Situated almost exactly halfway between Belfast and Dublin, the nearest most visitors get to Dundalk is to whizz past on the motorway. This is a little unfortunate as it is a a good base for touring in the South Armagh and Monaghan areas and sits at the gateway to the beautiful Cooley Peninsula.
These are parts of the country few tourists get to but for the visitor who wants to get away from the crowds and discover a lesser known part of Ireland they have a lot to offer.
The town is well supplied with pubs, restaurants and hotels, which tend to be less expensive than in more touristy areas and there are good road and rail links to both Dublin and Belfast, both of which are near enough for day trips.
It is also within easy reach of the Cooley peninsula and the Mourne Mountains, both areas which rival better known and more touristy parts of Ireland for their beauty and interest.
What to see in Dundalk
While there are no major attractions in Dundalk itself, a stroll though the town is very rewarding if only to admire the fine 19th century architecture of many of its public building, notably the Town Hall, the Garda station, St Nicholas’ Church and the courthouse with its fine Portland stone Doric columns.
On Clanbassil St look out for the lovely upper floors of a building which now houses a sports shop but was once a wine sellers. Sadly the ground floor level, once equally impressive, has been totally altered.
A less typical point of interest is the 60m high wind turbine which now dominates the town’s skyline and supplies most of the electricity required by the local Institute of Technology. Built after much controversy, it is Ireland’s first urban turbine and the only one which supplies power directly around its location. It has a strange beauty about it and watching the huge arms slowly rotate is pleasantly hypnotic.
The Century Bar, built to celebrate the start of the 20th century, is an exuberant pean to Art Deco and a good place to enjoy a leisurely pint of Harp by a blazing fire. This lager is the product of the local brewery, a fixture and a major employer in Dundalk for many years but due to close soon as a result of rationalisation by its parent company, Diageo. This will sadly bring an end to a local tradition of brewing that dates back centuries.
Dundalk in the News