Dundalk is the biggest provincial town in Ireland, capital of County Louth, in the east of the country. Dundalk doesn’t put on any airs and graces; it’s a hardworking place, proud of its industrial background – the Port of Dundalk having played an important role in the development of the town. But don’t let Dundalk’s apparent austerity put you off - scratch the surface and you will find much to amuse in this ancient city. From a tourist point of view, Dundalk couldn’t be better sited, mid-way between the cities of Belfast and Dublin.
Much of medieval Dundalk remains to this day and visitors on a ‘getting to know you better’ mission should first head to its museum which is housed in a restored distillery– a landmark attraction featuring an audio visual centre and exhibition gallery. Or take a Castle cruise to get you a better perspective on the place. For a night out, the An Tain Theatre is sure to be showing something to tickle your cultural fancy, with everything from comedy to ballet, opera and music. If it’s a pint of the black stuff you’re after, then head on to the Mean Fiddler in the centre of town.
Dundalk’s Top 10
10.Louth County Museum is award-winning, tracing the history of Dundalk from Mesolithic times.
5. Roche Castle has dramatic views, which the architect must have appreciated as he was being thrown from one of its windows.
9. Battle of the Boyne Tours takes you to the famous site where King William kicked King James into touch back in 1690.
4. Dundalk Greyhound Stadium Go to the dogs then stay on to celebrate your winnings (or not).
8. Carlingford Adventure Centre is for water babies and action men and women. Windsurf, rock climb kayak and abseil to your heart’s content.
3. Kiln Park Golf Club Two tricky greens with islands on the river should be a challenge.
7. Proleek Dolmen This ancient portal grave is said to weigh over 40 tonnes.
2. The Cooley Peninsula Legendary site of the battle between Queen Meabh and Cu Chulainn – over a bull apparently. Great walking territory.
6. St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church is home to the shrine of Oliver Plunkett. Well his head is here – the other three quarters being sent elsewhere.
1. Dundalk Ice Dome Where you can show off your skills or hang onto the side.
Step back in time at Dundalk’s Heritage & Harvest Festival in May for traditional entertainment, vintage cars, antique stalls and a fab food fair.
Ireland’s patron saint would definitely approve of the St Patrick Day Parade in March. A colourful procession fills Dundalk’s streets with music, dance and floats.
The County Louth Agricultural Show in June is a fun-packed day of eccentric traditional events in Dundalk – such as the ‘wife carrying’ race. Just don’t get any ideas.
The National Poultry Races in March or April has to be Easter’s wackiest event. Watch Dundalk’s poultry run to the finish line in the Scrambled Egg Stakes (you couldn’t make this stuff up).
Enjoy a cold beer and some hot tunes at the Edgestock Music Festival in June. Dancing encouraged at this Dundalk event.
Dundalk’s Prawn Festival (yes really!) in July is a great place to sample the freshest seafood around along with live music.
Celebrate Dundalk’s ghostly goings on at the Spooktacular Halloween Craft and Food Fair at the end of October.
It’s time for food and fun in May when the Taste of Carlingford Food Festival takes over Dundalk for three days.
Strut your stuff at the Drogheda Samba Festival in June. A three day celebration of Brazilian, Latin and African music and dance, a short distance from Dundalk.
Dundalk’s streets come alive in October for the 10 day Tain Festival. Entertainment, shopping and a Chinese Lantern ceremony.
When to Go
· Like the rest of Ireland the climate in Dundalk can be summed up as somewhat damp, but mild and no real temperature extremes. It has an oceanic climate like most of northwest Europe, with generally warm summers and mild winters.
· Summer temperatures rarely exceed 30°C and on average they are around 22°C in the daytime. In winter temps can drop well below zero, but are in the main around 4-6°C.
· Ireland as a whole suffers from abundant rainfall, and you are likely to encounter showers whatever time of year you go, so go prepared.
· Dundalk is easy to get to by road, being on the M1 from Belfast and if you prefer to let others do the driving Bus Eireann runs a service from Dublin Airport and Drogheda on a daily basis. The bus station is situated in the town centre.
· Irish Rail trains run from Bray, Dublin and Drogheda as well as Belfast and Dundalk Railway station is located close to the centre.
· The journey time to Dublin Airport is around 45 minutes, from where you can get a full range of domestic and international flights.
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