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Droichead Átha
View of Drogheda from the south
View of Drogheda from the south
Flag of Drogheda
Coat of arms of Drogheda
Coat of arms
Motto: Deus praesidium, mercatura decus  (Latin)
"God our strength, merchandise our glory"
Drogheda is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°42′50″N 6°21′01″W / 53.713889°N 6.350278°W / 53.713889; -6.350278Coordinates: 53°42′50″N 6°21′01″W / 53.713889°N 6.350278°W / 53.713889; -6.350278
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
County County Louth & County Meath
Municipal district Drogheda Borough District
Dáil Éireann Louth
EU Parliament Midlands–North-West
Founded 911 AD
First Charter 1194 AD
County Status 1412 AD[1](Abolished 1898)
Highest elevation 23 m (75 ft)
Lowest elevation 1 m (3 ft)
Population [2] 38,578
 • Rank 6th
Demonym Droghedean, Boynesider
Time zone WET (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (UTC+1)
Irish Grid Reference O088754
Dialing code +353 41
Website drogheda.ie

Drogheda (/ˈdrɒhədə/; /ˈdrɔːdə/; Irish: Droichead Átha, meaning "bridge of the ford" Latin: Pontana) is a town located in the north east of Ireland. Siting on both banks of the River Boyne the town straddles both County Louth and County Meath but is predominantly situated in County Louth. It is the largest town [2][3] and sixth most populous area overall in Ireland, with a population of 38,578 recorded from the 2011 Census. The town stands at the centre of the densely populated "Greater Drogheda Area" which is made up of the South Louth/East Meath region and has a catchment population in excess of 70,000 people.[4][5] The town has a strong City Status campaign headed by the 'Drogheda City Status Group'.[6]

During the 12th century, after the Norman invasion, the settlement of Drogheda flourished. There is little archaeological evidence for earlier settlement in the area, so it is said “Drogheda began life as a town”.[7] Founded as two distinct boroughs on opposing sides of the River Boyne, Drogheda-in-Meath on the south bank and Drogheda-in-Uriel(As Louth was then known), on the northern bank. It wasn't until over 200 years later, in 1412AD that a new Charter was granted, unifying the two towns as a County Corporate styled as ‘the County of the town of Drogheda’.[1] 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, become part of an extended County Louth.[1][8][9]

Drogheda has played a significant role in Irish history; key events include the visit of King John in 1210, the Black Death in 1348, the holding of Parliament at various times over the years 1441 – 1493, the effects of the Plague in 1479, the passing of Poynings Law in 1494, the swearing of allegiance to the Crown by the defeated Ulster Chiefs at the Dominican Friary in 1603, the failed Siege of Drogheda in 1641, the attack by Oliver Cromwell in 1649, and the Battle of the Boyne outside Drogheda in 1690. In the Twentieth Century Drogheda played its role in the momentous events which shaped the modern nation including the 1916 Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War during the years 1919 – 1923 which saw the shelling of Millmount Fort by Irish Free State forces.

In recent years Drogheda's economy has diversified from its traditional industries, modern Drogheda acts as the major industrial, service, technological and commercial centre for Ireland's North East region. Drogheda’s Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital acts as the acute medical provider for the entire North East, whilst Drogheda Port acts as a major import and export centre for much of the Eastern Irish Seaboard. In 2011 Drogheda's tourism potential was realised and the town aimed at placing itself back on the Irish tourism map, rebranding itself Drogheda on the Boyne. The Boyne Valley went on to be identified and heavily promoted by Fáilte Ireland as one of the top ten tourism destinations in Ireland[10][11] with Drogheda being promoted to an international audience as Drogheda, Gateway to the Boyne Valley[12][13] a destination home to sites including, the national shire and relics of Saint Oliver Plunkett,[14] Saint Laurence Gate,[15] the Battle of the Boyne site,[16] Mellifont Abbey[17] and the World Heritage UNESCO designated, Bru na Boinne.[18]



Drogheda is situated in the east of Ireland approximately 47 km (29 mi.) north of Dublin, 35 km (22 mi.) south of Dundalk, 122 km (76 mi.) south of Belfast and 28 km (17 mi.) east of Navan. The tocentre clusters around the narrow river Boyne Basin and is confined on both north and south sides by sharp hills. Drogheda’s central area is punctuated by a number of notable church spires and buildings which when combined with local topography, give a unique sense of place to the town. The town forms the natural eastern gateway to the Boyne Valley which forms the southernmost extremity of County Louth and marks the border with County Meath to the south on which Drogheda stands.


