Dundalk (/dʌnˈdɔːk/ dun-DAWK; Irish: Dún Dealgan [ˌd̪ˠuːnˠ ˈdʲalˠɡənˠ], meaning "Dalgan's fort") is the county town of County Louth, Ireland. It is on the Castletown River, which flows into Dundalk Bay on the east coast of Ireland, near the border with Northern Ireland. It is 82 km north of Dublin and 83 km south of Belfast. In 2016, the population was 39,004. It has associations with the mythical warrior hero Cú Chulainn and the motto on the town's coat of arms is Mé do rug Cú Chulainn cróga  (Irish) "I gave birth to brave Cú Chulainn".


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
Mé do rug Cú Chulainn cróga  (Irish)
‘I gave birth to brave Cú Chulainn’
Dundalk is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Dundalk is located in Europe
Dundalk (Europe)
Coordinates: 54°00′32″N 6°24′18″W / 54.009°N 6.4049°W / 54.009; -6.4049Coordinates: 54°00′32″N 6°24′18″W / 54.009°N 6.4049°W / 54.009; -6.4049
CountyCounty Louth
Dáil ÉireannLouth
EU ParliamentMidlands–North-West
Inhabited3500 BC[1][2][3]
 • Urban
25.19 km2 (9.73 sq mi)
 • Rural
354.04 km2 (136.70 sq mi)
 (Census 2016)
 • Rank8th
 • Urban
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing key
Telephone area code+353(0)42
Irish Grid ReferenceJ048074

Having been inhabited since the Neolithic period, the town was established as a Norman stronghold in the 12th century following the Norman invasion of Ireland, and became the northernmost outpost of The Pale in the Late Middle Ages. The town came to be nicknamed the "Gap of the North" (although the actual 'gap' is the Moyry Pass 10 km to the north. The modern town layout largely owes its form to Lord Limerick (James Hamilton, later 1st Earl of Clanbrassil) in the early 18th century.

Dundalk developed brewing, distilling, tobacco, textile, shoe manufacturing and engineering industries and became an important centre of trade as a hub on the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) network and with its maritime link to Liverpool from the Port of Dundalk. But the town later suffered from high unemployment after many of these industries closed or scaled back operations, particularly in the aftermath of the Partition of Ireland in 1921 and the accession of Ireland to the European Economic Community in 1973. Following the Celtic Tiger period, new industries have been established including pharmaceutical, electronic, financial services and food.

The town has one Third-level education instituteDundalk Institute of Technology and one museum—the County Museum Dundalk. Sporting clubs include Dundalk F.C. (who play at Oriel Park), Dundalk R.F.C. and Dundalk Golf Club. Dundalk Stadium is a horse and greyhound racing venue and is Ireland's only all-weather horse racing track.

Map of Dundalk


Pre-Norman era (before 12th Century)Edit

St. Patrick's Church, Dundalk

Following the end of the last Ice Age, it is believed that the Dundalk area was first inhabited circa 3700 BC, during the Neolithic period.[7] Visible evidence of this early presence can still be seen in the form of the Proleek Dolmen, the eroded remains of a portal tomb in the Ballymascanlon area, north of Dundalk, which dates to around 3000 BC. Evidence of early Christian settlements are to be found in the high concentration of souterrains in north Louth, which date from c. 600 AD.[8]

According to the Annals of the Four Masters, the plains of North Louth incorporating Dundalk, known as Magh Muirthemne (the Plain of the Dark Sea) and bordered to the north east by Cuailgne (the Cooley peninsula), was ruled by a Cruthin kingdom known as Conaille Muirtheimne in the pre-Christian and early Christian period. Their land covered what came to be known as the Baronies of Upper and Lower Dundalk. The Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), an epic of early Irish literature, and the legends of Cú Chulainn are set in this period. Clochafarmore, the stone Cú Chulainn reputedly tied himself to before he died, is located to the east of the town.[9]

Norman era (12th–16th centuries)Edit

In 1169 the Normans arrived in Ireland and set about conquering large areas. By 1185 the Norman nobleman Bertram de Verdun erected a manor house at Castletown Mount and in 1189 obtained the town's charter. Another Norman family, the De Courcys, led by John de Courcy, settled in Dundalk's Seatown area, the "Nova Villa de Dundalke". Both families assisted in the town's fortification, building walls and other fortification in the style of a Norman fortress.[10] 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.[11]

The town was sacked in 1315, during the Bruce campaign.[12] 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.

