This is a maritime county, the smallest in Ireland, bounded on the east by the Irish Sea, on the west by the counties of Monaghan and Meath, on the north by Carlingford Bay and the county of Armagh, and on the south by that of Meath. Its greatest length in the direction of south by west is twenty-eight miles; and its greatest breadth west by north is eighteen; comprehending an area of 201,906 acres; of which about 179,000 are arable; 5,300 of plantations; 1,200 occupied by towns; 800 covered by water, and the remainder, about 15,600, irreclaimable or uncultivated land.
Although the smallest county in the island, it presents distinguishing features, as to its scenery and soil, well deserving attention. The surface of the country is uneven and studded with lofty hills, many of which bear thriving plantations, which contribute to the beauty of the scenery. Louth constituted the centre of the English pale, originally extending from Wicklow on the south, to Dunluce on the north; and its fragments of ancient monuments are interesting and numerous, some bearing marks of considerable magnificence.
The soil is generally fertile, producing fine grain and heavy green crops; indeed, Louth may be considered as an agricultural county of considerable value. The manufacture of sheetings, and other kinds of coarser linen cloth, is carried on, in the neighbourhood of Drogheda, to a considerable extent, and there are large bleach-greens in and around that locality. There are three places of export for the agricultural and manufacturing produce—Newry in the north, Drogheda in the south, and Dundalk midway between the two; and inland communication is effectually facilitated by the Dublin and Belfast railway, which passes through the county, and Lough Carlingford, which leads up to the Newry canal, and by it with the inland navigation of Ulster. There is an oyster fishery at Carlingford Bay, the produce of which is held in great estimation, and finds a ready market in Dublin and other towns.
The CLIMATE of Louth is mild, but humid; not more so, however, than other sea-bound counties generally are. The geology of the county is very simple. The mountains in the north are chiefly composed of granite; and clay slate, limestone, impure ironstone, and pyrites of iron, form the sub-strata of other districts. The rivers which have connexion with this county are the Flurry, the Stranarn, the Cully, and the Creaghan—all streams from Armagh, and with the Fane from Monaghan, flow into Dundalk Bay. The Lagan, the Glyde, the Dee, and the Boyne, are the other streams defined by name—the last celebrated for the battle fought on its banks between James I and William III. The lakes within the county are Newtown-balregan, Corteal. Kercock, Beaulieu, Drumcah, and two or three smaller sheets of water.
In Sept. 1843, there were (including those at Drogheda) 62 national schools attended by 10,500 children.
DIVISIONS, POPULATION, REPRESENTATION, &C.
The number of baronies comprised in the county are six—namely, Ardee, Drogheda, Dundalk Lower, Dundalk Upper, Ferrard, and Louth: these are divided into sixty-four parishes (including those comprehended in the county of the town of DROGHEDA).
The population of the county, by the census taken in 1841, was, males, 62,297; females, 65,943: total, 128,240. The number of houses inhabited, at that period, was 22,856; uninhabited, 1,286; and houses building, 98.
Prior to the Union Louth sent ten representatives to the Irish Parliament; two for the county at large, and two each for the boroughs of Ardee, Carlingford, Dundalk, and Dunleer; at the period referred to all the boroughs were disfranchised except Dundalk, which sends one member to the Imperial Parliament, and the county at large two—the present representatives for the latter are Richard Montesquieu, Esquire, Barmeath, in this county; and the Hon. Thomas Vesey Dawson, of Dartrey, county of Monaghan. The county of the town of Drogheda is represented by one member, in the person of Sir William Meredyth Somerville, Baronet.
(SOURCE: Slater’s, National Commercial Directory of Ireland,1846 p.14)
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