Drogheda, in the Irish structure of the word, Droichead Átha translates as "the bridge of the ford" which signifies the ford on the River Boyne at which St. Mary's bridge stands today. Drogheda has been accordingly, by the historians of the early centuries, rendered in Latin "Pons Vadi" and "Pontana Civitas" while, in English, it was more vernacularly styled "Droicheatata" which dates from 1084AD,[19] "Droicheat Atha"(1193), "Drochet Atha" (1263), "Drochaidatha" (1293), "Droghdogh" (1441), "Drokeda", "Droghade", "Drougheda", "Drodath", "Drodag", "Droheda", "Drocheda", "Drohed" and sometimes "Treoid" and "Tredagh". This variety of pronunciations and spellings is due to the fact that there were no directories or dictionaries to consult at the time so words were usually spelled phonetically, this made the accent of the individual writer was an influencing factor.[20]

By 1671 there was still an evident struggle with the Anglicisation of Droichead Átha with Saint Oliver Plunkett using the spelling "Dreat" in a letter to Rome in that year. It is uncertain when the definitive spelling became Drogheda.[21]


Main article: History of Drogheda

Drogheda was one of the largest and most successful port towns in medieval Ireland. The latter half of the twelfth century to the early fourteenth century was a period of large-scale urban development throughout Europe and “Almost all the towns built in Ireland between 1180 and 1300 were Norman creations”[22] and Drogheda was one of many towns founded during this period.[23] There is little archaeological evidence for earlier settlement in the area, so “Drogheda began life as a town”.[24] It is during this period that the townscape owes much of its form. The street pattern and boundaries were laid out and the town walls and churches were built. Documentary sources for the history of Drogheda begin to occur and in conjunction with the archaeological record aid the reconstruction of the town’s history and growth.[25]

Growth of Drogheda[edit]

Drogheda commemorated the 800th anniversary of its first Royal Charter in 1994.

After the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, King Henry II feared that lords like Strongbow would try to set up an independent kingdom. He decided that the best policy was to divide and conquer and around 1172 King Henry II conferred on Hugh De Lacy, the Lordship of Meath.

Drogheda was founded as two distinct boroughs on either side of the River Boyne, the exact date is not known but it was obviously prior to de Lacy’s death in 1186. De Lacy seems to have been instrumental in setting up two parishes in the medieval town, each with its own church: St Peter’s on the north side of the river in the diocese of Armagh and St Mary’s on the south side in the diocese of Meath. These parishes were granted to the Augustinian canons of Llanthony Prima in Monmouthshire and Llanthony Secunda in Gloucestershire, respectively.[27] The two parishes, formed so that the town could be settled on both sides of the river and ultimately gave rise to two separate towns on either side of the River Boyne, Drogheda-in-Meath on the south bank and Drogheda-in-Uriel (Louth) on the north bank. Hugh De Lacy “connection with both churches is important because it shows him to be the founder of the town on both sides of the Boyne and not just on the south side, as had been previously thought.” [28] A bridge across the Boyne, with gates at either end, provided a physical link between the two towns.[29]

The urban settlement on the south bank of the river is much smaller than that on the north, probably due to restrictions placed on house construction by the high rising scarp of ancient river beds on either side. This afforded the south side of the river defensive advantages, such as the earliest archaeological feature in the town, Millmount Motte. Richard the Lionheart granted the town its first royal charter in 1194AD. In 1220, a new grant of the Lordship of Meath was made to Hugh De Lacy's son Walter de Lacy, by Henry III, the town and castle of Drogheda-in-Meath had become of so much importance, that the king retained them in his own possession, allowing to De Lacy £20 per annum from the Exchequer, and the talliage of the town, as a compensation.[30]

