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Dundalk
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County Town: Dundalk
Population: 110,894
Area: 820 sq km
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Louth is known affectionately as "the wee county", since it's the smallest in Ireland. Located on the east coast, where it adjoins Northern Ireland, Louth extends southwards from Carlingford Lough - the coast's loveliest inlet - to the River Boyne and the ancient town of Drogheda. The seaside scenery takes in sweeping bays, broad sandy beaches, dramatic headlands and picturesque fishing villages filled with narrow streets and quaint cottages. The medieval village of Carlingford is feted for oysters, and visitors travel from far and wide for its annual oyster festival. North Louth boasts the scenic Cooley Peninsula - a range of hills, forested valleys and the towering Slieve Foy mountain - between Carlingford Lough and Dundalk Bay. The rest of the county consists largely of rolling fields and farmlands. The two main towns are Dundalk, to the north, and Drogheda, to the south, where the head of Saint Oliver Plunkett is preserved and displayed at a shrine in St Peter's Church. Louth is steeped in history, and its abundant relics of times gone by vary from castles, forts, towers, country houses, churches and abbeys to mottes, dolmens, standing stones and crosses. Just a few of its numerous attractions are the 13th Century Carlingford Castle ruins, overlooked by wooded hillsides, the 12th Century remains of Mellifont Abbey (Ireland's first Cisterian monastery) in Collon, the high crosses at the ancient and revered religious site of Monasterboice, the County Museum in Dundalk, and Drogheda's Beaulieu House, gardens and classic car museum. Louth offers a superb range of countryside activities, with inspiring opportunities for hikers and hill-walkers. Golf, fishing, boating, cruising and riding are enduringly popular, while the Dundalk racecourse and greyhound track provide fun for all the family. Dundalk and Drogheda also serve up a full range of contemporary entertainments, with excellent restaurants, pubs, cinema, arts, theatre and music.

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First Non-Stop Transatlantic Jet Flight - 1950, Launch of ITV - 1955, 10 Soldiers killed by IRA bomb attack in Deal - 1989
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