|— Town —|
|Motto: Deus praesidium, mercatura decus (Latin)
"God our strength, merchandise our glory"
|Highest elevation||23 m (75 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||1 m (3 ft)|
|Population (2011)||30,393 (38,578 with Environs)|
|Irish Grid Reference||O088754|
Drogheda (pron.: //; //; Irish: Droichead Átha, meaning "bridge of the ford") is an industrial and port town in County Louth on the east coast of Ireland, 56 km (35 mi) north of Dublin. It is the last bridging point on the River Boyne before it enters the Irish Sea.
As the River Boyne divides the dioceses of Armagh and Meath, Drogheda was founded as two separate towns, Drogheda-in-Meath (for which a charter was granted in 1194) and Drogheda-in-Oriel (or 'Uriel') as County Louth was then known. In 1412 these two towns were united and Drogheda became a 'County Corporate', styled as 'the County of the Town of Drogheda'. Drogheda continued as a County Borough until the setting up of County Councils, through the enactment of the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898, which saw all of Drogheda, including a large area south of the Boyne, become part of an extended County Louth. With the passing of the County of Louth and Borough of Drogheda (Boundaries) Provisional Order, 1976, County Louth again grew larger at the expense of County Meath. The boundary was further altered in 1994 by the Local Government (Boundaries) (Town Elections) Regulations 1994. The 2007-2013 Meath County Development Plan recognises the Meath environs of Drogheda as a primary growth centre on a par with Navan.
In recent years Drogheda's economy has diversified from its traditional industries, with an increasing number of people employed in the retail, services and technology sectors. The town also has a community of independent artists and musicians who have been looking to the local economy rather than Dublin for employment.
The town is situated in an area with an abundance of archaeological monuments dating from the Neolithic period onwards, of which the large Passage Tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth are probably the best known. The remarkable density of archaeological sites of the prehistoric and Early Christian periods uncovered in recent years in the course of development, notably during construction of the Northern Motorway: Gormanston to Monasterboice, or 'Drogheda Bypass', have shown that the hinterland of Drogheda has been a settled landscape for millennia.
Town beginnings 
However, Bradley, in his 1978 study of the history and archaeology of the town, stated that "neither the documentary nor the archaeological evidence indicates that there was any settlement at the town prior to the coming of the Normans". The results of the numerous and often large-scale excavations carried out within the area of the medieval town in the past ten years appear to have confirmed this statement.
The earliest monument in the town is the motte-and-bailey castle, now known as Millmount Fort, which overlooks the town from a bluff on the south bank of the Boyne, and which was probably erected by the Norman Lord of Meath, Hugh de Lacy sometime before 1186. The earliest known town charter is that granted to Drogheda-in-Meath by Walter de lacy in 1194. Sometimes it was also spelled "Tredagh".
Drogheda was an important walled town in the English Pale in the medieval period. It frequently hosted meetings of the Irish Parliament at that time. In a spill-over from the War of the Roses, according to R.J.Mitchell in John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, the Earl of Desmond and his two youngest sons (still children) were executed there on Valentine's Day, 1468, on orders of the Earl of Worcester, the Lord Deputy of Ireland. It later came to light (see Robert Fabyan, "The New Chronicles of England and France"), that the Queen herself was implicated in the orders given. The parliament was moved to the town in 1494 and passed Poynings' Law, the most significant legislation in Irish history, a year later. This effectively subordinated the Irish Parliament's legislative powers to the King and his English Council.
Later events 
The town was besieged twice during the Irish Confederate Wars. On the second occasion it was taken by Oliver Cromwell in September 1649, as part of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland and it was the site of an infamous massacre of the Royalist defenders. In his own words after the siege of Drogheda, "When they submitted, their officers were knocked on the head, and every tenth man of the soldiers killed and the rest shipped to Barbados."
Town arms 
A Norman element on Drogheda's coat of arms is its centrepiece, St. Laurence's Gate. The three lions which flank the Norman barbican and the star and crescent, similar to those on the coat of arms of Portsmouth, are taken from Richard The Lionheart's coat of arms who gave both towns their charters. On the other side of the barbican is a ship denoting Drogheda's status as an important port. The town's motto Deus praesidium, mercatura decus translates as "God our strength, merchandise our glory".
