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Balbriggan is a large town in the northern part of Fingal, Ireland. The 2011 census population was 19,960 for Balbriggan and its environs.Origins of the nameAccording to P.W. Joyce the name arises from "Baile Breacain" which literally means "Brecan's Town". Brecan is a common medieval first name and there are several other Brackenstowns in Ireland. There is also a possible link to the local Bracken River, in which case the name could derive from breicín "little trout".Many locals however have traditionally felt that Baile Brigín means "Town of the Little Hills", due to the relatively low hills that surround the town. This translation is not well founded as it appears to be derived from a phonetic deconstruction of a suggested spelling.It seems more likely that the town's name is derived from the word Brecan, as the area was known in pre-Norse invasion times as Breaga, populated by a tribe or clan known as the Bregii and the aforementioned River Bracken.HistoryThere is no consensus about the "foundation" of the town, other than there may always have been a small settlement of fishermen, weavers and some sort of agricultural trade post.18th centuryAn 18th-century traveller described Balbriggan as "... a small village situated in a small glin where the sea forms a little harbour – it is reckoned safe and is sheltered by a good pier. The village is resorted to in Summer time by several genteel people for the benefit of bathing."Balbriggan owes its rise from a small fishing village to a place of manufacturing and commercial importance to Baron Hamilton, who, in 1780, introduced cotton manufacture, for which he erected factories.19th centuryLewis's Topographical Directory of Ireland, from 1837, refers to Balbriggan as follows:
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