Office of the Louth Heritage Officer

What is Louth's Heritage'?

Sometimes the word 'heritage' is used to refer only to ruined castles, churches and abbeys but we think Louth‘s heritage is what Louth people say it is.  Our 'heritage' is what we have inherited from our ancestors and what we want to pass on to our descendents.  Heritage gives us a sense of who we are, where we come from, where we belong, indeed, who 'we' are.  Heritage gives us pride in ourselves, the achievements of our predecessors and the inspiration to create a better tomorrow.  Heritage gives us pride in place and makes places worth living in, visiting and investing in.  Places that look after and care for their heritage are better places to live and invest in than those that let it crumble and collapse.

County Louth is a place of contradictions. Although Ireland’s smallest county, it has the two biggest provincial towns in the State (Dundalk is the largest town in Louth but Drogheda is the largest town in the country!). Louth is full of exciting landscapes and seascapes, monuments, historic gardens and buildings, industry and wildlife.

Lying midway between Dublin and Belfast, the ‘Wee County’ is at the heart of the island’s economy and is traversed for its entire length by the primary national road and rail links. Yet, the wild mountainous Cooley peninsula is here too, an hour's drive from both Belfast and Dublin and the perfect getaway from big city life.  The county also has an internationally important, and protected, coastline and its associated wildlife, landscapes, geology and archaeology. 

A rich and productive farmland made Louth a centre of brewing, distilling and baking. Towns sprang up at many of Louth's natural harbours and these developed into important ports, both for imports to and for exports from Louth's agricultural hinterland.  Railway lines developed to link counties Armagh, Cavan, Meath and Monaghan to Louth's ports.  Dundalk’s Great Northern Works were long a national centre of railway engineering. Ireland’s most impressive railway engineering feat is undoubtedly MacNeill’s magnificent Boyne Viaduct in Drogheda. 

Today Louth is a lively, go-ahead, busy place but with plenty of great sites for contemplation and enjoyment of a glorious and dramatic past and for dreaming of a better future.

'Cuir Dath ar Oidhreacht Lú' (leabhrán)

Download the Louth Heritage Colouring In book - have fun colouring in, learn about Louth's wonderful history and heritage and practise your Irish!

Colour-In Louth's heritage book

Download the English language version of the book, (helpful in case your Irish is a wee bit rusty).

Louth built heritage publications

'Archaeology Ireland' Heritage Guide number 84: Carlingford Priory: Download the Carlingford Heritage Guide

'Archaeology Ireland' Heritage Guide number 73: "Where Ferdia fell: Ardee, County Louth"
Download the Ardee Heritage Guide

'Archaeology Ireland' Heritage Guide number 71: "Monasterboice"
Download the Monasterboice Heritage Guide

'Archaeology Ireland' Heritage Guide number 69: "The Route of An Táin Bó Cúailgne in County Louth"
Download the Táin heritage guide

'Archaeology Ireland' Heritage Guide number 55: "Hill of Slane" (County Meath)
Download the Hill of Slane guide

'Archaeology Ireland' Heritage Guide number 37: "Hill of Faughart"
Download the outide of the guide
Download the inside of the guide

'Archaeology Ireland' Heritage Guide number 23: "The medieval town walls of Drogheda"
Download the guide

'Archaeology Ireland' Heritage Guide number 15: "The Cooley Peninsula"
Download the guide

Faughart graveyard conservation and management report (2015)
Please note that ownership of and responsibility for this nationally-important site is currently unknown
Download this conservation report

Ulster's Changing Borders report
Download this document [4.8 MB]

Conservation and management plan for the walled town of Ardee (adopted 13 October 2010)

Download this document

Short summary of the Monasterboice Conservation Study (two pages)
Download this document

Monasterboice Conservation Study (adopted May 2010)

Download this document (8.8MB)

The Architecture of Main Street, Blackrock (Blackrock Tidy Towns)
Download this document (1.7MB)

Conservation Plan for Town Walls and other defences of Drogheda (adopted October 2006)
Download this publication [PDF: 8.5MB]

Conservation and Management Plan for the walled town of Carlingford (adopted March 2008)
Download this publication [PDF: 1.85 MB]

A guide to Architectural Conservation Areas in Louth
Download this document

Guidelines for development in Louth's Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs)
Download this publication

Louth and Monaghan joint survey of abandoned railway infrastructure Overall Project Report)
Download the railway survey main report (15MB)

Volumes of the inventory
Site inventory, volume one - Dublin to Belfast mainline and the Ardee branch line (6 MB)
Site inventory, volume two - Dundalk to Enniskillen line (19.5 MB)
Site inventory, volume three - Carrickmacross Branch, Armagh to Castleblayney line and Cootehill branch (9 MB)
Site inventory, volume four - Portadown to Cavan line (11 MB)
Site inventory, volume five - Greenore to Dundalk and Greenore to Newry lines, Drogheda to Oldcastle line and Drogheda Cement Factory Branch (14 MB)

Louth natural heritage publications

Gardening for Biodiversity Download the booklet

Louth Hedgerow Survey 2014
Download the survey of a sample of Louth's hedges

Louth Wetland Survey 2014
Download the final section of Louth's wetland survey (a three year project)

Louth Geological Heritage Survey (2013)
Download the survey of important geological sites in County Louth

Louth Wetland Survey 2012
Download the Louth Wetland Survey 2012

Louth Wetland Survey 2011
Download the Louth Wetland Survey 2011 (main report only)

Ecological Survey of Carlingford (Carlingford Tidy Towns)

Download this document (4.7MB)

The Ecology of Blackrock (Blackrock Tidy Towns)
Download this publication [PDF: 5.8MB]

Geological field-guide to Cooley, Gullion, Mourne and Slieve Croob (hard copies are available from the Geological Survey)
Download this document [PDF: 4.2MB]

Policy documents

National Heritage Plan (2002)
Download this publication [PDF: 1.9MB]

National Heritage Plan (2022): Heritage Ireland 2030

Download 'Heritage Ireland 2030)

Louth Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2021-26

Download this publication

Plean Gníomhaíochta Áitiúil Bithéagsúlachta do Chontae Lú, 2021 - 2026

Íoslódáil an doiciméad seo

Louth Heritage Plan (English)

Download this publication [PDF: 2.4MB]

Plean Oidhreachta Lú (Louth Heritage Plan in Irish)
Download this publication [PDF: 2.1MB]

Louth Landscape Character Assessment (2002)
Download this publication [PDF: 1.9MB]

National Policy on Town Defences (2008)
Download this document [PDF: 0.6MB]