A local narrative has it that the star and crescent were included in the town arms after the Ottoman Empire (predecessor to the Republic of Turkey) sent ships laden with food to Drogheda during the Irish famine. However, there are no records of this with the Drogheda Port, and the star and crescent predate the famine. Yet, new evidence suggests ships sent by Sultan Abdülmecid I sailed up the River Boyne in May 1847. A letter was also found in Ottoman archives, written by Irish notables explicitly thanking the Sultan for their help. The Irish National Library might lack such records due to the fire that occurred in the 20th century.
A film is being shot regarding the subject as well.
20th century 
In 1921 the preserved severed head of Saint Oliver Plunkett, who was executed in London in 1681, was put on display in St. Peter's Church, where it remains today. The church is located on West Street, which is the main street in the town.
Arts and entertainment 
Drogheda has a thriving arts scene, across many sectors.
Theatre and performing arts 
The town hosts the annual Samba festival every summer, where Samba bands from around the world converge on the town for a week of drumming and parades. It is also home to the Calipo theatre company which specialises in multi-media productions and has achieved considerable success in Ireland and abroad.
Drogheda also hosts the worlds longest-running annual graffiti art event on the undercrofts of the Bridge of Peace every August. This event has seen some of the worlds top artists visit the site since the walls were first painted in 1993.
The town also supports one of the largest and most successful youth theatres in Ireland, Droichead Youth Theatre which has toured to Belfast, London, Italy, and Sweden. It was founded in 1991 by Declan Mallon and Aileen Hanratty, a local teacher. Droichead Youth Theatre perform an annual production in May, both scripted and improvised and is aimed at 14-18 year olds. Former members include Colin O'Donoghue. In 2001, the group performed 'Steps', a hugely successful show, devised in association with Upstate Thatre & Mosney Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers. More recently, the group has performed shows such as 'Kohl', 'Mock', 'Mixed Tape' and 'The Miracle'. Past Artistic Directors include Sharon Cromwell and Niall Clery. The most current is Christina Matthews.
The addition of the Little Duke Theatre company (Drogheda School of Performing Arts) in Duke Street, in the old Julian Blinds building, adds to this scene. It was founded by Brenda Gogan in January 1997.
The award-winning Calipo Theatre was founded in 1994 in Drogheda by Darren and Colin Thornton, former members of Droichead Youth Theatre, with the intention of creating more opportunities for young actors to perform. The majority of actors are from youth theatre backgrounds. The company is best known to date for their stylish use of mixed-media. Calipo wrote and devised its first original play Love Is The Drug in 1998 and it received both critical and commercial praise. It was adapted into a television series in 2004. Recent success include 'Wunderkind' by Darren Thornton and 'All Over Town' and 'Pineapple' by Philip McMahon.
Upstate Theatre Project is a highly successful, professional and independent performing arts organisation located in Drogheda. Less than an hour from Dublin, the project is also ideally located to develop links with colleagues and communities across the border in Northern Ireland. The organisation was founded in 1997, by Declan Mallon, also co-founder of Droichead Youth Theatre. Upstate seeks to attain the highest standards of excellence in performance and presentation, breaking new ground in its innovative relationships with community organisations, its educational and training programmes and its links with artists and communities in Northern Ireland and overseas. The creative team includes Louise Lowe, Feidhlim Cannon, Paul Hayes and Adrian Harney. Previous plays written and devised by Upstate include 'At Peace', 'Epic', 'The Enemy Within' and 'The One Who Kills Shooting Stars'. In 2011, Upstate announced a three-part Shared-Heritage Programme, which recreated Drogheda's oral history into theatre. The first, 'Come Forward To Meet You', premiered in August 2011. This was followed by the critically acclaimed 'Ship Street Revisited', in May 2012 and 'The Far Side', in November of that year. Upstate next project 'Home' will premiere at the Droichead Arts Festival in May 2013
The Municipal Centre in Stockwell Street acts as a base for most of the town's artists, under the umbrella of the Droichead Arts Centre, and featuring a gallery space and a theatre. The former Garda (Police) station in West Street is now a satellite site of the Droichead Arts Centre. This site is called Barlow House.
