There are some great visitor attraction both near and in Dundalk town.
This Norman Motte and Castle ruins is traditionally associated with Cúchulainn, who is said to have used it as his base when harrying the forces of Queen Meave as they drove north into Cooley. On a clear day, there are fantastic views of Dundalk Bay from the top of the motte.
Clochafarmore standing stone is an impressive monument standing at over 3m high and 1.3m wide. It is believed that standing stones may mark locations where great events took place and this stone is traditionally associated with the greatest hero of Irish folklore - Cúchulainn.
He is the principal character of the epic Irish saga the Táin Bó Cuailgne (The Cattle Raid of Cooley). In this tale Cúchulainn defends Ulster from the forces of Queen Maeve of Connacht. According to legend Cúchulainn, who was fatally wounded, tied himself to this standing stone so that he could stay upright and face the opposing army. Access requires climbing a low stile, crossing a single-strand electric cattle fence and walking for 200m across a fairly level grazing field. The site is immediately to the south of the road from Dundalk to Knockbridge and Louth village (the r171). The parking area is 1400m east of the crossroads in Knockbridge village and about 5.5km south-west of Dundalk
The origins of the windmill at Seatown are mysterious. There is no documentary evidence to prove it but the mill probably dates back to the twelfth or early thirteenth century, which would make it the oldest still standing in Ireland.
The wooden gallery which surrounded the mill and the wooden sails were taken down in 1870 because of their decayed and dangerous condition. Despite numerous attempts, the mill has never been scheduled for demolition because of it's historic value.
This impressive dolmen with cap stone is said to weigh 40 tonnes and local legend believes that if you can throw a coin and make it land on top of the dolmen, you will be granted a wish so why not try your luck! The dolmen can be accessed from the car-park of the Ballymascanlon House Hotel just outside Dundalk.
Proleek Dolmen - photo by Mr. D Mull (used with kind permission)
This dramatic 13th century ruined Norman Castle is traditionally associated with Rohesia de Verdun, who is said to have thrown the architect from the castle walls upon its completion in order to prevent the building of a similar fortress elsewhere. The stately majestic ruins of the castle are still in fine preserve crowning a rocky outcrop in the hills just outside Dundalk.
Stephenstown Pond and Agnes Burns Cottage & Visitor Centre
Burns Cottage, just 4 miles from Dundalk, was once the home of Agnes Burns - the sister of Scotland’s National Poet Robert Burns – and her husband William Galt. Agnes dies in 1834 and William died in 1847 and both are buried in Dundalk in St. Nicholas’ Cemetery burial grounds. The centre features a multimedia centre which interprets the lives of Agnes Burns/Galt and her brother Robert and the famous poet’s works and a coffee shop.
Agnes and William built the Stephenstown Pond for the local landlord, Matthew Fortescue and the cottage is adjacent to Stephenstown Pond Amenity Park. Visitors can get pond fishing permits for the carp fishery and there is also a lake, shaded woodland walks, a nature park, children’s play area and picnic area. Open daily, May-Sept, 8.30am-8.30pm and Oct-April, 10am-5pm.
Holy Trinity Heritage Centre
Situated in Carlingford, just over 20km from Dundalk, the Holy Trinity Heritage Centre is located in a beautifully restored medieval church and recounts the history of Carlingford from Norman times to modern day. The centre hosts a permanent exhibition and interpretation on the medieval town and also hosts special events throughout the year. Details of upcoming events are available from the website. Open Mon-Fri, 10am-12.30pm and 2pm-4pm.
Battle of the Boyne site
Located in Drogheda, approx 30 km from Dundalk, the site of the famous Battle of the Boyne between King William and James on 1st July 1690 is well worth a visit. The battle involved over 61,000 troops, the largest number ever deployed on an Irish battle site, and at stake were the British throne, French dominance and religious power in Ireland. Open from 1st May – 30th September, 10am-6pm, guided tours are available including ‘Living History’ displays every Sunday.
Monasterboice, just over 25 km from Dundalk, features possibly the most outstanding examples of richly decorated high crosses remaining in Ireland today - the famous Muirdeach’s Cross which depicts scenes from the bible. The town is also home to one of the tallest round towers in Ireland. The tower reached a height of 110ft with the original door of the tower 20ft off the ground, however in the last ten centuries it has sunk to 6ft above ground level. Guided tours are available from Monasterboice Tour Guides.
Newgrange & Brú na Boinne Visitors Centre
This famous site is less than an hour’s drive from Dundalk. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Newgrange is a passage grave built some 5,000 years ago. One of the oldest man-made structures in the world, it was built in such a way that at dawn on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, a narrow beam of sunlight for a very short time illuminates the floor of the chamber at the end of the long passageway. The Visitor Centre houses a large interactive exhibition on the Brú na Bóinne area, an audio-visual presentation, a wheelchair accessible replica of the interior of the passage and chamber at Newgrange, a tourist office, gift shop, tea rooms and picnic area.
Old Mellifont Abbey
Old Mellifont Abbey is the first Cistercian Abbey in Ireland, famous for its lavabo. Located in a sequestered valley, four miles north of Drogheda, the building was finished in 1157 and its foundation has been associated with St. Malachy. The Visitor Centre houses an interesting exhibition on the work of masons in the Middle Ages with fine examples of their craft on display.
St Patrick's Cathedral
On the 1st January 1842 St Patrick's Cathedral in Dundalk was opened for divine worship and Daniel O'Connell, the Liberator of Irish Catholics attended Mass on that day. One of the outstanding features of the church is the splendid mosaic sanctuary walls, which is reckoned to be some of the best work ever done by Ludwig Openheimer & Co. of Old Trafford, Manchester. St Patrick's is built of Newry granite and was designed in the style of King's College chapel, Cambridge. Well worth a visit!
St. Nicholas's Church
Known locally as the 'green church', St. Nicholas's was built in the 13th century. It was extensively rebuilt and remodelled in the 17th and 18th centuries. The church spire is green because it was orignally made for copper, which we now know turns green after time from oxygen in the air.
If you are interested visiting or getting more information about any of these or other visitor attractions, please contact the nearest Tourist Office.
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