County Louth, Ireland Genealogy
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County Louth is named after the village of Louth (Lughbhadh in Irish, some say refers to the Celtic god Lugh) and is located on the eastern coast of Ireland in the province of Leinster. It is affectionaly called “the Wee County,” as it is the smallest county in Ireland. Its length is 29 miles from the boundary a little north of Ravensdale to the boundary south of Drogheda and its breath is only 12 to 13 miles. The area is 316.8 square miles (820.5 sq km).
Prior to the Normans, this County was part of the Kingdom of Oriel. Drogheda, its main town, was founded in 911 by the Norse Vikings. Following the Norman invasion in about 1183, the area was settled by English farmers and it became one of the first four counties established by King John of England in 1210. Louth was controlled by England over most of the following centuries. Many skirmishes and battles involving Irish and English forces occurred in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Oliver Cromwell attacked Drogheda in 1649 slaughtering the Royalist garrison (Siege of Drogheda). Towards the end of the same century the armies of the warring Kings, James and William, faced off in North Louth during the build-up to the Battle of the Boyne - the battle takes its name from the river Boyne which reaches the sea at Drogheda.
In 1821, the County’s population was 119,129 and increased to 128,240 in 1841. During the Great Famine of 1845-1847, the population decreased until it was 107,662 in 1851. The population continued to decrease to 62,739 in 1926. In 2006, the population was 111,267. County Louth is predominately Roman Catholic. In 1891, the percentage of Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist was 91.3%, 6.8%, 1.3% and 0.4%. Overtime, the Roman Catholics stay about the same to 91.6% in 2002, while the Church of Ireland, Presbyterians and Methodists decreased to 1.6%, 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively, with other or no religions increasing to about 3.9%.
General County Research Information
Further information about County Louth is available at the GenUKI site.
Civil Jurisdictions and Parish Research Information
Land and Property
1885 County Map: Courtesy of London Ancestor