Blackrock (Irish: Na Creagacha Dubha) is an attractive seaside village, situated seven kilometres south of Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland on the western shore of Dundalk Bay. It can be reached via the R172 from Dundalk or via the R132 from the M1 motorway. The core of the village is located along the seafront, while residential developments to the west form the greater part of Blackrock, which continues to expand rapidly.
The small seaside settlement that would eventually become Blackrock was first noted in the “Book of Dundalk” in 1752. Blackrock has its origins as a tiny fishing village in the early 19th century. In 1841 the population of the village had reached 507 with 95 houses, mostly small thatched fishermen’s cottages. By 1845, visitors to the area complained of the lack of hostelries and stabling, prompting local landlord Thomas Fortescue to undertake the construction of a wall along the main beach and the building of several lodgings including the Blackrock Hotel, The Clermont Arms and The Swans. This was the beginning of Blackrock’s rapid development as a popular holiday resort, attracting visitors from all neighbouring counties as well as from Belfast and even Scotland, and which continued well into the 1960s. Today Blackrock is a vibrant small town with over 3,000 inhabitants.
Due to its location, the village with its promenade and sweeping views over Dundalk Bay to the Cooley Mountains, continues to attract visitors all year round. During the summer months Blackrock is alive with activity as visitors and locals avail of the area’s extensive natural amenities, including the beaches and coastal walks, as well as the local restaurants, pubs and cafes. Annual events in the village include the Blackrock Tidy Towns Raft Race which takes place in June or July depending on tidal conditions, the long-established traditional visit to the village by the rural communities from neighbouring counties on the 15th of August, the switching on of the Christmas lights at the beginning of December, and Conor Hughes’ fundraising event on the main beach every St. Stephen’s Day.
Blackrock Millennium Sundial, in the centre of the promenade, is a unique feature and has become the symbol of contemporary Blackrock, as well as being a focal point for activity in the village centre. It is the largest sundial in a public place in Ireland.