Carlingford & the Cooley Peninsula

Carlingford & the Cooley Peninsula, located in the North East of Louth, was awarded the title of European Tourist Destination of Excellance in Intangible Heritage in 2008. Carlingford is packed with ancient buildings and quaint streets which give a glimpse into its rich historic past.

Carlingford was originally a Viking settlement and even its name originates from its Viking history – Carlin Fjord’ (Fjord simply meant a bay to the Vikings). It is also listed as a Medieval HeritageTown– having more historical buildings than any town of the same size in the whole of Ireland. Extensive town walls have survived, together with the ruins of monasteries and, most important of all, of civic buildings – an extremely rare happening in Ireland.

Carlingford Town, which is a virtual outdoor museum of medieval Ireland, offers various adventure activities to tourists like sailing, angling, painting workshops, golf, beauty treatments, horse riding, designer shopping, bird watching, cycling and guided walking tours. Carlingford even offers a pottery workshop, Irish traditional music workshops and a range of cookery courses taught using local produce and traditional recipes.

There is a full range of visitor services available on the Cooley Peninsula, ranging from banks, churches, medical, shopping, taxis and boat hire to guides and the heritage centre. In addition, there is an abundance of activities on land and sea including archery, kayaking, raft building, zip wires, horse riding, fishing, sailing, trekking and golfing. Two equestrian centres offer full-day treks, including lunch on the Cooley mountains.


Address:Cooley Peninsula Tourist Office, Old Dispensary, Carlingford, Co. Louth
Phone:+353 42 9373033


Clogherhead is the only high, rocky headland on the east coast between the Mournes and Howth in County Dublin. It is also of international significance for its geology as the site where the Iapetus Suture reaches Ireland's east coast.

Clogherhead is a Special Area of Conservation and is also listed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty because it supports rare, coastal heathland vegetation. there are several informal paths over the headland between the village and Port Oriel and is well worth a visit. Grey seals are often seen in the harbour, waiting for fish waste. Black guillemots nest in special ‘burrows’ in the harbour wall.


Blacrock (Na Creaghacha Dubha) is a rapidly expanding seaside village on the coast south east from Dundalk. Blackrock developed as a fishing village in the early 19th century and developed into a popular tourist attraction and natural amenity for its wider hinterland because of its beach.

The town and shoreline have many natural assets including inter-tidal mudflats, river estuary, salt marshes, coastal rock outcrops, hedgerows, mature stands of trees, drystone walls, scrubland and small watercourses. The entire shoreline is designated as a Specially Protected Area (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The village also features a choice of select accommodation, bars, cafes and Dundalk Golf Club, making it the perfect place to visit and relax.


Annagassan was originally a small port with a busy harbour pier, Vikings raided and plundered Ireland for much of the ninth century, eventually establishing two outposts. The fates of those two settlements couldn't be more different. The Dubh Linn outpost became Dublin, but the other was lost forever... until now.

Annagassan has a great history, according to The Annals of Ulster, the Vikings started wreaking havoc on Ireland in 795, but eventually they settled down enough to found a couple of longphorts, (term used in Ireland for Viking ship enclosure). Dubh Linn and Linn Duachaill. The ultimate fate of Linn Duachaill had been an archaeological mystery for centuries, until the recent announcement that the settlement had been found 45 miles north of Dublin in the village of Annagassan.

The Recent evidence uncovered indicates that Linn Duchaill was a significant Viking settlement with evidence of shipbuilding, carpentry, smelting, and even an artificial island that would have been used for defence against the locals.


Bettystown is a thriving village that has seen much development since the late 1990’s. It has a fine sandy beach and visitors and locals alike enjoy walking along it throughout the year. It has always been a haven for the weary city dwellers of Dublin, many of whom spend summers in the caravan parks. A long established seaside resort with a fine, sandy stretch of beach from Laytown to the mouth of the Boyne at Mornington.

The world famous “Tara Brooch” dated 700AD was discovered on the beach in Bettystown.It is now kept in the Royal Academy Collection of the National Museum, Dublin. The quality of the craftmanship, the detail of its ornamentation and the preciousness of its materials all seem to indicate wealthy, if not royal origins.


The village of Laytown is situated 3km off the main N1 (Dublin to Belfast Road, on the north of the Nanny Water Estuary) has evidence of an Iron Age settlement in the form of a murial mound. Refernece to Laytown appears in the Annals of Ulster from 852 AD.An excellent sandy beach extends from south of Laytown to Mornington.

Laytown Races- Every year it is home to the only offical strand races in Europe. This year the racing is fixed for Tuesday 7th of September 2010.

More information on Laytown Strand Races

Sonairte Ecology Centre-It is home to the National Ecology Centre called Sonairte.Sonairte is the only establishment of its kind in Ireland. The aim of the center is to show schools, the public and business, practical and economic ways of living in harmony with the earth and avoiding damage to the environment. This is achieved through the promotion of ecological awareness and education in areas such as sustainable living, organics, conservation and alternative technology.


The village of Mornington on the Boyne Estuary was known as Marinestown in the 13th century.Two beacons mark the mouth of the Boyne and warn ships of the river bar at Mornington. Built during the war with o'Neill whan a Spanish invasion was feared, there is still mystery surrounding them.

The first beacon, known as Maiden Tower is 60ft/18.2 m high, while the other is called the Lady’s Finger, this is a solid round tower tapering to a point thirteen meters high. There is a local story that says a young maiden threw herself from the top of the Maiden Tower believing her lover had been lost at sea. She sustained an arm injury that resulted in one of her fingers being left sticking up and it is reputed that this is how the towers got their names.