Drogheda also boasts a long tradition of its very own pantomime, which is usually held in January/February of each year. These productions have been going for roughly 60 years and are considered a great source of recreation for the town. Many locations have been used for staging productions, most notably the Barbican Theatre on the site of the old Parochial Centre.
Contemporary music 
Drogheda has also been the scene for some of the most important contemporary music events in Ireland. Louth Contemporary Music Society invited the US composer Terry Riley to perform in Drogheda in 2007, Arvo Pärt's first Irish commission and visit to the country was in Drogheda in February 2008, Michael Nyman performed in Drogheda in May 2008, John Tavener's Temenos festival was held in October 2008 and the Russian composer Alexander Knaifel was the focus of a portrait concert as part of the Drogheda Arts festival on 1 May 2009.
Drogheda composers 
The composer and Aosdána member, Michael Holohan, has lived in Drogheda since 1983. His compositions have been performed and broadcast both at home and abroad. Career highlights in Drogheda include 'Cromwell' 1994 (RTECO), 'The Mass of Fire' 1995 (RTE live broadcast) and 'No Sanctuary' 1997 (in the Augustinian Church with Nobel Laureate and poet Seamus Heaney). 'Fields of Blue and White', a CD of his piano music was launched in the National Concert Hall in 2009 and the concert pianist, Therese Fahy, was the recording artist. A keen supporter of the arts he is also a former chairman of the Droichead Arts Centre.
Live music 
Drogheda has a thriving live music scene at a variety of venues. There is live music 4 nights a week in Wm Caimes Gastropub, Scotch Hall.
Brass Bands 
Drogheda has a number of brass bands and is home to the Drogheda Brass Band, National Brass Band Champions of Ireland 2007–12, and the Lourdes Brass Band
Visual arts 
October 2006 saw the opening of the town's first dedicated Municipal Art Gallery and visual arts centre, the Highlanes Gallery, housed in the former Franciscan Friary on St. Laurence Street. The Highlanes Gallery houses Drogheda's important municipal art collection which dates from the 17th century as well as visiting exhibitions in a venue which meets key international museum and gallery standards. Drogheda's most famous visual artist was the abstract expressionist painter Nano Reid (1900-1981).
Oisín McGann is a writer of children's literature. Drogheda and its hinterland has always had a very strong tradition in poetry. Angela Greene (deceased) was the first Drogheda poet to win The Patrick Kavanagh Award in 1988 for her collection Silence and the Blue Night.The poet Susan Connolly has been widely published and broadcast. She was awarded The Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry in 2001 for her life's work.
Screen Appearances 
- Drogheda served as the stand-in location for many scenes in the 1984 film Cal. A drama set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, it starred John Lynch and Helen Mirren. For her role in the film Mirren was voted Best Actress at both the 1984 Cannes Film Festival and the 1985 Evening Standard British Film Awards.
- It served as the setting for the 5 part drama series Love Is the Drug filmed and broadcast in 2004. It was directed by Drogheda local Darren Thornton.
- In 2011 Feargal Quinn fronted RTÉ's Local Heroes campaign in Drogheda which assembled team of experts to kick-start the local economy. It aired as RTÉ 1's six-part television series, Local Heroes - A Town Fights Back.