English rule (16th–20th centuries)Edit

Dundalk had been under Royalist (Ormondist) control for centuries, until 1647 when it became occupied by The Northern Parliamentary Army of Colonel George Monck.[13]

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 stemming from his visits to Continental 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).[citation needed]

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.[14]

Since Independence (1921–present)Edit

The partition of Ireland in May 1921 turned Dundalk into a border town and the Dublin–Belfast 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.[15] However, a raid on Dundalk Gaol freed Aiken and over 100 other anti-treaty prisoners;[16] 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 and the IRA stronghold of South Armagh 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, and the town was home to numerous IRA operatives.[17] 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.[2][18]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] The result was the closure of many local factories, resulting in the highest unemployment rate in Leinster, Ireland's richest province. High unemployment produced serious social problems in the town that were only alleviated by the advent of the Celtic Tiger investment boom at the start of the 21st century. Dundalk's economy has developed rapidly since 2000.[citation needed] 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.

In December 2000, Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen welcomed US president Bill Clinton to Dundalk to mark the conclusion of the Troubles and the success of the Northern Ireland peace process. Cowen said:

Dundalk is a meeting point between Dublin and Belfast, and has played a central role in the origin and evolution of the peace process. More than most towns in our country, Dundalk, as a border town, has appreciated the need for a lasting and just peace.[19]

The Earls of Roden[20] 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.[21]


  • 248 – Battle fought at Faughart by Cormac Ulfada, High King of Ireland against Storno (Starno), king of Lochlin[22]
  • 732 – Battle fought at Faughart by Hugh Allain, king of Ireland against the Ulaid[23]
  • 851 – Battle at Dundalk Bay between the Fingall (Norwegian) and Dubhgall (Danish) Vikings takes place[24][25][26][27]
  • 877 – Gregory, King of Scotland took Dundalk en route to Dublin[28]
  • 1318Battle 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.[29][30]
  • 1483 – Traghbally-of-Dundalk plundered and burned by Hugh Oge ally of Con O'Donnell[31]
  • 1566 – O'Neill besieged the town with 4,000 footmen and 700 horsemen[32]
  • 1688 – Brothers Malcolm and Archibald MacNeill, officers of William III land in Dundalk and defeat the Celtic MacScanlons in the Battle of Ballymascanlon[33]
  • 1689 – Schomberg's Williamite Army camped to the north of the town record 6,000 deaths due to fever, scurvy, and ague[34]
  • 1941 – On 24 July the town was bombed by the Luftwaffe with no casualties.
  • 1971 – The Battle of Courtbane – on Sunday 29 August 1971 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.[35]
  • 1975 – The Dundalk Christmas Bombing – bombing carried out by the Ulster Volunteer Force on 19 December 1975 a car bomb killed 2 and injured 15[36][37]

Coat of armsEdit

The Coat of Arms of Dundalk was officially granted by the Office of the Chief Herald at the National Library of Ireland in 1968, and is a replication of the Seal Matrix of the "New Town of Dundalk", which itself dates to the 14th Century.[38] A bend between six martlets forms the shield. The bend and martlets are derived from the family of Thomas de Furnivall,[39] 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).[40] The ermine boar supporter is derived from the arms of the Ó hAnluain (O'Hanlon) family, Kings of Airthir. The origins of the foot soldier with his spear and sword is not known, neither is the lion on the crest, although the latter may be from the Mortimer family who held the Lordship of Louth in 1330. A Mortimer Castle stood in Park Street as late as the seventeenth century.