Henry III granted Drogheda-in-Uriel with a royal charter in 1229AD under Bertram de Verdun. This gave the town certain privileges and free customs similar to those of Dublin. A new charter was granted in 1253AD to the burgesses of Drogheda-in-Uriel, empowering them to elect a mayor, to exercise exclusive jurisdiction, and to hold an annual fair for 15 days: but the increase of the town was soon checked by the continued aggressions of the native inhabitants of the surrounding districts.

The two boroughs of Drogheda were collectively knows in Latin as Drogheda ex Utraque Parte Aquce[31](Drogheda on both side of the water). Although they immediately bordered one another, separated only by the River Boyne, the two towns were in different church dioceses, had separate corporations, taxes, tariffs and landing charges. This last difference in particular was to lead to intense rivalry and even bloodshed as each town sought to undercut the other in order to gain a greater share of maritime trade.[32]

The rivalry and bloodshed between the two boroughs on opposing banks of the Boyne continued until the reign of Henry IV when in the year 1412, Father Philip Bennett, master of divinity, and a friar of the St. Mary Magdalene Dominican Friary in the town who, in the aftermath of a particularly 'sanguinary engagement' between the citizens of the two towns, invited both sides to hear him preach. On the feast of Corpus Christi outside the Collegiate Saint Peter's Church of Ireland he appealed to warring townsfolk and assumed for his theme these words of cxxxiii. Psalm,

Father Bennett having thrice asked the congregation with energy,

Alderman William Symcock spoke out in the name of all,

When the sermon was ended, they were profusely entertained in the refectory of the St. Mary Magdalene Dominican Friary and, having there and then consulted with Father Bennett upon their disputes, by his advice a joint petition was made to King Henry IV, signed by Nicholas Flemmyng, Archbishop of Armagh for a "United Drogheda" which they sent to London by one Robert Ball.[32][33]

A charter of Union was granted by Henry IV at Westminster on the 1st November 1412, with the consent of the burgesses and commonalties, it united both boroughs under one corporation, and erected the town, with the suburbs on both sides of the river, into a county of itself. Under this, which is the governing charter, the style of the corporation is the "Mayor, Sheriffs, Burgesses, and Commons of the County of the Town of Drogheda," and the government is vested in a mayor, two sheriffs, twenty-four aldermen (including the mayor), an indefinite number of common councilmen, a mayor of the staple, two coroners, recorder, town-clerk, sword-bearer, mace-bearer, water-bailiff, harbour-master, and subordinate officers.

Robert Ball returned to Drogheda on December 15 that same year with the Charter of Union, which provided for the towns of Drogheda on either side of the Boyne to be unified as a County Corporate, styled as ‘the County of the town of Drogheda’[1] to be governed by a mayor and two sheriffs chosen by the community.[34] The borough was coextensive with the county of the town, comprising an area of 5803 statute acres, of which, 844 are in a rural district in the parish of Ballymakenny, and the remainder in the parishes of St. Peter and St. Mary.

The reasons given for this constitutional change included 'The harm caused by existing arrangements to Drogheda’s trading forces, and the dissensions and debates that they had given rise to among its inhabitants.'[35] D'alton believes the two boroughs were combined primarily because the warfare between the two Drogheda's was so fierce because tolls were applied to Drogheda-in-Uriel, but not Drogheda-in-Meath, in particular a postage towards the maintenance of the bridge was paid only on the North Quay. This meant that in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the principal market was located on the Meath side, near Millmount, where vessels obviously preferred to anchor in order to avoid the pontage levied on the Louth side; Dalton adds: ‘the inhabitants of the former had, consequently, the monopoly of the merchandize imported.’[36]