Drogheda today 
With the expansion of the Irish economy in the 1990s, during the "Celtic Tiger" years, Drogheda became one of the main secondary locations for people who work in Dublin to buy a house, as property prices in the capital became prohibitive for many first-time home buyers. This was aided by the expansion of transport infrastructure in the direction of Drogheda i.e. the Swords and Balbriggan bypasses, the Boyne River Bridge and the increased number of commuter trains serving the town. Partly as a result, the downtown area of Drogheda has redeveloped, and two large shopping centres have opened, while several national and international retailers have opened stores. In 2007 the partial pedestrianisation of the town's main street, West Street, was completed. On the south quay in the space of the former Lakeland Dairies premises (an old industrial area), the Scotch Hall Shopping Centre and the D Hotel was completed in November 2005. A new pedestrian bridge extends from the north quay, at Mayoralty Street, into the complex. Phase Two of the development, which will shortly commence construction, will extend further down along the river front, on the site of the former Irish Oil Cake works. It will have an extension to the shopping centre and hotel, new apartments, cinema, and a riverside plaza.
Transport, communications and amenities 
Drogheda is located close to the M1 (E1 Euro Route 1) (main Dublin - Belfast motorway). The Boyne River Bridge carries traffic from the M1, across the River Boyne, 3 km west of the town. It was opened on June 9, 2003 and is the longest cable stayed bridge in Ireland.
Drogheda acquired rail links to Dublin in 1844, Navan in 1850 and Belfast in 1852. Passenger services between Drogheda and Navan were ended in 1958, however the line remains open for freight (Tara Mines/Platin Cement) traffic. In 1966 Drogheda station was renamed "MacBride". Drogheda railway station opened on 25 May 1844. Defined by its location as the last crossing point on the Boyne before it reaches the sea, Drogheda has seven bridges in its vicinity.
Politics and Government 
|Drogheda Borough Council members from 2009 election|
|Local electoral area ||Name||Party|
|Drogheda North||Kevin Callan||Fine Gael|
|Frank Gallagher||Socialist Party|
|Imelda Munster||Sinn Féin|
|Gerald Nash||Labour Party|
|Michael O'Dowd||Fine Gael|
|Dom Wilton||Sinn Féin|
|Drogheda South||Paul Bell||Labour Party|
|Matthew Coogan||Sinn Féin|
|Richard Culhane||Fine Gael|
|Anthony Donohoe||Fine Gael|
|Frank Maher||Fianna Fáil|
Drogheda Borough Council is an elected local government body which is mandated under the Local Government Act 2001 to provide civic leadership and a forum for the democratic representation of the community. Responsibilities include amenity support, operation of the Litter Act, contribution to tourism development, event licensing, arts support, etc. The Borough Council executive comprises twelve elected Councillors, headed by the mayor. The current mayor is Paul Bell (Labour).
For local elections to Louth County Council, the town forms part of two local electoral areas - Drogheda East (6) and Drogheda West (4) . This includes both the urban Drogheda area and surrounding rural areas.
For the purposes of elections to Dáil Éireann, the town is part of the five seat Louth constituency which returns five TDs. Following the 2011 general election, the constituency elected two TDs for the Fine Gael party (centre right), and one TD each for Fianna Fáil (centre to centre-right), the Labour Party (centre left) and Sinn Féin (left wing).
Local economy 
The local economy of Drogheda, like that of many other towns in Ireland, is changing rapidly. The old industries based around linen and textiles, brewing, shipping and manufacturing have now disappeared or are in decline. In recent times, business has slowed because of the recession and Drogheda faces an increase in unemployment.
There are still a number of large employers in the town, including:
- Glanbia, dairy products factory. (Glanbia Dairies, Drogheda was founded as Ryan Dairies (1957), becoming DDD (Drogheda & Dundalk Dairies) in 1959. Taken over by Avommore Dairies in 1986, which merged with Waterford to form Glanbia in 1997).
- Premier RHI AG, or Premier Periclase, produces Seawater Magnesia products at its plant - 115 employees
- Flogas, a national gas distributor
- Natures Best, a fresh food processor
- Hilton Foods, a meat processor
- Boyne Valley Foods, a producer and distributor of olive oil, jams and honey
- Irish Cement, Ireland's largest cement works at Platin.
- International Flavours & Fragrances (IFF), a producer of perfumes and food fragrances (plant closed 2010)
- Becton Dickinson (BD), a manufacturer of medical syringes and associated equipment
- The d hotel, Hospitality
Recent additions to the local economy include:
- IDA Business and Technology Park: a 25 hectares (62 acres) area with direct access onto the Dublin-Belfast motorway, developed and landscaped for the needs of both the IT, financial and internationally traded services sectors.
