ALTHOUGH in area, including the County of the town of
Drogheda, only 201,618 statute acres, and the smallest
county in Ireland, Louth deserves to rank among the most
prosperous. The Eastern boundary is the Irish Sea, which
gives to its commerce three outlets of considerable
importance: Drogheda, Dundalk, and Greenore. These are also
shipping points for Meath and Monaghan, the Southern and
Western boundaries, and for Armagh, which with Carlingford
Lough, bounds the county on the North.
For a long time previous to the entry of the English, Louth
had formed part of Orgial, an independent
Principality, consisting of a portion of the Province of
Meath, and the entire of Armagh and Monaghan. The O’Carrols
were Princes of Orgial. The barony of Louth was
referred to particularly as their country. In 1183, John de
Courcy conquered Orgial, and it was afterwards known
by the English variously as Uriel and Oriel.
The followers of de Courcy and de Lacy settled the portion
of Orgial called English Oriel, and in 1210
the County of Louth was formed from it by King John. Many
castles were erected for the purpose of enabling the
settlers to continue in possession. Their ruins are still to
be found in every part of the county, adding greatly to the
picturesqueness of the scenery. In 1315, Edward Bruce,
brother of the Scottish King, on condition that he should
aid them in driving the English out, was offered the Kingdom
of Ireland by the Ulster Chiefs. Having landed with an army
of 6,000 men, he soon became master of Ulster, and was
crowned on the 2nd of May, 1316. Toward the close of the
year following he was killed, and his army defeated by the
Louth was one of the counties of the English Pale, and had a
small standing force in 1437, commanded by Sir Laurence
Taaf, Mayor of Drogheda, and Richard Bellew. During the
reign of Queen Elizabeth, the Chiefs of Ulster, O’Nial and
O’Donel, had become so formidable that they rejected a
proposal to make Dundalk the frontier of the English
possessions in Ireland. A conference was held at Faughart,
in 1596, to arrange terms. Previous to that time Louth had
been a part of Ulster. Soon afterward it was included in
that of Leinster, and has so remained ever since. In the
Parliamentary war of 1641, some fighting was done in the
Northern and Southern portions of the county. Cromwell
entered from Dublin at the head of 10,000 men in 1649, and
having captured Drogheda, after two days’ siege, marched
through to Dundalk and received its surrender. In the
Revolution, the armies of King James and King William
traversed the County Louth, and finally struggled for the
mastery on the banks of the Boyne, in 1690. Facts of history
referred to here are more elaborately treated in the
chapters descriptive of the several towns and villages. The
County of Louth and the County of the borough of Drogheda
returned twelve members to the Irish Parliament before the
Union. Under the Redistribution Act of 1885, Louth is
divided into two parts, North and South. Two members only
will represent it in the Imperial Parliament.
GEOLOGY, MOUNTAINS, RAILWAYS, AND ROADS.
FROM the geological point of view, Louth is moderately
interesting. The Ravensdale, Cooley, and Carlingford
Mountains, which so greatly serve to heighten its scenic
attractions, are composed for the most part of granite.
Greenstone and hornblende are found everywhere within the
granite area. Limestone is very plentiful throughout the
With a single exception the Louth towns have
railway communication. The Great Northern enters at
Drogheda, passing over the Boyne Viaduct, bearing date 1855,
and a suitable monument to the genius of the late Sir John
M’Neil, C.E., a native of Louth. This line runs through
CastleBellingham, Dunleer, and Dundalk, on the way to
Belfast. A separate line connects Dundalk with Greenore, and
this also connects Newry with Greenore. ….
Louth is second to no other county in the matter of public
THE remains of antiquity are very numerous, and extend
through every part of the county. They continue in very much
the same condition that they were found more than one
hundred and twenty-five years ago by Thomas Wright, author
of Louthiana. ….
AGRICULTURAL INTERESTS, MARKETS, AND FAIRS.
IN the southern part of the county the land is first-rate.
It is highly cultivated, and for the greater part well
sheltered and drained. The nature is rich vegetable mould,
based on marl, limestone, or clay slate. In the vicinity of
Drogheda, Ardee, the village of Louth, Dundalk and
CastleBellingham, it is good for either tillage or pasture.
North of Dundalk it is less favoured, often rising to
heights which are only accessible to goats and hardy sheep.
Along the way from Dundalk to Carlingford there are
evidences constantly in view of the industry of the people.
Owing to the compactness of the County
Louth, the markets are being almost entirely confined to the
large towns, in this respect differing from other counties.
Dundalk, Drogheda, Ardee, and Carlingford have markets.
Fairs are held at Drogheda, Dundalk, Ardee, Collon, Dunleer,
Carlingford, CastleBellingham, Louth and Mullaghcrew. The
tendency to favour the larger at the expense of the smaller
towns and villages in fairs, likewise, becoming more
manifest from year to year. ….
TRADE, FISHERIES AND MANUFACTURES.
LOUTH has not escaped the stagnation which has affected
trade in other parts of the United Kingdom. The conditions,
however, have at no time been of such a character as to have
seriously impaired the financial standing of the leading
HUNTING, COURSING AND RACING.
MUCH of the Louth hunting country extends across the Boyne
into the County Meath. As a whole, it stands on the record
as first-rate. In the Southern part the fences are stiff,
and in the North stony. ….
If the numbers
attending the meetings is an indication, horse-racing must
be regarded as the most popular sport in Louth. ….
ANGLING, BOATING, REGATTAS, &c.
WITHOUT entering into a comparison with other counties, it
can be said truthfully that the rivers of Louth, on the
whole, afford good sport for anglers. Those which are
preserved are excellent, and those that are open to all
corners suffer from the industry of unreasoning persons who
consider it tedious labour to operate with hook and line. ….
The advantages afforded at Dundalk and Drogheda for aquatic
exercises have been taken advantage of to a very
considerable extent. Both towns have their boat clubs and
boat houses. The Boyne Regatta was held on 7th. July, 1885,
and was largely attended. ….
and aquatic sports were held at Dundalk on the 4th. of
August, 1885, and it also was a success. ….
FOOT-BALL, GAELIC, ATHLETIC EXERCISES, CRICKET, LAWN TENNIS
YOUNG blood in the County Louth is in no danger of
stagnation. In 1885, it coursed freely, at public and
private exhibitions of athletic skill.
The Drogheda Foot-Ball Club led off in June with their
annual sports ….
There is a
foot-ball club at Dundalk which has produced famous players.
In a little more than two months after its establishment,
the Gaelic Athletic Association of Drogheda held sports on
the 18th of August. 1885. ….
Cricket, as a game, has not reached a high stake of popularity in
the county. ….
Lawn Tennis is exceedingly popular. ….
Cycling is also very popular. ….