The following day, December 16, Nicholas Flemmyng, Archbishop of Armagh gave his blessing to the people of the newly created county and town thus coalesced and that the first mayor of the United Drogheda so incorporated was the said William Symcock.[37] After the unification of the two towns, Drogheda was regarded along with Dublin, Waterford and Kilkenny as one of the four “Staple-Towns” of Ireland.[38][39]

Drogheda sent members to the first Irish parliament ever held, and continued to return two members to the Union, since which time it had returned one member to the Imperial parliament.[40] 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 River Boyne, become part of an extended County Louth.[1][8][9] With the passing of the County of Louth and Borough of Drogheda (Boundaries) Provisional Order, 1976,[41] County Louth and the Drogheda Borough 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.[42]

Annalistic References[edit]

The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland (Irish: Annála Ríoghachta Éireann) or the Annals of the Four Masters (Annála na gCeithre Máistrí) are chronicles of medieval Irish history, within the Annals the first account of the Drogheda area comes in the form of Inbhear Colptha (Inver Colpa) on the Meath side of the Boyne close to the present day village of Mornington in 'The first year of Conaire Mor, son of Ederscel, in the sovereignty of Ireland. The Age of the World, 5160.[43]

The Annals of the Four Masters first recorded a settlement at Drogheda (Droichead-atha) in 'The Age of Christ, 1039.'[45]

Fortified Drogheda[edit]

Saint Laurence Gate is an original barbican dating from the 13th century.
Millmount is Drogheda's oldest archaeological feature, it overlooks the town and the River Boyne below.

The first of the defenses which enclosed the settlements of Drogheda date to the 1190s. By 1186 a defensive motte and bailey had been built at Millmount which overlooks the town from a bluff on the south bank of the River Boyne, these first defenses were built on conjunction with and to protected Millmount Fort. Archaeological discoveries of the 1970s show the original fortifications to consist of a ditch and an earthen bank with wooden palisades on top. Despite this, the defences were strong enough to repulse an attack in 1315-16 by Edward Bruse's Scottish army.[32]

Drogheda’s trading connections, attested by archaeological evidence, were predominantly with English ports but also extended much further to Flanders and Gascoigne, to France, northern Spain and Portugal with evidence of contact even as far afield as Iceland.[23] The prosperity of medieval Drogheda meant that stone town walls and fortifications were built around the town between 1234 and 1334 in order to protect the citizens and the prosperous economy within.[19] Enclosing an area of 113 acres, 33 acres on the south side and 80 acres on the north side, with a circumference of one and a half miles the walled city of Drogheda was twice the size of medieval walled Dublin.[46] For a town of this size and with this scale of economic activity the enclosing town walls facilitated the collection of taxes through its ten gates, which included, Blind gate, Butter gate, Saint Catherine's gate, Duleek gate, Fair gate, Saint James/Dublin gate, Saint John's gate, Saint Laurence gate, Saint Sunday’s gate and West gate. For centuries Drogheda's defences were to a great extent an expression of the town’s civic success and independence.

Drogheda's town wall at Featherbed Lane dating from the 13th Century.

Under Edward I, Drogheda received grants of toll for mirage. The town possesses one of the most extensive series of murage grants for any Irish town with at least 13 grants spanning the years between 1234 and 1424. The murage grants basically consisted of a licence to levy a toll upon goods coming into the town and the money thus gathered at the gates was used to construct and repair the town wall. The form and composition of the wall indicate that it was largely constructed in the 13th century, although there is evidence for multiple phases of town wall building can be seen in construction joins and the use of different mortars. A fine example of this is still visible today to the west of Millmount. Later murage grants indicate that additions and repairs were required in the 14th and 15th centuries (Bradley 1997). In 1316, Edward I granted 300 marks for the repair of the walls and turrets.[47] The almost incessant warfare with the Scots and native Irish had so reduced the Borough of Drogheda, that in the year 1380, King Richard II then conferred upon them certain customs and duties for the repair of their walls and fortifications, and for the general improvement of the town.[48]

Drogheda became an important centre for linen and grain trade. This period of sustained growth peaked in the years 1785-1808, when Drogheda became the fourth largest town in Ireland after Dublin, Cork and Waterford.[49] By the late 18th century the walls were viewed as an anachronism and no longer necessary for defence in a more prosperous time, which left them prone to decay. As a consequence many sections of the walls were demolished during property development at this time. The gates were also removed to widen the streets and ease the passage of increased coach traffic, as was the case on 30 June 1795 when the Corporation ordered that the stones and material from Sunday’s Gate be auctioned off so that “the avenue on which same stands be widened to fifty feet” [50][51]

Descriptions of the town wall and gates[edit]

Ravells map of Drogheda, 1749.

