Na Creagacha Dubha
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.
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. The Sundial is one of a trio of sculptures along the promenade, comprising also “Bradáin” and “The Cocklepickers”
Dundalk Bay is the most important location in Ireland for wading birds. It is designated an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention, and is a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area, protected at European and national level. The seashore and beaches around Blackrock, including the inter-tidal mudflats and salt marshes, are an integral part of the delicate ecology of Dundalk Bay, and provide excellent opportunities for viewing oystercatchers, redshank, godwit and Brent geese. The ecological importance of the Blackrock area has been documented in detail in “The Ecology of Blackrock”, published by Blackrock Tidy Towns in 2006.
The beach has a very gentle gradient and the sea retreats about 5 km at low tide. The River Fane (to the south of Blackrock) enters the sea as a channel crossing from south to north in front of the promenade. Even at high tide, the water is only about one metre deep out to the river channel, and the front has become popular as a safe sailboarding and kitesurfing venue. Blackrock is also home to the popular 18-hole Dundalk Golf Course, just to the north of the village.
With its abundance of natural assets, its seaside location, its thriving pub and restaurant scene, and its sporting facilities, Blackrock is an ideal place in which to live and a beautiful and interesting place to visit.