- International Fund Services, a leading provider of fund accounting and administration services to the hedge fund industry globally, is to establish a hedge fund administration operation in Drogheda, Co. Louth, with the creation of up to 235 jobs.
- Eight enterprise incubation units for high tech startup companies are provided in the Milmount complex.
The opening of the Drogheda bypass has led to the development of two large retail parks adjacent to the motorway, either side of the Boyne cable bridge. On the northside, is the M1 Retail Park and on the southside is the Drogheda Retail Park.
Unfortunately due to the recession and economic crash, a multitude of business and factories have closed down in Drogheda. As a result of this, Drogheda has a serious unemployment problem, which has in turn led to a serious rise in social problems, including crime (organised, violent and petty), poverty, lack of affordable housing, homelessness, and various substance abuse. As a result large parts of Drogheda have been designated RAPID areas, which means that areas have been identified by the Government as urban areas of concentrated disadvantage.
Traditionally shopping took place in the central business district of the town centre. The main shopping streets being West Street, Shop Street, Peter Street, and Laurence Street. There are five shopping centres, Scotch Hall, Laurence Town Centre, Drogheda shopping Centre, Abbey shopping Centre, and Boyne shopping Centre. A number of retail parks have developed around Drogheda since the year 2000, mainly on the southern and western side of the town.
The local newspapers are The Drogheda Leader and The Drogheda Independent, known locally as The D.I. and The Leader. Both newspapers are published every Wednesday. The Leader a free-of-charge newspaper has a circulation of 28,000 newspapers and the independent's circulation is 7,000. The headquarters of The Drogheda Independent are on Shop Street and The Drogheda Leader's offices are on Laurence Street.
The local radio station is LMFM, broadcasting on 95.8 FM. The headquarters of LM-FM are on Marley's Lane on the south side of the town.
- Soccer: In December 2005 the town's soccer team, Drogheda United, won the FAI Cup for the first time. In 2006 Drogheda United won the Setanta Cup. In 2007, Drogheda United won the League of Ireland for the first time in the club's history. Drogheda United FC's brother team is Trabzonspor from Turkey. Both of two team's colours are claret red and blue.
- Rugby: Local team Boyne RFC was formed in 1997 from the amalgamation of Delvin RFC and Drogheda RFC. As of 2010[update], the Men's 1st XV team plays in the Leinster J1 1st division. Drogheda is also home to many rugby playing schools, including St.Mary's who are the under 14 Leinster rugby champions.
- Karate: The Drogheda School of Karate was founded in February 1969 and has been providing continued services to the town & surrounding areas for over 40 years.
Water Polo; Drogheda Water Polo Club has been in existence since 1983. The clubs boasts male and female teams from U12 to senior level competing at provincial and national league level.
Town twinning 
Football players 
- Nick Colgan, goalkeeper for Sunderland and the Republic of Ireland.
- Ian Harte, full-back for Reading F.C. former Blackpool F.C, Leeds United, Levante (Spain) & Sunderland player and the Republic of Ireland.
- Gary Kelly, football player and charity campaigner.
- Sean Thornton, midfielder Leyton Orient in England and former Republic Of Ireland under 21 national team.
- Kevin Thornton, midfielder Coventry City F.C. and former Republic Of Ireland under 21.
- Colm Judge, Gaelic footballer for Louth.
- Tommy Breen Manchester United goalkeeper
- Steve Staunton, former Liverpool F.C and Aston Villa player was born there.
- Deaghlan Fionn (Author, Political activist) wrote theological books, holds a Doctor of Divinity degree and was ordained in 2006 born 1965 Marian Park Drogheda as Gabriel Declan Finn.
- Tommy Byrne, former racing driver, raced briefly in Formula 1 in 1982
- Tony Byrne, bronze medal winner for Ireland 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia in the lightweight division.