Prior to 1968, a simpler form of the seal – "three martlets proper on a blue field" – was used for the town's coat of arms, dating to when the town had been granted a charter in 1675.[41] It appears as the "Corporation Arms" in a town plan dated 1675.[42] This form of the Coat of Arms can be seen carved in stone on the Italianate Palazzo Town-hall, built between 1855 and 1865.[43] In 1930 the town council proposed to remove the "three black crows" from the seal of the town due to its English origins.[44] This coat of arms also became the crest of Dundalk Football Club in 1928, prior to the club severing its links with the Great Northern Railway (Ireland). The club's current crest retains three martlets on a red shield, as a nod to the town's granted Coat of Arms, but in reversed tinctures.



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 an oceanic climate, sheltered by the Cooley and Mourne Mountains to the north, and undulating hills to the west and south, the town experiences cool winters, quite warm summers, and a lack of temperature extremes.

Climate data for Dundalk, Leinster
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.2
Average low °C (°F) 1.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 85
Source: Dundalk climate


Population by place of birth:

Location 2006[50] 2011[51] 2016[52] Change
Ireland 28,095 29,114 29,430 +316
UK 3,488 3,839 3,791 −48
Poland 252 555 602 +47
Lithuania 421 633 657 +24
Other EU 28 692 1,119 1,508 +389
Rest of World 1,804 2,269 2,652 +383

Population by ethnic or cultural background:

Ethnicity or culture 2006[50] 2011[53] 2016[54]
White Irish 29,840 30,645 29,872
White Irish Traveller 325 441 535
Other White 1,802 2,987 3,572
Black or Black Irish 1,276 1,669 1,785
Asian or Asian Irish 372 687 988
Other 380 389 682
Not stated 757 711 1,206

Population by religion:

Religion 2002[55] 2006[50] 2011[56] 2016[57]
Roman Catholic 29,177 30,677 31,790 30,187
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 4,248
No religion 773 1,158 1,971 3,331
Not stated 615 778 705 1,238