Drogheda has a number of available sources that describe or illustrate the town wall, although many of them post-date the construction of the town’s defences by several hundred years. The earliest of these is “The Plott of the Towne of Tredagh (Drogheda)” drawn by Barnaby Goche in 1574, Capt. Robert Newcomen’s map of Drogheda from 1657 was commissioned as part of the Down Survey and illustrates in great detail the town’s walls, gates and towers. A sketch of Drogheda’s walled town also features on the Down Survey of 1657 in the Barony of Ferrard. These maps were drawn up as an inventory of Irish landholdings for distribution to English gentry colonising Ireland after Cromwell’s invasion. In 1749 Joseph Ravell produced a map of early Georgian Drogheda that depicts the circuit of the town walls cartographically (See map to right).

Illustrations and paintings of Drogheda provided valuable detail about the town wall and in particular, the number, location, and form of the gates. The painting of Drogheda by Van der Hagen c. 1718 (See below) clearly shows walls and towers along the northern quay, although there was some debate between the cartographers over the existence of defensive quay walls. This painting also illustrates what a prominent feature of the skyline the defensive towers of the wall circuit once were. Two paintings by Gabrielle Ricciardelli c. 1753 (See below) show Drogheda from different viewpoints. Several towers and gates are visible, and both paintings clearly highlight the form of the wall between Butter Gate and St John’s Gate. The quay walls are relatively low and vary between individual properties.

Descriptions of the wall, its construction and repair can be found in a number of sources. The records of Drogheda Corporation contain the details of the numerous murage grants of Drogheda, land survey and property title documents, all of which refer, in part, to the defences of the town.[52] Cromwell’s letters regarding the siege of the town in 1649 also provide historians with information about Drogheda’s fortifications.[51]

View of Drogheda View of Drogheda from Millmount View of Drogheda

William Van Der Hagen, Drogheda, 1718.jpg

View of Drogheda from Millmount, by Gabriele Ricciardelli c.1753.jpg

Gabriele Ricciardelli View of Drogheda from Ballsgrove c 1750 -1755.jpg

Willem Van der Hagen, 1718 Gabrielle Ricciardelli c. 1753 Gabrielle Ricciardelli c. 1753

Ulster chiefs submission to the English Crown at Drogheda[edit]

On the 10th of March, 1395, four Irish kings, O'Neill, O'Hanlon, O'Donnell, and Mac Mahon, with several other petty chieftains of Ulster, made their personal submission to England’s Richard II in the hall of the Magdalene Monastery in Drogheda, the manner of which is thus related by Sir James Ware, in his Antiquities of Ireland. "Every one of them, before the words of submission, laid aside his cap, belt, and skeyne, and kneeling down before the king, put both his hands joined between the king's hands, and repeated the words of fealty and submission in the Latin language. These kings, after this ceremony, were committed to the care of Henry Carlile, an Englishman, who understanding the Irish language, was commanded to instruct them in the English customs, particularly in that of receiving the order of knighthood, who so wrought on them that he prevailed on them to accept it, although they alleged they had received it from their fathers at the age of seven years. These kings being more fully instructed by the Earl of Ormond, by the king's command, were habited according to their dignity, and having performed their vigils, and heard a mass, were solemnly made knights by the king's own hand, in the Cathedral Church of Dublin."[53]

Thomas FitzGerald, "Thomas of Drogheda", 7th Earl of Desmond[edit]

Thomas FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Desmond, Lord Chancellor of Ireland also conventionally called "Thomas of Drogheda", attempted to found a university at Drogheda during the mid 15th Century (the first in Ireland - Trinity College, Dublin, was founded in 1592) although the University never materialised, being before its time.


