Swords is Dublin's largest town
Swords is officially the largest town in Dublin and the second largest in the country according to new figures release by the Central Statistics Office from the 2016 Census.
The Fingal capital now has a population of some 39,251 according to the Census figures and comes second in the country, only to Drogheda. There is an important anomaly in the figures as the area of Kinsealy and Drinan is counted separately in the Census figures and if you include that area with Swords, it takes the greater Swords area to a population of over 45,000, comfortably exceeding the population of Drogheda which is 40,956.
Swords as defined by the CSO increased its population by 6.3% since the last Census in 2011 but that Kinsealy and Drinan area had the greatest level of growth in Fingal, climbing 14.3% in the same period.
There was big news for Balbriggan in the latest Census 2016 figures too, as the north Fingal town broke through the 20,000 population mark for the first time with 21,723 people now living in the town, up 8.8% on the 2011 figure.
Malahide was the next most populous town in the north county with a population of 16,550 although its rise in population since 2011 was somewhat smaller that either Swords or Balbriggan at just 4.4%.
Skerries also passes a significant milestone in its history in these figures, which show the coastal town exceeding 10,000 residents for the first time, albeit by just 44 people. That represents a 3.9% increase on the 2011 Skerries population.
The two towns on the Donabate and Portrane peninsula have very different stories to tell in these latest Census 2016 figures. Donabate experienced significant growth since 2011, recording a population of 9.8% to 7,443 residents.
Donabate's near neighbour of Portrane was actually the only major town in Fingal to see population fall.
Portrane's population fell by 9.9% from 1.372 in 2011 to 1,236 in 2016 which could be at least partially explained by the depopulation of St Ita's Hospital. Lusk experienced one of the highest rates of increase in population in the county at some 10.9%. The town has expanded from 7,022 residents in 2011 to 7,786 in 2016.
Rush is getting closer in population to its neighbours in Skerries and is close to breaking the 10,000 population barrier, with 9,943 residents now living in the town, an increase of some 7.7% on 2011.
Portmarnock is also edging towards that 10,000 mark with a population of 9,446 which represented one of the smallest increases in population in the county since 2011, at just 1.9%.
The figures were released last Thursday by the Central Statistics Office as it published the second in the series of eleven thematic reports from Census 2016 - Profile 2: Population Distribution and Movements.
The population of Dublin is up 5.8% according to the figures which records the new Dublin population at a whopping 1,347,359 people.