Dundalk

Dundalk (/dʌnˈdɔːk/, Irish: Dún Dealgan [ˌd̪ˠuːnˠ ˈdʲalˠɡənˠ], meaning Dalgan's fort)[7] is the county town of County Louth, Ireland. It is on the Castletown River, which flows into Dundalk Bay, and near the border with Northern Ireland, halfway between Dublin and Belfast. It has associations with the mythical warrior hero Cú Chulainn.

Dundalk

Dún Dealgan
Town
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
Motto(s): 
Mé do rug Cú Chulainn cróga  (Irish)
‘I gave birth to brave Cú Chulainn’
Dundalk
Location in Ireland
Dundalk
Dundalk (Europe)
Coordinates: 54.009°N 6.4049°W / 54.009; -6.4049
CountryIreland
ProvinceLeinster
CountyCounty Louth
Dáil ÉireannLouth
EU ParliamentMidlands–North-West
Inhabited3500 BC[1][2][3]
Charter1189
Area
  Urban
25.19 km2 (9.73 sq mi)
  Rural
354.04 km2 (136.70 sq mi)
Population
 (Census 2016)
  Rank8th
  Urban
39,004 [5]
  Metro
55,806 [6]
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing key
A91
Telephone area code+353(0)42
Irish Grid ReferenceJ048074
Websitewww.dundalk.ie

History

The Dundalk area has been inhabited since at least 3500 BC, during the Neolithic period. A tangible reminder of this early presence can still be seen in the form of the Proleek Dolmen, the eroded remains of a megalithic tomb in the Ballymascanlon area, north of Dundalk. Celtic culture arrived in Ireland around 500 BC. According to legendary historical accounts,[8] the group settled in North Louth were known as the Conaille Muirtheimne and took their name from Conaill Carnagh, chief of the Red Branch Knights of Ulster. Their land now forms upper and lower Dundalk.

Dundalk was originally developed as an unwalled Sráid Bhaile (literally "Street Townland", meaning "village"). The streets passed along a gravel ridge that runs from the present-day Bridge Street in the North, through Church Street to Clanbrassil Street to Earl Street, and finally to Dublin Street.

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.[9] 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.[10]

The town was sacked in 1315, during the Bruce campaign.[11] 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.

Dundalk had been under Royalist (Ormondist) control for centuries, until 1647 when it became occupied by The Northern Parliamentary Army of Colonel George Monck.[12]

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).

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.[18]

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.[19] However, a raid on Dundalk Gaol freed Aiken and over 100 other anti-treaty prisoners;[20] 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 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. 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][21]

In December 2000, Taoiseach 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.[22]

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.

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. 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. 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.

The Earls of Roden[23] 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.[24]

Battles

  • 248 – Battle fought at Faughart by Cormac Ulfada, High King of Ireland against Storno (Starno), king of Lochlin[25]
  • 732 – Battle fought at Faughart by Hugh Allain, king of Ireland against the Ulaid[26]
  • 851 – Battle at Dundalk Bay between the Fingall (Norwegian) and Dubhgall (Danish) Vikings takes place [27][28][29][30]
  • 877 – Gregory, King of Scotland took Dundalk en route to Dublin[31]
  • 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.[32][33]
  • 1483 – Traghbally-of-Dundalk plundered and burned by Hugh Oge ally of Con O'Donnell[34]
  • 1566 – O'Neill besieged the town with 4,000 footmen and 700 horsemen[35]
  • 1688 – Brothers Malcolm and Archibald MacNeill, officers of William III land in Dundalk and defeat the Celtic MacScanlons in the Battle of Ballymascanlon[36]
  • 1689 – Schomberg's Williamite Army camped to the north of the town record 6,000 deaths due to fever, scurvy, and ague[37]
  • 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.[38]
  • 1975 – The Dundalk Christmas Bombing – on 19 December 1975 a car bomb killed 2 and injured 15[39][40]

Coat of arms

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.[41] A bend between six martlets forms the shield. The bend and martlets are derived from the family of Thomas de Furnivall,[42] 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).[43] 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.[44] It appears as the "Corporation Arms" in a town plan dated 1675.[45] This form of the Coat of Arms can be seen carved in stone on the Italianate Palazzo Town-hall, built between 1855 and 1865.[46] In 1930 the town council proposed to remove the "three black crows" from the seal of the town due to its English origins.[47] 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.

Geography

Landscape

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.