Places of interestEdit

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. 54°0′16.79″N 6°23′49.75″W / 54.0046639°N 6.3971528°W / 54.0046639; -6.3971528
St. Patrick's Church[58] The site was acquired in 1834 with the building completed in 1847, but was in use from 1842. 54°0′13.94″N 6°23′56.8″W / 54.0038722°N 6.399111°W / 54.0038722; -6.399111  
St. Nicholas' Church (Roman Catholic)[58] 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. 54°0′35.03″N 6°24′9.1″W / 54.0097306°N 6.402528°W / 54.0097306; -6.402528
St Joseph's Redemptorist Church[59] The community of Redemptorists, or missionary priests, settled here in 1876.[60] Contains a relic of St. Gerard Majella. 54°0′15.2″N 6°23′21.8″W / 54.004222°N 6.389389°W / 54.004222; -6.389389
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.[61] 54°0′30.53″N 6°24′5.81″W / 54.0084806°N 6.4016139°W / 54.0084806; -6.4016139  
Priory of St Malachy, Dominican chapel The 'Carlingford Dominicans' official foundation in Dundalk was in 1777[62] 54°0′1.69″N 6°24′31.09″W / 54.0004694°N 6.4086361°W / 54.0004694; -6.4086361
Saint Brigid's Shrine[63][64] 54°3′11.3″N 6°23′53.24″W / 54.053139°N 6.3981222°W / 54.053139; -6.3981222
St Brigid's Well Holy Well dedicated to St. Brigid 54°3′6.09″N 6°23′2.06″W / 54.0516917°N 6.3839056°W / 54.0516917; -6.3839056
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 54°2′33.57″N 6°25′31.99″W / 54.0426583°N 6.4255528°W / 54.0426583; -6.4255528
Castle Roche Norman castle, the seat of the De Verdun family, who built the castle in 1236 AD. 54°2′47″N 6°29′18″W / 54.04639°N 6.48833°W / 54.04639; -6.48833  
Proleek Dolmen[65] One of the finest examples of its kind in Ireland 54°2′13.86″N 6°20′53.75″W / 54.0371833°N 6.3482639°W / 54.0371833; -6.3482639
Proleek Wedge Tomb 54°2′12.84″N 6°20′49.88″W / 54.0369000°N 6.3471889°W / 54.0369000; -6.3471889
Franciscan friary Founded 1246[66] 54°0′22.51″N 6°23′37.92″W / 54.0062528°N 6.3938667°W / 54.0062528; -6.3938667  
Windmill Tower An eight-storey windmill-tower, built around 1800. 54°0′21.14″N 6°23′21.22″W / 54.0058722°N 6.3892278°W / 54.0058722; -6.3892278
Our Lady's Well / Ladywell Pattern takes place here on 15 August, during the feast of the assumption. 53°59′36.91″N 6°24′8.23″W / 53.9935861°N 6.4022861°W / 53.9935861; -6.4022861
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. 53°58′28″N 6°27′58″W / 53.974484°N 6.465991°W / 53.974484; -6.465991  
Dromiskin Round Tower & High Crosses Founded by a disciple of St Patrick, Lughaidh (unknown – 515AD) 53°55′19.24″N 6°23′53.55″W / 53.9220111°N 6.3982083°W / 53.9220111; -6.3982083  
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. 54°0′49.77″N 6°25′48.82″W / 54.0138250°N 6.4302278°W / 54.0138250; -6.4302278  
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.[67] 54°1′19.6″N 6°17′31.86″W / 54.022111°N 6.2921833°W / 54.022111; -6.2921833
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.[68] Her grave is known as the "Lug Bhan Fada" (long woman's hollow).[68] 54°3′40.63″N 6°16′28.85″W / 54.0612861°N 6.2746806°W / 54.0612861; -6.2746806
Rockmarshall Court Tomb 14 metres long cairn. 54°0′33″N 6°17′5″W / 54.00917°N 6.28472°W / 54.00917; -6.28472
Dunmahon Castle Ruins of four storeys tower-house with vault over ground floor. In 1659 it was the residence of Henry Townley. 53°57′27.48″N 6°25′19.4″W / 53.9576333°N 6.422056°W / 53.9576333; -6.422056
Haynestown castle 3-storey square tower house with corner turrets 53°57′36.47″N 6°24′40.85″W / 53.9601306°N 6.4113472°W / 53.9601306; -6.4113472
Milltown Castle 15th-century Norman keep about 55 feet high built by the Gernon family. 53°55′58.77″N 6°25′34.23″W / 53.9329917°N 6.4261750°W / 53.9329917; -6.4261750
Knockabbey Castle and Gardens Originally built in 1399, the historical water gardens originally date from the 11th century. 53°55′47.61″N 6°35′7.01″W / 53.9298917°N 6.5852806°W / 53.9298917; -6.5852806
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 53°54′44.01″N 6°33′11.56″W / 53.9122250°N 6.5532111°W / 53.9122250; -6.5532111
Roodstown Castle Dates from the 15th century, features two turrets. 53°52′20.11″N 6°29′12.07″W / 53.8722528°N 6.4866861°W / 53.8722528; -6.4866861
Aghnaskeagh Cairn and Portal Tomb 54°3′40.59″N 6°21′28.6″W / 54.0612750°N 6.357944°W / 54.0612750; -6.357944
Faughart Round Tower Remains of a monastery founded by St Moninna in the 5th century. 54°3′6.11″N 6°23′4.18″W / 54.0516972°N 6.3844944°W / 54.0516972; -6.3844944
Grave of Edward Bruce Proclaimed High King of Ireland before he was killed in the battle of Faughart in 1318 54°3′6.11″N 6°23′4.18″W / 54.0516972°N 6.3844944°W / 54.0516972; -6.3844944
Faughart Motte 54°3′8.07″N 6°23′9.67″W / 54.0522417°N 6.3860194°W / 54.0522417; -6.3860194
Kilwirra Church, Templetown St Mary's Church at Templetown, associated with the Knights Templar founded in 1118 by Hugh de Payens. 53°59′10.33″N 6°9′18.51″W / 53.9862028°N 6.1551417°W / 53.9862028; -6.1551417
Lady Well, Templetown 53°59′14.74″N 6°9′10.79″W / 53.9874278°N 6.1529972°W / 53.9874278; -6.1529972
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. 53°51′18.43″N 6°32′19.7″W / 53.8551194°N 6.538806°W / 53.8551194; -6.538806
Hatch's Castle, Ardee Medieval Tower House 53°51′24.99″N 6°32′22.22″W / 53.8569417°N 6.5395056°W / 53.8569417; -6.5395056
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. 53°50′8.96″N 6°31′14.28″W / 53.8358222°N 6.5206333°W / 53.8358222; -6.5206333
St Mary's Priory Augustinian Priory stands on the site where St Mochta established a monastery in 528 CE. 53°57′11.68″N 6°32′38.97″W / 53.9532444°N 6.5441583°W / 53.9532444; -6.5441583
St Mochta's House 12th Century Church/Oratory. 53°57′12.33″N 6°32′43.36″W / 53.9534250°N 6.5453778°W / 53.9534250; -6.5453778
St James' Well 54°1′11.03″N 6°8′38.83″W / 54.0197306°N 6.1441194°W / 54.0197306; -6.1441194
Liberties of Carlingford Medieval Head Carving 54°2′31.47″N 6°11′13.81″W / 54.0420750°N 6.1871694°W / 54.0420750; -6.1871694
The Mint of Carlingford Mint established in 1467 54°2′25.06″N 6°11′11.02″W / 54.0402944°N 6.1863944°W / 54.0402944; -6.1863944
Tallanstown Motte 53°55′15.12″N 6°32′59.53″W / 53.9208667°N 6.5498694°W / 53.9208667; -6.5498694
Dominican Priory of Carlingford Founded by Richard de Burgh in 1305 54°2′17.33″N 6°11′4.13″W / 54.0381472°N 6.1844806°W / 54.0381472; -6.1844806
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. 54°2′35.7″N 6°11′12.3″W / 54.043250°N 6.186750°W / 54.043250; -6.186750  
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. 54°2′35.7″N 6°11′12.3″W / 54.043250°N 6.186750°W / 54.043250; -6.186750  
Ravensdale Forest, Ravensdale, County Louth 54°03′08″N 6°20′23″W / 54.05222°N 6.33972°W / 54.05222; -6.33972  

