The town of Rathdrum stands in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. Ancient tradition maintains that Rathdrum was once the site of a hill fort, strategically placed to control the gateway to the mountains and the river crossings. Rath Dromadh translates as ‘Ráth on the Ridge’. The origins of town are from the medieval period. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Rathdrum was an important centre for the woollen trade, particularly flannel, based on sheep farming in the locality and spinning and weaving as cottage industries. Rathdrum used to be a market town, with two breweries and a flour mill. The transport links to the town were improved in the 19th century with the construction of a coach road, while in the mid-19th century the railway arrived. Today the town is undergoing major transformation with a big increase in commercial and residential development.