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Dundalk - Louth - Hiring Fair
early Dundalk photo
Dundalk had been originally developed as an unwalled 'Straid Bhaile' or 'StreetTown'. The streets passed along a gravel ridge which runs from the present day Bridge Street on 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 a Norman nobleman named Bertram de Verdun erected a manor house at Castletown Mount. Another Norman family, the De Courceys, led by John De Courcey settled in the Seatown area of Dundalk, the 'Nova Villa de Dundalke'.
Dundalk (Irish: Dún Dealgan) is the county town of County Louth in Ireland, close to the border with Northern Ireland. It takes its name from Dún Dealgan, Dalga's fort home closely associated with the famous mythical warrior Cúchulainn and was granted its charter in 1189. It is sited on the lowest bridging point of the Castletown River.
Within legally defined boundaries, Dundalk is the largest town in Ireland with a population of 29,037 inhabitants.[ However, the town's total population (including suburbs and environs) is recorded to be 35,085, making it the second largest town in Ireland behind Drogheda whose population was greater by 5 people. In 2003, Dundalk was amongst nine cities and towns to be designated Gateway status in the Irish Government's National Spatial Strategy.
Around 3500 BC the Neolithic people came to Ireland. One of the lasting features they left behind is the Proleek Dolmen at Ballymascanlon, on the northern side of Dundalk.
The Celts arrived in Ireland around 500 BC having colonized most of Europe. The group that settled in North Louth were known as the Conaille Muirtheimhne and took their name from Conaill Carnagh, legendary chief of the Red Branch Knights of Ulster. Their land now forms upper and lower Dundalk. The poets in Celtic society were known as the fili and were responsible for mythological tales and legends. The most famous of these being the tales of the Red Branch Knights, the Táin Bó Cuailgne and Cúchulainn.
Dundalk had been originally developed as an unwalled 'Straid Bhaile' or 'StreetTown'. The streets passed along a gravel ridge which runs from the present day Bridge Street on 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 a Norman nobleman named Bertram de Verdun erected a manor house at Castletown Mount. Another Norman family, the De Courceys, led by John De Courcey settled in the Seatown area of Dundalk, the 'Nova Villa de Dundalke'. Both families assisted in the fortification of the town, building walls and other fortification in the style of a Norman fortress. The town of Dundalk was developed as it lay close to an easy bridging point over the Castletown River and as a frontier town on the northern extremities of the Pale.
In the 17th century Lord Limerick (later James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Clanbrassil), created the modern town we know today. He was responsible for the construction of streets leading to the town center; his ideas came from many visits to 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 a British Army cavalry and artillary barracks (now Aiken Military Barracks).
In the 19th century the town grew in importance and many industries were set up in the local area. 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.
The town's first rail links were to Dublin in 1849 and Belfast in 1850, placing the town on the main line between Dublin and Belfast. Further railway links opened to Derry by 1859 and Greenore in 1873.
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.
In the 20th century Dundalk's secondary railway links were closed: first the line to Greenore in 1951 and then that to Derry in 1957. In 1966 Dundalk railway station was renamed Clarke.
The town has continued to grow. Many industries have prospered and provided employment for generations of townspeople. Harp Lager, a beer produced by Diageo, is brewed in Dundalk. Today many international companies have factories in Dundalk, from food processing to high-tech computer components.
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