ARDEE, an incorporated market and post-town, and a parish, in the barony of ARDEE, county of LOUTH, and province of LEINSTER, 10 miles (S. W. by S.) from Dundalk, and 34- miles (N. N. W.) from Dublin; containing 6181 inhabitants, of which number, 3975 are in the town. This place, anciently called Atherdee or Athirdee, derives its name from its situation on the river Dee. Though a town of great antiquity, it was chiefly indebted for its former prosperity and importance to Roger de Pippart, one of the English adventurers, who became lord of the surrounding territory, and erected a strong castle here, about the beginning of the thirteenth century. In the year 1207 he also founded an hospital for Crouched friars of the order of St. Augustine, dedicated to St. John, and endowed it with a caracute of land, to which he afterwards added two more, and other gifts. Eugene, Archbishop of Armagh, who died in 1215, confirmed the charter of this establishment,
and granted it the privilege of electing its own prior, and it attained an eminent degree of wealth and importance. A Carmelite friary was also founded at an early period, to which Ralph de Pippart, in the reign of Edw. I., granted certain endowments out of his manor of Ardee, and its revenues were further augmented by several of the inhabitants. During the invasion of Edward Bruce, who laid waste much of the surrounding country, many of the inhabitants assembled for protection in this friary, which was attacked by a party of Scots and Irish under his command, and reduced to
ashes. John de Bermingham, after repelling these invaders, was created Earl of Louth, and had a grant of the manor, but was soon afterwards killed in an insurrection of his own people. In 1538, the town was burnt by O'Nial and his associates; and in the following year George Dowdall, the last prior of the Augustine monastery, surrendered that house with all its possessions in lands and advowsons, and was allowed a pension of £20 sterling until he should obtain some ecclesiastical preferment. Having been appointed to the archbishoprick of Armagh, he received a grant for life of the monastery and its appurtenances, in 1554; and in 1612 its possessions in and near the town were granted, by Jas. I., to Sir Garret Moore, who also subsequently received a grant of the remainder. On the breaking out of hostilities in 1641, Sir Phelim O'Nial obtained possession of the town, which thence became the head-quarters of the Irish army; but Sir Henry Tichborne advanced against it in the same year, with his small force from Drogheda, and retook the town and castle, in which a garrison was then placed. At a subsequent period the Marquess of Ormonde issued orders to the garrison to destroy the town, which, from their neglect or disobedience of his commands, afterwards fell into the hands of Cromwell. Jas. II., after leaving Dundalk, retired with his army
to this place; but on the approach of William's forces, previously to the battle of the Boyne, retreated to Drogheda.