County Louth

County Louth
Contae Lú

Coat of arms
Motto: Lugh sáimh-ioldánach  (Irish)
"Lugh equally skilled in many arts"
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
Dáil Éireann Louth
EU Parliament East
County seat Dundalk
 - Type County Council
 - Total 826 km2 (318.9 sq mi)
Area rank 32nd
Population (2011) 122,808
 - Rank 18th [1]
Car plates LH

County Louth (play /ˈlð/; Irish: Contae Lú)[2][3] is a county[4] of Ireland. Louth County Council is the local authority responsible for the county, which is part of the Border Region. It is located in the province of Leinster and is named after the town of Louth. The population of the county is 122,808 according to the 2011 census.[5]


Geography and political subdivisions

County Louth is colloquially known as 'the Wee County' as it is the smallest county by area (826 km² (319sq miles).[6] It is the 19th largest in terms of population.[7] It is the smallest of Leinster’s 12 counties by size and the sixth largest by population.

Towns and villages


Immaculate Conception church, Co. Louth.

The official spelling in the Irish (Gaelic) language () must not be confused with the similar sounding superlative form meaning smaller or smallest of the adjective beag. Instead, it is derived from Lughbhaidh - the Celtic pagan god Lugh, whose festival was celebrated at Lughnasadh (Lúnasa). This is a county steeped in myth, legend and history, going back to the pre-historical 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. There are a number of historic sites in the county, including religious sites at Monasterboice and Mellifont Abbey. In the early fourteenth century the Scottish army of Edward Bruce (brother of Robert of Bannockburn fame) was defeated in the Battle of Faughart near Dundalk, Edward losing not only his claim to the High Kingship Of Ireland, but also his life. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries featured many skirmishes and battles involving Irish and English forces. Oliver Cromwell attacked Drogheda in 1649 slaughtering the Royalist garrison and hundreds of the town's citizens (Siege of Drogheda). 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 takes its name from the river Boyne which reaches the sea at Drogheda.

In 1798 the leaders of the United Irishmen included Bartholomew Teeling, John Byrne and Patrick Byrne, all from Castletown; 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.

In 1816 the Wildgoose Lodge Murders took place in the west of the county.

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


The majority of the county's population live in either Dundalk (2006 pop. 29,037) in north Louth, or Drogheda (2006 pop. 28,973) in the south. The 2006 Census[1] confirmed Dundalk and Drogheda as not only the largest towns in the county, but also the second and third largest towns in The Republic of Ireland.

Within legally defined boundaries Dundalk has the larger population, however the total population(including suburbs or environs) is greater in Drogheda, this includes areas and suburbs of Drogheda which lie in County Meath.[1]

Local government and politics

The local authority is Louth County Council 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.[14]

For elections to Dáil Éireann, Louth is represented by the five member Louth constituency which takes in the entire county of Louth and small parts of eastern Meath. In the last general election 2 TD's from Fine Gael and one each from Sinn Féin, the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil were elected.

Irish language

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.[15]


See also


  1. ^ a b c Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland (April 2007).
  2. ^ Louth - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  3. ^ Location Result
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Census 2006 - Population of each province, county and city
  6. ^ North West Passage
  7. ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 186–191. ISBN 0340896957. 
  8. ^ For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy March 14, 1865.
  9. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November). "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. 
  14. ^ "Services". Louth County Council. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  15. ^ Louth Irish Language

External links

Coordinates: 53°50′N 6°30′W / 53.833°N 6.5°W / 53.833; -6.5

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