Welcome to the County Louth Ireland page of the Ireland Genealogy Project. I hope this site will help you in your search for your Irish ancestors.
Louth, the smallest county in Ireland and affectionately known as "The Wee County", is a county in the northeastern Republic of Ireland, in Leinster Province, on Dundalk Bay, an inlet of the Irish Sea. Dundalk, the capital and Drogheda are the chief seaports.
County Louth is ideally situated on the North East coast of Ireland and covers an area of only 317 square miles. It runs northwards from the River Boyne to Carlingford Lough, consisting mainly of fertile undulating country with a coastline of wide sandy bays and occasional rocky headlands. Except for a hilly region in the northeast, the land is low and fertile. Dairy farming and fishing are important industries. The principal towns include Carlingford, Dundalk, Drogheda, and Colton Is Dundalk.
County Louth figures prominently in the epic tales of ancient Ireland. Before the Normans came to Ireland it formed part of the Gaelic kingdom of Oriel. In 1185 Prince John annexed the area for the English crown. Louth was part of the Pale, a large area that remained under the constant control of the English.
The Surnames that are most associated with county Louth are Belton, Corrigan, Dowdall, Duffy, Hamill, McArdle, O'Hagan, O'Hare and Quigley.
County Louth Patron Saint — St. Brigid
Although Saint Patrick is known worldwide, Ireland does have a female patron Saint. Known as Bridey, Mary of Gaels and even as Biddy, Saint Brigid was born in the mid 6th century near Dundalk to a pagan Gaelic chieftain named Dubtach (Duffy) and to a Christian slave mother named Brocessa, who was sold soon after Brigid's birth.
In her endeavour to explain the passion and death of Jesus to her dying pagan father, she wove a cross from the rushes (thatch) strewn on the floor.
The date of her death is now that of her feastday - February 1st - which is still celebrated with the traditional creation of the Saint Brigid Cross, made from reeds. She is buried next to Saint Patrick in Downpatrick.
The St. Bridget Cross is believed to protect homes from want and evil.