Located just a stone’s throw from the border with Northern Ireland, Dundalk lies along the Castletown River where it flows into Dundalk Bay. It serves as the administrative hub of County Louth and a gateway for exploring Castle Roche, as well as the hill where Edward the Bruce was killed during the 14th-century Battle of Faughart.
Things to do in Dundalk
Delve into the local history at the County Museum Dundalk, which occupies a beautifully restored warehouse dating from the 18th century. It details the cultural heritage of Louth dating from the Neolithic Period, with displays that include prehistoric rock art, agricultural artefacts and objects related to the county’s distilling, shoemaking and tobacco-growing industries. The museum is located adjacent to St. Patrick’s Church, a magnificent building that resembles Cambridge’s Kings College Chapel.
A short drive north-west of Dundalk will take you to Castle Roche, a Norman fortification built by the De Verdun family in 1236. Abandoned since the 17th century, it boasts an impressive curtain wall and the remains of a grand hall, as well as a gatehouse and a commanding pair of towers.
Also on the outskirts of Dundalk is the Hill of Faughart, which was the site of several important battles throughout Irish history. In addition to the remains of a medieval church with the grave of Edward the Bruce, it features a shrine dedicated to Saint Brigid of Kildare. This 5th-century nun founded several monasteries throughout the country and is believed to have been born on the hill.
Getting around Dundalk
Dundalk is around an hour’s drive from Dublin and about an hour from Dublin Airport. Regular trains connect from the Dundalk railway station to destinations across Ireland and buses travel throughout Dundalk. The town centre is compact enough to explore on foot.