Places To Visit in County Louth, Ireland
The Corrs are From Louth
Visiting County Louth, Ireland
Have you ever thought about planning a visit to Ireland? Do you imagine stepping back in time and walking in the footsteps of High kings and queens or pagans and monks struggling to survive? Imagine having a whole castle to yourself for a couple of hours to let your dreams run away, or perhaps just quiet space to take some good photos. If this sounds like your type of holiday, then why not consider a trip to County Louth.
The county of Louth is situated less than one hour away from Dublin airport along the M1 motorway. Filled with castles, monuments, monasteries and crosses the County of Louth is a county of mystery and legend. It holds the keys to the stories of Cu Chulainn and Queen Meave. It’s the birthplace of St. Brigid and even St. Patrick spent time there.
To get to County Louth from Dublin airport simply take the North exit for Belfast and keep going North until you see the exit signs for Drogheda. There are many Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts available in either Drogheda or Dundalk and both towns are close driving distance to the places listed below.
Many the places you will visit will have a very low or even no entry charge but always remember to close gates behind you as there may be sheep or cows grazing in some of the places that you visit. It is also important to make sure that you never leave any papers or plastic behind as this too could be dangerous for animals.
This is where the tour begins! Remember to have your camera charged as there are wonderful sites to see.
In the town of Drogheda you are introduced to the head of St. Oliver Plunkett in St Peters church (if you are into that kind of thing!) I found it very creepy!
Just outside Drogheda on the R166 lies Termonfeckon where there lies an excellent castle called Termonfeckon Castle. This 15th or 16th century castle is in good repair and there is also the remains of a church and celtic cross nearby.
Next along the road is Old Melifont Abbey. This is a really good place for a picnic on a good day as you may wish to spend a little time here. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Ireland. Mellifont Abbey can be reached by driving out the R168 from Drogheda towards Collon. There is a visitor centre available here and guided tours are available on request.
If you have young children in your group or just young at heart you may wish to finish your day in Drogheda by visiting Funtasia the local indoor Waterpark.
Dundalk or Dundealgan in Gaelic has many links with the ancient warrior Cu-Chulainn. The towns crest even reads "Me do rug Cu-Chulainn Croga" which means "I gave birth to brave Cu-Chulainn". Cu – Chulainns Castle sits at the peak of the town overlooking the surrounding countryside. This castle is almost overgrown with trees and was built in 1780 by a Patrick Byrne. The high Grounds on which it stands are known to be the original birthplace of Cu Chulainn.
St Brigids Shrine – Head North on the M1 out of Dundalk and at the roundabouts you will pick up signposts for St. Brigids Shrine. St Brigid was born in the year 454 A.D in a village called Faughart.
For hillwalkers why not spend a day in the beautiful Cooley mountains. Follow the R178 out of Dundalk. These are the mountains that are spoken about in the legend of Queen Meave and the brown bull of Cooley. From the top of these mountains it is possible to see the countryside around for miles including the famous midevil town of Carlingford which is well worth a visit.
To get to Carlingford head North out of Dundalk and at the first roundabout outside the town you will quickly pick up signs. With midieval streets and lanes and a magnificent castle on the seafront this town has guided tours during the summer months. It also has excellent watersports facilities and seafood restaraunts.
Roche Castle – Another hidden gem about six miles from Dundalk, this castle built on the edge of a cliff face can just take your breath away. A word of warning though – Beware of the bats if you explore this one in the evening time!
Do you have more time to spare?
Dromiskin – Round Tower 10km from Dundalk
The jumping church – near Ardee
Stevenstown pond – Former home to Agnes Burns the sister of Robbie Burns the famous Scottish poet – beside knockbridge village - walk around the pond – feed the ducks, play in the playground and stop for a coffee in the coffee shop all for a 3 euro car park fee.
Iniskeen – the birthplace of Patrick Kavanagh the poet – (There is a small museum here with a guided tour for an entrance fee of around 3 euro)
Newry – Head North on the M1 Newry is roughly 20 mins North of Dundalk and hosts two shopping centres called the Quays and the Buttercrane (Remember that the currency is Sterling in the North of Ireland)