Towns and villages along Belfast-Dublin corridor see population boom
TOWNS and villages dotted around the Belfast to Dublin corridor have shown some of the largest population growths over recent years.
Latest census results put Drogheda and Dundalk among the Republic's three largest towns, with Swords in north Dublin sandwiched in between.
Drogheda's population increased by six per cent in the five years up to 2016 to stand at 41,000 residents, while Dundalk now has more than 39,000.
Three towns and villages close to the border - Carlingford, Omeath and Jenkinstown - also registered huge increases.
Carlingford saw a 38% population growth since 2011, Omeath is almost 20% bigger, while the number of residents in the village of Jenkinstown rose by 11.5%.
Conor Keelan, deputy chair of Louth County Council, said it is in a "unique" position with two of the largest towns in the Republic within its boundaries.
"Within the Dublin to Belfast corridor there is a significant amount of cross-border workers. We think that about 80% are going south and 20% heading north," the Fianna Fáil councillor said.
"In addition, parts of south Down and south Armagh have always had links to Dundalk and Louth."
Mr Keelan said the council is continuing to push for both Drogheda and Dundalk to be included in the 'Rent Pressure Zones' scheme introduced by the Irish government to tackle housing problems.
"In recent years we have seen Louth become part of the Dublin commuter belt and part of the main growth has been due to the proximity of Drogheda to Dublin, which in turn affects the whole county. Housing is the main problem that we deal with on a daily basis."
He said immigration during the Celtic Tiger years had also been a contributing factor, in particular following the accession of former eastern bloc countries to the European Union.
In Co Monaghan, the picturesque village of Glaslough close to the Armagh border - best known for the Castle Leslie estate - also saw a 30% population boom since 2011, with the townland of Oram experiencing a similar rise.
In sharp contrast, many border areas around Donegal experienced a decrease in population.
Lifford, Raphoe and Buncrana saw drops of between one and six per cent, although the figures also showed that just 13 per cent of those born in Co Donegal were usually resident in another county.
Saggart in south Dublin is the fastest growing town in the Republic, its population increasing by almost half since 2011 to more than 3,000 inhabitants.
Populations in the major cities of Dublin, Cork and Galway increased by between four and five per cent.