Named after Lugh, the Celtic sun god, Louth is the smallest county in Ireland, affectionately known as the 'Wee County'. But its size belies the beauty of its numerous unspoilt strands and its wealth of history. Its substantial monastic settlements include Monasterboice Faughart and Mellifont Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery in Ireland, and the location of Hugh O'Neill's surrender to Mountjoy after the Battle of Kinsale.
Louth's two main towns, Drogheda and Dundalk, have their origins in Norman times. During the 17th century, Droghteda was besieged twice - first by Sir Phelim O'Neill in 1641; then by Oliver Cromwell in 1679. It also has a history an ecclesiastical centre, and was home to St Oliver Plunkett during his primacy. In Dundalk's Mill Street there still stands the bell tower of a 13th century Franciscan monastery. Louth's stunning Cooley Peninsula boasts panoramic views to the Wicklow Mountains in the south and the Mournes in the north. The medieval town of Carlingfod bustles with life during the summers, when it hosts numerous culinary and sporting festivals.
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