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The town's bright future is matched by a rich maritime and manufacturing tradition. The River Bracken once formed a lake that nourished the local cotton industry. The water was sluiced through a canal and tunnels down to the Lower Mill where it turned a waterwheel to drive cotton manufacturing machinery.

The north Dublin coastal town of Balbriggan is a thriving community, with a wealth of amenities, beautiful beaches and a busy fishing harbour. It’s also an area that owes much of its growth to cotton milling.

When Smyth & Co textile manufacturing company opened in Balbriggan in the late 1700s, the town went from a blink-and-you’ll-miss it spot to a hive of industry. As a global supplier of clothing and hosiery (with Queen Victoria among the fans of its high-quality stockings), Smyth & Co put Balbriggan on the map.


The cotton mills may be gone, but Balbriggan’s population is certainly here to stay. It’s currently Ireland’s youngest town, with an average resident age of 30.8, according to CSO data. It’s also one of Ireland’s most diverse places to live, with 28% of locals born outside of Ireland.

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