On Valentine's Day 1468, the Earl of Desmond attended a Parliament held in Drogheda. In a spill-over from the War of the Roses, on orders of the John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Desmond was extracted from Parliament at the Dominican friary and along with his two youngest sons (still children) were executed at Gallows Lane outside the northern wall of the town. The Earl of Desmond was accused by his political enemies of treason, for aiding the Irish against the King's subjects, as well as extortion. His execution profoundly shocking the whole of Ireland. King Edward IV learned the execution of his former friend with initial displeasure. Desmond had been replaced by the said, Sir John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, as king’s lieutenant.[55] Desmond was buried at St. Peter's Church, then afterwards removed to Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. It later came to light[56] that the Queen herself was implicated in the orders given to execute Desmond and his sons.

The Statutes of Drogheda "Poynings' Law "[edit]

Main article: Poynings' Law

Drogheda was arguably the most important walled town in the English Pale during the medieval period. It frequently hosted meetings of the Irish Parliament at various times over the years 1441 – 1493. Sir Edward Poynings, in his position as Lord Deputy of Ireland, as appointed by King Henry VII of England, called together an assembly of the parliament at Drogheda in 1491. Coming in the aftermath of the divisive Wars of the Roses, Poynings' intention was to make Ireland once again obedient to the English monarchy. Assembling the Parliament on 1 December 1494, 'The Statutes of Drogheda' or more informally known as (Poynings' Law) was passed which subordinated the Irish Parliament's legislative powers to the King and his English Council and declared that the Parliament of Ireland was thereafter to be placed under the authority of the Parliament of England. This marked the beginning of direct Tudor rule in Ireland, although Henry VII was still forced to rely on Old English nobles such as the Earl of Kildare (despite his support for Lambert Simnel) as his deputies in Ireland through the intervening years.

Poynings' Law was a major rallying point for groups seeking self-government for Ireland, particularly the Confederate Catholics in the 1640s. It was also a major grievance for Henry Grattan's Patriot Party in the late 18th century, who consistently sought a repeal of Poynings' Law. The Act remained in place until the Constitution of 1782 gave the Irish parliament legislative independence. Poynings' Act 1495 was repealed by the Oireachtas by the Statute Law Revision Act 2007 on foot of a ministerial amendment during the Bill's passage.[57] The Act remains in force in the UK.

Sieges of Drogheda[edit]

Drogheda was besieged twice during the Irish Confederate Wars.[58]

The Siege of Drogheda 1641[edit]

During the Irish Rebellion of 1641, a Catholic force under Phelim O'Neill laid siege to Drogheda. The rebels tried three assaults on the town. On the first occasion they simply tried to rush the walls. In their second attempt, a small party of 500 men broke into the town at night through dilapidated sections of the walls, with the aim of opening the gates for a storming party of 700 men outside. However, the initial incursion was repulsed in confused fighting and in the morning, the garrison opened the gates to rebels outside, only to take them prisoner once they entered the town. The rebels tried for a final time in March 1642, when a relief of the town was imminent, attacking the walls with scaling ladders, but were again repulsed. Shortly afterwards, the rebel siege was broken by English reinforcements from Dublin, under Colonel Moore. Colonel Moore was later credited Henry Moore, 3rd Viscount Moore which was created under the Peerage of Ireland in 1661.

On the 11th January 1642 during the Siege of Drogheda (1641) a pinnace, a frigate, a gabbard with two shallops and another vessel laden with biscuit, powder and ammunition arrived at the mouth of the River Boyne for the relief of the town. The entrance of the harbour was very narrow and at its mouth was a bar of sand, unpassable at low water. To close up the navigation completely O'Neill's forces sunk a ship in the channel but a strong west wind had a short time previously carried her out to sea. The besiegers had also stationed two vessels on each side and fixed an iron chain with a cable between them across the channel but the pinnace and shallops that brought the supplies overcame all the obstacles, passed the bar even at low tide and skimming over the chain arrived safely at the quay within the town walls.[59]

Cromwell's Siege of Drogheda[edit]

Main article: Siege of Drogheda
Cromwell's Forces commence their bombardment of Drogheda, 1649.

