Friday, December 9, 2016

14. Louth

Long before border cattle raids were popular, the Wee County of Louth was blazing a trail with the original and the best, the Cattle Raid of Cooley, taking place along its wild and windy Cooley Peninsula. Unfortunately, despite being defended by legendary warrior and decent hurler Cú Chulainn, Louth would lose its legendary stud bull Donn Cuailnge, an event that was the first of several unfortunate historical blows to befall the county.
Over the coming centuries, Louth was one of the first places to be invaded and settled initially by Vikings and then by Normans. Just when things appeared to be settling down, the town of Drogheda was unlucky enough to play host to an arriving Oliver Cromwell, who promptly laid siege to the place, burning large parts of it, throwing all its shopping trolleys into the Boyne before finally slaughtering hundreds of its residents.
It took a long time for Louth to recover and it wasn’t until the late 20th century that Louth entered a Golden Age, as the commercial success of Harp lager coupled with the remarkable international success of the Corrs and domestic success of Drogheda United and Dundalk FC combined to boost the Louth economy and the county’s morale.
While this confidence briefly took a bump with the loss of the controversial 2010 Leinster final to Meath, the wonderful Wee County of Louth has firmly re-entered the national consciousness and, boosted by the beautiful mountains of Cooley and inviting harbour of Carlingford, is no longer the second last county people remember when trying to list the 32 counties of Ireland.

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