Dundalk is the county town of County Louth, Ireland, situated on the Castletown River which flows into Dundalk Bay on the east coast of the country. It is halfway between Dublin and Belfast, close to the border with Northern Ireland. It has a population of 39,004 as of the 2016 census. Dundalk has been inhabited since the Neolithic period and was established as a Norman stronghold in the 12th century. It was known as the ‘Gap of the North’ due to its location at the northernmost point of Leinster meeting Ulster. In the 19th century, Dundalk developed brewing, distilling, tobacco, textile, and engineering industries which later declined in the 20th century. However, in the early 21st century, new industries such as pharmaceuticals, technology, financial services, and specialist food have been established. Dundalk is home to the Dundalk Institute of Technology and various sporting clubs such as Dundalk Football Club and Dundalk Rugby Club.