The second and more widely known Siege of Drogheda took place on 3–11 September 1649 at the outset of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. The town of Drogheda was held by the Confederate Ireland and Royalist when it was besieged and stormed by English Parliamentarian forces under Oliver Cromwell.

Oliver Cromwell arrived at Drogheda on 3 September and his siege guns, brought up by sea, arrived two days later. His total force was about 12,000 men and eleven heavy, 48-pounder, siege artillery pieces. On Monday 10 September Cromwell had a letter delivered to the governor, the English Royalist Sir Arthur Aston, which read:


A 19th century representation of the Massacre at Drogheda, 1649.

Arthur Aston, the Royalist commander in Drogheda, refused to surrender and at 5PM on 11 September, Cromwell ordered simultaneous assaults on the southern and eastern breaches in the walls of Drogheda. The volume of Parliamentarian forces streaming into the breaches, the Royalist resistance at the walls collapsed. The surviving defenders tried to flee across the River Boyne into the northern part of the town, while Arthur Aston and 250 others took refuge in Millmount Fort overlooking Drogheda's southern defenses. A drawbridge crossed the River Boyne that would have stopped the attackers reaching the northern part of the town, but the defenders had no time to pull it up behind them and the killing continued in the northern part of Drogheda. With up to 6,000 Parliamentary troops now inside the town, Drogheda had been taken.

Cromwell listed the dead as including "many inhabitants" of Drogheda in his report to Parliament. In his own words after the siege of Drogheda,


Hugh Peter, an officer on Cromwell's council of war, gave the total loss of life as 3,552, of whom about 2,800 were soldiers, meaning that between 700–800 civilians were killed.[62] The week after the storming of Drogheda, the Royalist press in England claimed that 2,000 of the 3,000 dead were civilians-a theme that was taken up both in English Royalist and in Irish Catholic accounts. Irish clerical sources in the 1660s claimed that 4,000 civilians had died at Drogheda, denouncing the sack as,

Battle of the Boyne[edit]

Main article: Battle of the Boyne
Battle of the Boyne by Jan Wyck c. 1693. Wyck accompanied Maas, who had received a commission from King William to paint the Battle of the Boyne

The Battle of the Boyne was fought in on 1 July 1690 between two rival claimants of the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones, the Catholic James VII & II and the Protestant William III and II across the River Boyne some 6 km (3.7 mi) west of the town of Drogheda. The battle, won by William, was a turning point in James's unsuccessful attempt to regain the crown and ultimately helped ensure the continuation of Protestant ascendancy in Ireland.

Drogheda and the Battle of the Boyne[edit]

The day after the battle, King William sent Brigadier La Melloniere, with 1000 horse, a party of foot, and eight pieces of artillery, to summon Drogheda, which held for James II and was defended by a garrison of 1300 men under Lord Iveagh, who, after a parley, accepted terms of capitulation,[53] and marched out with their baggage, leaving behind them their arms, stores, and ammunition; and Colonel Cutts regiment immediately took possession of the town and preserved it from violence. Although Drogheda surrendered there had been a programme between 1689 and 1690 of strengthening and rebuilding Drogheda's town walls in anticipation of a siege during the war between the Williamites and Jacobites. However the third siege of Drogheda never eventuated.[7]

Mace, Sword and Scabbard of State[edit]

