Ireland's smallest county, Louth is affectionately referred to as 'The Wee County' and derives its name from Lugh, the great pagan god of the ancient Celts. Situated on the north east coast, the county enjoys wonderful views of the mountains and sea and is home to the north east's two principal towns. Steeped in legend and lore, Louth was part of the ancient kingdom of Oriel - the mystical domain in which many mythological tales are based. Indeed, it was around the north of the county and in the Cooley Peninsula that the legends of Cuchulainn were set. One of Ireland's most famous historical heroes, Cuchulainn took central stage in the story of the 'Cattle Raid of Cooley', one of the great Celtic myths.
With the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in the twelfth century, Ireland was thrown into disarray. Mottes were subsequently built to defend Anglo-Normans against the volatile Irish, such as the one seen at Millmount in Drogheda. Later followed the Norman Stone castles along with smaller satellite castles. It was the Norman invaders, however, who were responsible for the development of Dundalk and the founding of Drogheda, which grew from the unity of two towns built either side of the Boyne.
In 1690, Ireland succumbed to the might of the English. The Battle of the Boyne saw the Protestant, William of Orange defeat the English Catholic King James II, his father-in-law. In return for greater religious and political freedom, King James had enlisted the help of the Irish.
Today, the spectacular Cooley Peninsula offers a variety of great accommodation and activities, including walking, cycling, horse riding, hill walking, sailing, fishing or windsurfing, all within easy reach. Carlingford, a National Heritage town, is also a crafts and restaurant haven. Carlingford is one of the most beautiful, historic and interesting coastal towns in the country. Charmingly situated on the Cooley peninsula, which separates Carlingford Lough from Dundalk Bay, this area was quickly spotted by the Norsemen who realised the importance of the area. In the bustling towns of Dundalk and Drogheda there's also a great variety of shops, restaurants, accommodation and nightlife.