Festivals and cultureEdit

Music and artsEdit

Dundalk has two photography clubs, Dundalk Photographic Society[69] and the Tain Photographic Club. In 2010 Dundalk Photographic Society won the FIAP Photography Club World Cup.[70]

Musical groups and organisations include the Fr. McNally Chamber Orchestra (which was created in April 2010),[71] and the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland (CBOI) which is a youth orchestra based in the Dundalk Institute of Technology.[72] The latter maintains a membership of 160 musicians between the ages of 12 and 24 and was established in 1995 shortly after the implementation of the Peace Process.[citation needed] It tours regularly to Europe and America and has sold-out venues such as Carnegie Hall and Chicago Symphony Hall.[citation needed] The Clermont Chorale[73][better source needed] was formed in 2003 and has 30 members, drawn from different parts of County Louth. Dundalk School of Music was created in 2010 and provides education in music for different ages and disciplines.[74]

Dundalk Gaol is the home of The Oriel Centre, a regional centre for Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann.[75] It opened in 2010 and promotes traditional Irish music, song, dance and the Irish language.[citation needed]


Festivals associated with Dundalk include the Brigid of Faughart Festival in February,[63] and the Carlingford National Leprechaun Hunt which is held in March.[76]

The Táin March festival, established in 2011, is a walking festival which seeks to commemorate the legendary Cattle Raid of Cooley (Táin Bó Cúailnge).[77] It is held in June, as is the Dundalk Youth Arts Festival.