Climate

Similar to much of northwest Europe, Dundalk experiences a oceanic climate, sheltered by the Cooley and Mourne Mountains to the North, and undulating hills to the West and South, the town experiences mild winters, cool 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
(45.0)
7.5
(45.5)
9.5
(49.1)
11.8
(53.2)
14.8
(58.6)
17.6
(63.7)
19
(66)
18.7
(65.7)
16.6
(61.9)
13.6
(56.5)
9.6
(49.3)
8
(46)
12.8
(55.0)
Average low °C (°F) 1.7
(35.1)
1.8
(35.2)
2.7
(36.9)
3.9
(39.0)
6.5
(43.7)
9.3
(48.7)
11.1
(52.0)
10.8
(51.4)
9.3
(48.7)
7.2
(45.0)
3.7
(38.7)
2.7
(36.9)
5.9
(42.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 85
(3.3)
62
(2.4)
66
(2.6)
56
(2.2)
62
(2.4)
63
(2.5)
66
(2.6)
84
(3.3)
84
(3.3)
87
(3.4)
81
(3.2)
93
(3.7)
889
(34.9)
Source: Dundalk climate

Demographics

Population by place of birth:

Location 2006[48] 2011[49] 2016[50] 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[48] 2011[51] 2016[52]
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[53] 2006[48] 2011[54] 2016[55]
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 interest

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
St. Patrick's Church[56] 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
St. Nicholas' Church (Roman Catholic)[56] 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
St Joseph's Redemptorist Church[57] The community of Redemptorists, or missionary priests, settled here in 1876.[58] Contains a relic of St. Gerard Majella. 54°0′15.2″N 6°23′21.8″W
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.[59] 54°0′30.53″N 6°24′5.81″W
Priory of St Malachy, Dominican chapel The 'Carlingford Dominicans' official foundation in Dundalk was in 1777[60] 54°0′1.69″N 6°24′31.09″W
Saint Brigid's Shrine[61][62] 54°3′11.3″N 6°23′53.24″W
St Brigid's Well Holy Well dedicated to St. Brigid 54°3′6.09″N 6°23′2.06″W
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
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
Proleek Dolmen[63] One of the finest examples of its kind in Ireland 54°2′13.86″N 6°20′53.75″W
Proleek Wedge Tomb 54°2′12.84″N 6°20′49.88″W
Franciscan friary Founded 1246[64] 54°0′22.51″N 6°23′37.92″W
Windmill Tower An eight-storey windmill-tower, built around 1800. 54°0′21.14″N 6°23′21.22″W
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
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. 53.974484°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
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
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.[65] 54°1′19.6″N 6°17′31.86″W
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.[66] Her grave is known as the "Lug Bhan Fada" (long woman's hollow).[66] 54°3′40.63″N 6°16′28.85″W
Rockmarshall Court Tomb 14 metres long cairn. 54°0′33″N 6°17′5″W
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
Haynestown castle 3-storey square tower house with corner turrets 53°57′36.47″N 6°24′40.85″W
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
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
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
Roodstown Castle Dates from the 15th century, features two turrets. 53°52′20.11″N 6°29′12.07″W
Aghnaskeagh Cairn and Portal Tomb 54°3′40.59″N 6°21′28.6″W
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
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
Faughart Motte 54°3′8.07″N 6°23′9.67″W
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
Lady Well, Templetown 53°59′14.74″N 6°9′10.79″W
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
Hatch's Castle, Ardee Medieval Tower House 53°51′24.99″N 6°32′22.22″W
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
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
St Mochta's House 12th Century Church/Oratory. 53°57′12.33″N 6°32′43.36″W
St James' Well 54°1′11.03″N 6°8′38.83″W
Liberties of Carlingford Medieval Head Carving 54°2′31.47″N 6°11′13.81″W
The Mint of Carlingford Mint established in 1467 54°2′25.06″N 6°11′11.02″W
Tallanstown Motte 53°55′15.12″N 6°32′59.53″W
Dominican Priory of Carlingford Founded by Richard de Burgh in 1305 54°2′17.33″N 6°11′4.13″W
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
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
Ravensdale Forest, Ravensdale, County Louth 54°03′08″N 6°20′23″W

Arts and festivals

Dundalk has two photography clubs, Dundalk Photographic Society[67] and the Tain Photographic Club. In 2010 Dundalk Photographic Society won the FIAP Photography Club World Cup.[68]

Dundalk has a vibrant music environment.

  • The Fr. McNally Chamber Orchestra was created in April 2010.[69] It is a string orchestra of 29 members.
  • The Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland[70] (CBOI) is one of Ireland's primary youth orchestras. It is based in the Dundalk Institute of Technology and maintains a membership of 160 musicians between the ages of 12 and 24. The CBOI was established in 1995 shortly after the implementation of the Peace Process and is recognised internationally and one of Ireland's flagship peace initiatives. It tours regularly to Europe and America and has sold out such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall and Chicago Symphony Hall.
  • The Clermont Chorale[71] was formed in 2003 and has 30 members, drawn from all parts of County Louth. Its repertoire includes music from the 17th to the 21st century, across many styles and genres.
  • Dundalk School of Music[72] was created in 2010. It provides education in music for all age groups in many disciplines.
  • Historic Dundalk Gaol is the home of The Oriel Centre, a regional centre for Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann. The Oriel Centre Dundalk Gaol[73] opened in 2010 and promotes Traditional Irish music, song, dance and the Irish language.
  1. "St Gerard's Novena gets underway in Dundalk this Sunday - Talk of the Town". Talk of the Town. 7 October 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
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