Louth is a beautiful and historic coastal border county in Ireland. This article is our selection of five amazing things to do in this county.
5. Smarmore Castle
Situated between Collon and Ardee, this castle dates back to the 14th century. It was the family seat of the Taafe family from 1330 onwards. The Taafes continued to live at Smarmore Castle till the 1980s. Smarmore Castle is also one of the smallest castles in Ireland and is one of the longest inhabited Irish castles. It was definitely the talk of the town, when it was sold for half a million euros and all its contents were auctioned off. This castle was converted first into a hotel and now runs as a center for the treatment of alcoholism and addiction. Although, it is not possible to enter the castle (unless you would like to admit yourself), you can explore the grounds and admire the grand structure from the distance.
Monasterboice is one of Ireland’s monastic sites. The remarkable ruins include cemetery, 2 churches, one of the tallest round towers and two of the tallest in Ireland high crosses. Monasterboice is said to have been founded by a follower of St. Patrick and is located close to Drogheda. The high crosses are what attracts visitors to this site mostly. Monasterboice’s round tower is about 30m in height and was divided into four or more stories inside. As with other round towers in Ireland, this was used as a watchtower and a refuge for monks. Most of the towers including this one are not open to the public. It is due to the fact that most of the staircase had been disintegrated or damaged by fire.
3. Proleek Dolmen
This one is definitely worth visiting if you are on the market. The grand Proleek Portal Tomb, is situated in the parklands of Ballymascanlon Hotel. The archaeological term “portal tomb” originated from the hypothesis that the 2 large stones, that sit in the upright position, serve as a portal or a way into the funeral chamber. It has been proposed the dolmen may once have been covered with a cairn of stones, but no evidence of this can be found. There are a number of smaller stones on the top of the roof stone. According to a tale that states if the stone stays up when you throw up up there, you will be married within a year. If this does happen and you get engaged, you may want to consider spending a honeymoon at this hotel (just saying). This site can be visited for free all year around.
2. St Peters Church, Drogheda
It is here in this church; you can see the shrine of Oliver Plunkett, who is associated with bringing Jesuits to Drogheda. He was hanged for treason in 1681. Pope Paul VI declared Oliver a saint in 1973, and his preserved head forms the centerpiece of the shrine. This place is visited by hundreds of tourists every year. The church is located in the center of Drogheda town and the site previously housed a church built in 1791. Parts of that structure were incorporated into the present building, which boasts an impressive Gothic architectural style. Inside, visitors can view fine sculptures, a high spectacular Altar, made from marble and many stained glass windows. The entrance to this site is free.
1. Carlingford Lough
This lake is still as mysterious and beautiful as when it has first appeared after the ice age. The name Carlingford was given to the Lough due to a Viking activity and the settlement on the southern shore. From here they were able to navigate the river in their boats raiding as far inland as Armagh targeting monasteries and churches. During the medieval period, the deliberate position of Carlingford Lake was evidently documented by the Anglo-Normans upon their arrival in Ireland. Today, Carlingford itself is one of Ireland’s best well-kept medieval towns, a direct settlement and includes characteristic medieval designs, protective walls, narrow streets, Friary and urban Tower structures. Much of this heritage and atmosphere remains here today.