In August, the All-Ireland Poc Fada Championship is held. Other events in the late summer and early Autumn include the Peninsula Ploughing & Field Day, Greenore Maritime Festival,[citation needed] the Knockbridge Vintage Rally & Family Fun Day,[78] and Saint Gerard Majella Novena[79]

The Dundalk Festival of Light & Culture and Ardee Baroque Festival are held over the winter period.[80]


Dundalk Infrastructure Hub & Gateway access

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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 is the last train station on the line before crossing the border into Northern Ireland.

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

Major infrastructure upgrades have taken place in and around Dundalk. These improvements have covered 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 connects Dundalk to Dublin and Newry. Works to extend it to Belfast were completed in July 2010.


Primary educationEdit

Primary schools in Dundalk include a number of Irish language-medium schools (Gaelscoileanna) like Gaelscoil Dhún Dealgan.[81] There are approximately 20 English-medium national schools in the area, the largest of which include Muire na nGael National School (also known as Bay Estate National School) and Saint Joseph's National School, which (as of early 2020) had an enrollment of over 670 and 570 pupils respectively.[82][83][84]

Secondary schoolsEdit

Secondary schools in the town include Coláiste Lú (an Irish medium secondary school or Gaelcholáiste),[85] De la Salle College, Dundalk Grammar School, St. Mary's College (also known as the Marist), O'Fiaich College,[86] Coláiste Rís, St. Vincent's Secondary School,[87] St. Louis Secondary School, and Coláiste Chú Chulainn.[88]

Dundalk IT

Tertiary educationEdit

Dundalk Institute of Technology (often abbreviated to DkIT) is the primary higher education provider in the north east of the country.[citation needed] It was established in 1970 as the Regional Technical College, offering primarily technician and apprenticeship courses.

The Ó Fiaich Institute of Further Education also offers further education courses.[89]


The local newspapers are The Argus, Dundalk Democrat and Dundalk Leader.[90]

Online only media outlet includes Talk of the Town.[91]

The local radio station is Dundalk FM broadcasting on 97.7 FM,[92] with regional stations LMFM (Louth-Meath FM) on 96.5 FM, and iRadio (NE and Midlands) on 106.2FM also covering the area. UK Services from nearby Northern Ireland can also be clearly received.


Association footballEdit

Dundalk Football Club (/dʌnˈdɔːk/; Irish: Cumann Peile Dhún Dealgan) is a professional association football club. The club competes in the League of Ireland Premier Division, the top tier of Irish football, and are the reigning League Champions and League of Ireland Cup holders. Founded in 1903 as the works-team of the Great Northern Railway, they played in junior competition until joining the Leinster Senior League in 1922. After playing four seasons at that level, they were elected to the Free State League (which later became the League of Ireland) on 15 June 1926. They became the first club outside of Dublin to win the league title in 1932–33, and have won at least one league title or FAI Cup in every decade since. They are now the second most successful club in the League's history, and the most successful in the Premier Division era. The club has played at Oriel Park since moving from its original home at the Dundalk Athletic Grounds in 1936.


Dundalk R.F.C. was formed in 1877 and has achieved a number of honours over its history. These include winning the Provincial Towns Cup on 10 occasions from 15 appearances. Dundalk is currently[when?] in the Leinster League Division 1A and field three senior teams plus youth and mini teams at all age groups, and a number of girls' tag teams.[93]

Ice hockeyEdit

The Dundalk Ice Dome (closed as of August 2012) was where local ice hockey team the Dundalk Bulls (now defunct) played. The Ice Dome hosted the IIHF World Championship of Division III in April 2007.[94]

Horse racing and greyhound racingEdit

Both horse racing and greyhound racing are held at Dundalk Stadium. Ireland's first all-weather horse racing track was opened in August 2007 on the site of the old Dundalk racecourse.[95] The course held Ireland's first ever meeting under floodlights on 27 September 2007.

