As part of the ancient kingdom of Oriel, Louth is the setting for perhaps the most epic of all Irish mythological tales, the Táin Bó Cúailnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley), which includes a starring role for Ireland’s greatest mythological hero, Cúchulainn. The Táin, by Thomas Kinsella, is a modern version of this compelling and bloody tale.
Louth is home to a number of monastic ruins dating from the 5th and 6th centuries; the monastery at Monasterboice and the later Cistercian abbey at Mellifont, both near Drogheda, are Louth’s most interesting archaeological sites.
The arrival of the Normans in the 12th century ushered in a period of great change and upheaval; attracted by the fertile plains of the Boyne, the Anglo-Norman gentry set about subduing the local population and building mighty houses and castles. The Norman invaders were responsible for the development of Dundalk and the two towns on opposite banks of the Boyne that united in 1412 to become what is now Drogheda.