Carlingford is a coastal town on the Cooley Peninsula, County Louth. It is situated between Carlingford Lough and Slieve Foy. It’s 90 km north of Dublin and 11 km south of the border with Northern Ireland and so made a perfect destination for a one day road trip to work on my rusty driving skills. I didn’t know much about the town and I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I’ve always liked the song Farewell to Carlingford and had a very romantic picture of the town in my head. And I actually wasn’t wrong. The town is beautifully nestled between the mountains and the sea and has many historical sites.
Carlingford Priory was established around 1305 at the request of Richard de Burgo. The priory included a church, a cloister and a series of domestic buildings such as dormitories, kitchen and refectory. It was dissolved by the order of Henry VIII in 1539 and the church was later used as a base for herring fishermen.
Church of the Holy Trinity
It was donated by the Church of Ireland to Carlingford. The present building is the result of rebuilding over the centuries. The tower along with the doorway in the South Wall are medieval.
The building is a fortified three-storey town house belonging to a wealthy merchant family in the centre of Carlingford. The building has been identified as the site of a mint established in 1467, hence its name, however it was probably built in the late 16th century. The carvings of the man, horse and interlace ornament on the windows reflect the the revival of Celtic art in the 15th and 16th centuries.
King John’s Castle
Although, the castle owes its name to King John (Richard the Lionheart’s brother) who visited Carlingford in 1210, it was commissioned around 1200 by Hugh de Lacy.
The Tholsel or “town-gate” is the only remaining example of its nature in Carlingford and one of the few left in Ireland. The original function was to levy taxes on goods entering the town.