American footballEdit

Louth's only American Football team, the Louth Mavericks American Football Club[96] (Formerly Dundalk Mavericks), are based in Dundalk and were set up in 2012. They currently play in AFI Division 1. The club train at DKIT and play their matches at Dundalk Rugby Club. 2017 was the club's most successful year, going 5–3 and defeating the Craigavon Cowboys in the IAFL1 Bowl[97] to gain promotion to the top division for the first time in the club's history.[98]


Dundalk also has a tennis club, The Dundalk Lawn Tennis and Badminton Club[99] was founded in 1913 and held the Senior Interprovincial Championships (inter-pros) on 29–31 August 2010.[100]


Dundalk Cricket Club was founded in November 2009 and began playing matches in the 2010 season.[101] It was recognised by the cricket magazine The Wisden Cricketer as its "Club of the Month" for October 2010. This is both unusual for an Irish club and a club only twelve months into its existence.[original research?] In 2011, the club was admitted into the Leinster Cricket Union and played in Leinster Senior League Division 11. In the 2011 season it won the Leinster League Division 11 Championship title and in the course of doing so became the only club in the whole of Leinster across the 14 divisions to go unbeaten. In the 2012 season the club won their second title as Leinster League Division 9 Champions.


Dundalk & District Snooker League has been running for over 20 years.[when?] In 2010 the league was re-branded as the Dundalk Snooker League sponsored, by Tool-Fix. The league has attracted national recognition through RIBSA (Republic of Ireland Snooker and Billiards Association) and the CYMS Letterkenny, who have arranged a "ryder cup" style challenge match against the best players in the Dundalk Snooker League.[citation needed] As of the 2012 season, the league had 15 teams and 113 players competing in 6 championship events, 4 ranking events and 5 special events.[102]


The first cycling club in Dundalk was founded in 1874. Cuchulainn Cycling Club[103] was formed in 1935 and is currently one of the biggest and most active cycling clubs in the country with over 300 members. The club caters for all disciplines of the sport including road, off-road and BMX. The club has acquired permission for the construction of a cycling park and 250m velodrome in Muirhevna Mor.[104]

Other sportsEdit

Dundalk Kayak Club, founded in 2005, operates from their clubhouse just outside Dundalk town. They cater for all levels of kayaker and run beginner courses twice yearly.[citation needed]

Dundalk held its first ever national fencing tournament in April 2007.[105]

Dundalk also has a basketball team, the Dundalk Ravens.

Gaelic footballEdit

Dundalk Gaels GFC (founded 1928) and Seán O'Mahony's GFC (founded 1938) both represent the town.

Politics and governmentEdit

Louth County Council (Irish: Comhairle Contae Lú), County Hall, Millennium Centre, Dundalk[106] is the authority responsible for local government in Dundalk. As a county council, it is governed by the Local Government Act 2001. The council is responsible for housing and community, roads and transportation, urban planning and development, amenity and culture, and environment.[107] The council has 29 elected members, 13 of whom are from the Dundalk region. Elections are held every five years and are by single transferable vote.

For the purpose of elections the town is divided into two local electoral areas: Dundalk-Carlingford (6 Seats) and Dundalk South (7 Seats).[108]

Dundalk is represented in Dáil Éireann by the Louth parliamentary constituency.

Notable peopleEdit

Arts and MediaEdit

Academia and ScienceEdit







  • Agnes Burns, sister of the poet Robert Burns lived at Stephenstown with her husband William Galt between 1817 and 1834.

Twin towns and sister citiesEdit

Dundalk is twinned with the following places:

See alsoEdit


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External linksEdit