- James Cullen, mathematician who discovered what are now known as the Cullen numbers.
- Susan Connolly, Poet. Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship 2001. Shearsman Press.
- Pierce Brosnan actor, film producer and environmentalist.
- Deirdre Gogarty, 1997 Women's International Boxing Federation (WIBF) Featherweight Title Champion.
- Angela Greene, Poet. Patrick Kavanagh Award 1988. Salmon Press.
- Ronan Halpin, Sculptor. National and International Exhibitions.
- Michael Holohan, Composer and member of Aosdana.
- Shane Horgan, Leinster Rugby team, former international rugby player, Ireland national rugby union team
- Sharon Horgan, Actress, writer and comedienne.
- Raphael Hynes. Artist, National Award R.H.A.
- Jonathan Kelly, singer-songwriter.
- Frank Kelly, Film writer and director.
- Evanna Lynch, actress who starred in Harry Potter as Luna Lovegood is from nearby Termonfeckin.
- Tony Martin, Canadian social democratic legislator.
- Richard Moore, Artist.
- Anthony Murphy, Journalist and Writer. The Liffey Press.
- Colin O'Donoghue, actor.
- Deirdre O'Kane, award-winning comedian.
- Eliza O'Neill (1791–1872), actress.
- John Boyle O'Reilly poet and novelist, member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
- Nano Reid Artist (1900–1981),famous Irish painter of landscapes particularly Drogheda, the Boyne Valley and surrounding areas.
- Michael Scott, architect who designed Busáras and the Abbey Theatre.
- Des Smyth, Professional golfer, Vice-captain on the winning Ryder Cupteam in 2006.
- Geraldine Stout, Archaeologist and Writer. Cork University Press.
- T.K. Whitaker, former Irish economist who wrote the Programme for Economic Expansion went to school in Drogheda.
- Henry Singleton ( 1682–1759 ) the eminent judge and friend of Jonathan Swift, was a lifelong resident of Drogheda.
- Thomas Lancaster, Bishop - buried at St. Peter's Church
- Henry Boylan (1912–2007), civil servant and biographer.()
- Angela Carr, author, HR Ireland(Oak Tree Press 2011), international badminton player and twice winner of the Irish National Badminton Championships.
See also 
- "Drogheda Legal Town Results". Central Statistics Office. 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- See www.cso.ie/census and www.histpop.org for post 1821 figures, 1813 estimate from Mason’s Statistical Survey. For a discussion on the accuracy of pre-famine census returns see J.J. Lee “On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses", Irish Population, Economy and Society, eds. J.M. Goldstrom and L.A. Clarkson (1981) p.54, and also "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850" by Joel Mokyr and Cormac O Grada in The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Nov., 1984), pp. 473-488.
- Stout, G. 2002 Newgrange and the Bend of the Boyne. Cork University Press.
- Bennett, I. (ed) 1987-2004 Excavations : Summary accounts of archaeological excavations in Ireland. Bray.
- Bradley, J. 1978 ‘The Topography and Layout of Medieval Drogheda’, Co. Louth Archaeological and Historical Journal, 19, 2, 98-127.
- Bennett op cit.
- Bradley op cit 105
- Cromwell letter to William Lenthall (1649)
- Entry for Drogheda in Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)
- Murray, Ken (25 March 2010). "President tells Turks an anecdote of myth not fact". The Irish Times. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- "Drogheda station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
- http://www.drogheda-independent.ie/breaking-news/national-news/men-worst-hit-as-unemployment-soars-2346709.html. Missing or empty
- "Youth held after multiple stabbing in Drogheda". RTÉ News. 10 April 2010.
- Gillan, PJ (21 August 2007). "Obituary". The Guardian (London).
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Drogheda.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Drogheda|
- Drogheda Borough Council
- Drogheda Port
- Drogheda on the Boyne - Official Tourism Website
- Drogheda & District Chamber of Commerce
- Omni Signs
- Drogheda Time-Lapse
- St John Ambulance Drogheda
- The Little Duke Theatre - Drogheda School of Performing Arts