'Santa Claus' arrival in Dunleer, a Christmas craft Fair and musical events.
  • The Leinster Fleadh Music and Cultural Festival was held in Dunleer in 2010, over three days during 9–11 July 2010.
  • Dunleer has a broad range of community groups, many of which are affiliated to the community umbrella body, the Dunleer Community Development Board. The board is a voluntary concern, which communicates and advocates for the betterment of Dunleer for the enjoyment of all in the community.

Dunleer Tidy Towns has been active in the town for the last 39 years. It has made great strides in developing Dunleer in the last 5 years. They have succeeded in gaining marks in the National Competition every year recently and are now only a short few marks form the medal status awarded by the National Organisers Supervalu Tidy Towns. They partner with Dunleer Development Board in funding projects and have succeeded in 2016 and 2017. Next year is the last year of funding towns and villages from government for now. Part of the strategy for developing the town will be the development of the River walk along the White River which runs through Dunleer. It has been making great strides forward from 2010 Dunleer was a prize winner (2nd place)in the 2017 Pride of Place an All Ireland Competition Dunleer won the Leinster and All Ireland Enterprise town of the year Award 2018 (posted January 2019) Even Bigger and better things to come in the near future.

Gaelic Football[edit]

Dunleer is home to Lannleire GFC, the only Gaelic football club. The club grounds are one of the largest in the county, with an athletics club accommodated at the grounds too.


Dunleer railway station opened on 1 April 1851, closed for goods traffic on 2 December 1974 and finally closed altogether on 26 November 1984.[5] The local community's ongoing campaign to have the railway station reopened within the next four to five years continues, with a public meeting which was held on February 21, 2008 in which the public gave their overwhelming support to having the existing station reopened. The case for reopening the station is now strong, with the criteria as laid down by national government policy now being satisfied. With the town experiencing unprecedented population growth, and the number of potential users having risen[citation needed]and a number of other new residential developments in the planning phase, the need for the station is irrefutable. It is now a matter of when, not if, the station will reopen.

During September 2009, it became an issue during the formation of the forthcoming Louth County Development Plan, and after much debate and discussion amongst the public and their public representatives, Dunleer's station was granted equal status with Drogheda and Dundalk in being eligible during the lifetime of the plan as a preferable location to have another Railway Station opened on the Dublin - Belfast rail corridor.

The railway station was refurbished in 2014, but still remains closed to the public.

The town also enjoys a frequent bus service, which links the town primarily to Drogheda and Dundalk, and some direct services to and from Dublin city daily.


Located adjacent to the M1 motorway to its west, there is excellent access to and from the M1, as Dunleer is served by no fewer than three motorway interchanges (M1 Junctions 12, 13 and 14) and is bisected by the main Dublin-Belfast railway line. These linkages played a part in Dunleer changing from a mainly rural town to an expanding commuter town for those working primarily in Dublin, Drogheda and Dundalk. This change in demographic use has also contributed to Dunleer becoming a main hub in the Mid-Louth Area of County Louth.

Annalistic references[edit]

  • 919. Cearnach, son of Flann, Abbot of Lann-Leire, died; of whom was said:
  • The torch of the plain (good in battle)/of Bregia the fair and lovely, stout his strength/Brilliance of the sun, the sun upon his cheek. Cearnach of Leire, mournful/the loss of him.

External Links[edit]


  1. ^ "Population Density and Area Size 2016 by Towns". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  2. ^ O'Flanagan, James Roderick (1870). Lives of the Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of Ireland.
  3. ^ Murphy, Hubert (2018-07-07). "Anxious times for Dunleer extension". Independent.ie. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  4. ^ "Scoil Ui Mhuiri, SchoolDays". www.schooldays.ie. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  5. ^ "Dunleer station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-10-12.