County Louth - 2018





January - Monasterboice Crosses



The historic ruins at Monasterboice are an early Christian settlement founded by St. Buick in the 5th century. It is most famous for its spectacular High Crosses the most notable being the Cross of Muiredach which stands in the shadow of a round tower used as a refuge by monks during times of Viking attack. Visit Monasterboice to discover a lost world of Irish Christianity in Ireland’s Ancient East.


February - The Long Woman's Grave



The Long Woman's Grave or The Cairn of Cauthleen is the grave of a Spanish Noble woman who married Locan O'Hanlon the son of the Omeath Chieftain. It is located on the path known as the Windy Gap in Omeath. Cauthleen left her life in Spain to come to Ireland for the good life promised to her. So great was her disappointment on the realisation of what she had left behind, that she fell to the ground and died. The Long Woman's Grave as photographed for the month of February showcases a beautiful view from Omeath towards the Mourne Mountains.


March - Carlingford Harbour



Carlingford a small town on the Cooley peninsula and within Ireland’s Ancient East region is nestled between the waters of Carlingford Lough and Slieve Foy mountain. Steeped in history and with magnificent views across the Lough towards the Mourne Mountains, it is best known for its medieval buildings notably St. John’s Castle dating back to 1192 and the Dominican Friary built in the early 1300s.


April - Ballymascanlon



This is one of the finest and most beautiful examples of a Proleek Dolmen in Ireland. Situated in the grounds of the Ballymascanlon Hotel on the legendary Cooley Peninsula, it dates back to between 4000 and 3000 BC. This portal tomb consists of two upright stones with a roof stone standing about 3 metres high and weighing approximately 35 tonnes.


May - Drogheda Peace Bridge



The Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge spanning the river Boyne located 3km (1.9miles) west of Drogheda. This visually striking bridge was designed by Roughan & O’Donovan at a cost of between €35 and €40 million and completed in 2003. The area has a rich heritage and the bridge is located adjacent to the area in which the Battle of the Boyne took place in 1690.


June - Roche Castle



Roche Castle is a Norman castle located 10km north west of Dundalk which was built in 1236 by the De Verdun family. It is built on a large rocky outcrop and commands extensive panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The castle held a strategic position on the frontier between the then Gaelic Province of Ulster and the Anglo-Norman territory known as the Pale. The castle was finally laid to ruin during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1641.


July - Stephenstown House



This was a fine example of a two storey Georgian dwelling house built by Matthew Fortescue for his new bride in 1785. In 1817 William Gault was contracted to build two ponds as the water was needed for the new gardens and also to power the grinding mills in the farmyard. The house was let fall into ruin, however the pond is now a nature park and popular tourist attraction.


August - Blackrock Sundial



Erected in 2000 to mark the millennium, it is situated in a large paved area in the centre of the promenade. Standing 3 metres high and 7.3 metres in diameter, it is believed to be the largest sundial in a public place in Ireland. The gnomon comprises of a bronze sculpture of a diving figure created by a local artist. A time capsule has also been incorporated into the foundation which contains items collected from the public in Blackrock in 2000.


September - Kilwirra Church



The Medieval Church is situated on a small knoll surrounded by farmland with the scenic Cooley mountains providing a beautiful backdrop and is close to Templetown beach. The ruins date back to the 15th century and the site has an association with the Knights of Templar which were founded in 1118, hence the name Templetown. The Knights Templar are credited with starting an early form of banking in Ireland. The church was visited by the Ex. Vice President of the United States Joe Biden in 2016.


October - King John's Castle



County Louth is home to St. John’s Castle on the southern shores of Carlingford Lough. Built by the Norman knight Hugh De Lacy in the 12th century, this dramatic fortress offers stunning views across the Lough towards the Mourne Mountains. This is a “D” shaped castle with enclosure walls and was the first stone structure built in Carlingford. This castle and Greencastle, built on the other side of the Lough, enabled the Normans to control the entrance to the Lough. It is reputed that King John stayed here for 3 days in 1210.


November - Mellifont Abbey



This was the first Cistercian Abbey in Ireland founded by St. Malachy in 1142. Its architecture was imported from other Cistercian Abbeys in France. By 1170 it had 100 monks and 300 lay brothers. The Abbey closed in 1539 and became a fortified house. Now a ruin, little remains of the original Abbey except a 13th century lavabo, some Romanesque arches and a 14th century chapter house. In 1603 the Treaty of Mellifont was signed in the grounds of the Abbey. The Moore family remained at Mellifont until 1927.


December - Greer's Quay


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