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Laytown is a village on the R150 regional road on the Irish Sea coast of County Meath, Ireland. Historically it was called Ninch, after the townland it occupies. Together with the neighbouring villages of Mornington and Bettystown it comprises the census town of Laytown-Bettystown-Mornington with a combined population of 10,889 at the 2011 Census, which is part of the wider area collectively known as East Meath.HistoryThe surrounding area is known to have been settled for around 1500 years; recent excavations have revealed settlement at Laytown since at least the 6th century AD.Archaeological finds On the famous beach at Bettystown, one of the biggest historical finds in Irish history was made. In 1850, a peasant woman claimed (rather implausibly) to have found the Tara Brooch in a box buried in the sand. Many think it was in fact found inland and the claim was made to avoid a legal claim by the landowner of the actual find site, wherever that was. The Tara Brooch is now on display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. An archeological dig in 2000 revealed early Christian graves of around 50 people and a Bronze Age enclosure. Artefacts recovered include a Hiberno-Norse ring pin, though this may signify mere contact or trade with Vikings rather than their actual presence in the area. A blue glass bead of the early Christian period was found at the rath at Ninch West associated in legend with Laeg mac Riangabra, Cuchulain’s charioteer, from whom Laytown is said to take its name. The mound at The Ninch said to be the tomb of Lay was excavated in 1982/3 by P. D. Sweetman, National Monuments Section, Office of Public Works, and found to contain two Iron Age interments
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