Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown

Written by Pádraig Laffan, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown

This is the smallest county in Ireland. It is one of the four parts of the Dublin region and is in the province of Leinster. It is also the longest county name in Ireland. The total area of the county is 127.31 km2 (49.15 square miles). It is bounded on the east by the Irish Sea, to the north by the area of Dublin City Council, to the west by South Dublin and to the south by County Wicklow. The county town is Dún Laoghaire. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 206,261 according to the 2011 census.

The name is derived from the suburb of Dún Laoghaire and the half-barony of Rathdown. Dún Laoghaire means "Laoghaire's fort". Rathdown is an Anglicisation of the Irish Ráth an Dúin, directly translating as "Ringfort of the fort". The accent over the ‘u’ is generally included in both Irish and English. The Irish for Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown is Dún Laoghaire–Ráth an Dúin. The county motto is Ó Chuan go Sliabh, translating as "From Harbour to Mountain".        

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown is one of three smaller counties into which County Dublin was divided in 1994; its county town is Dún Laoghaire. It is one of the four constituent parts of the Dublin Region. It was created by merging the areas under the jurisdiction of the Corporation of Dún Laoghaire and the south-east part of the former Dublin County Council. Additionally, the powers of the former Deansgrange Joint Burial Board were subsumed into the new authority. As part of the Dublin Region, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown is within the geographic remit of the Dublin Regional Authority. Following the enactment of the Local Government Act 2001, the Regional Authority was established.  It is one of eight such authorities in the state.



The great beauty of this area is enhanced by its geology. Three major rock types are present – the granite extending from the Wicklow hills, the metamorphic schists which lie to the east and the sedimentary carboniferous Limestone in the low ground of the northern region The most northerly granite outcrops are found on the seashore by Blackrock and these extend westwards by Mount Merrion. The limestone of the central area of Ireland also extends to Blackrock area. The landscape is much formed by the passage of the great ice ages and just off the coast between Bray and Woodbrook can be seen at very low tides the remains of an ancient forest overrun by the sea as the ice disappeared and sea levels rose. The last of the great ice sheets retreated about 10,000 years ago.


Recorded History

As the period of recorded history began the area of Wicklow was known as Cuala and the conspicuous local mountain now called The Sugarloaf was called Oe Cualann. The Uí Theig became the leading tribe of north-east Wicklow and through our area to south-east Dublin. In the eight century they were superseded by the Uí Briúin who called much of what we now know as Rathdown, Uí Briúin Cualann.

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