King William (III) of Orange, presented the then Corporation of Drogheda with a mace and sword of state shortly after his victory at the Battle of the Boyne, to replace the previous mace, which James II of England had melted down to enhance his depleted exchequer. They are two very fine objects, some of the most impressive of their sort in Ireland. The mace is one of the biggest in Ireland and also one of the finest. It is solid silver, weighs 108 ounces, and is five foot five inches long, mounted on the original wooden pole. It is constructed in eight parts which are laced onto a central shaft and secured at the base by a nut. It is decorated in repoussé and chasing on the shaft, with floral and foliate motifs. Around the head are a crowned rose, thistle, fleur-de-lis and harp, each of them between the letters WR and within the laurel wreaths linked by foliate female busts. Above, on the cap, is the royal arms of William III. The words Honi soit qui mal y pense meaning ‘shame on him who thinketh evil’, the motto of the English chivalrous Order of the Garter, are also engraved on the head. The sword is 3 foot 6 inches long, and the scabbard bears a decoration with the letters CR, meaning Carolus Rex, or King Charles I, suggesting that even if the sword was presented by William, the scabbard may have been reused from an earlier sword from the reign of Charles I. The Mace, sword and Scabbard are precious heirlooms of Drogheda, a reminder of the towns past, they are on show in The Highlanes Gallery and are one of the towns biggest tourist attractions.[64]

Drogheda Harbour Commissioners[edit]

Drogheda's harbour c.1860.

In 1790 Drogheda Harbour Commissioners was established, later renamed Drogheda Port Company. "The port of Drogheda carries on a very extensive trade chiefly with Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and also a very considerable cross-channel trade; the principal exports are corn, flour, oatmeal, cattle, butter, and linen cloth; and the chief imports are timber, slates, coal, rock-salt, iron, bark, herrings, and dried fish, with manufactured goods of all kinds."

According to the returns for the year ending Jan. 5th, 1835, there were shipped from this port, 126,380 loads of meal, 42,500 bushels of wheat, 3000 barrels of peas, 37,000 sacks of flour, 2500 barrels of barley, 22,000 barrels of oats, 13,000 crates of eggs, 600 firkins of butter, 4100 cows, 12,000 sheep, 39,000 pigs, and 500 barrels of ale. The number of vessels in the foreign trade that entered inwards, during that year, was 14 British and 3 foreign, and two British vessels cleared outwards. In the trade with Great Britain and across the channel, 494 ships, including steam-vessels, entered inwards, and 462 cleared outwards; and in the trade with various ports in Ireland, 42 vessels entered inwards and 23 cleared outwards. The gross amount of the customs' duties, during the year 1835, was £9476. 19. 3., and for 1836, £13,382. 13. 2.; that of the excise duties collected in the district, in 1835, was £75,007. 19. 3."[65]

Drogheda Steam Packet Company[edit]

In 1825 the Drogheda Steam Packet Company was formed in the town, providing shipping services to Liverpool. "The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port is 40, of an aggregate burden of 3763 tons. A considerable trade is carried on with Liverpool, between which place, Glasgow, and this port, five steam-packets, of about 350 tons each, are constantly plying. The harbour, for the improvement of which the Commissioners of Public Works have granted £10,000, has been rendered much more commodious, and is in a state of progressive improvement; a breakwater is about to be formed and a lighthouse erected. The river has been deepened four feet by a steam dredging vessel, calculated to raise 1000 tons hourly; it is navigable to the bridge for vessels of 200 tons', and above it for lighters of 70 tons', burden. A patent slip is also in progress of construction, and a large iron-foundry for steam machinery has been erected. The value of these improvements may be correctly estimated from the fact that, within the last seven years, the trade of the port has been more than doubled. The inland trade is also greatly facilitated by the Boyne navigation to Navan, which it is intended to extend to Lough Erne."[65]

Drogheda During the Famine[edit]

During the Famine years, Drogheda was the second largest port of departure for over one million people who were forced to emigrate. Some travelled only as far as Britain while others became known as ‘two boaters’ – travelling onwards from Britain to North America. In 1847 alone, some 70,000 people left Ireland through Drogheda Port, mainly bound for Liverpool on steam ships. In that year, at the height of the Famine the fare to Liverpool rose from 2 shillings to 5 shillings, leaving many people stranded in Drogheda.[66]

Ottoman aid to Drogheda during the Famine[edit]

In the year 1847 during the height of Great Famine , Abdülmecid I Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (predecessor to the Republic of Turkey) sent three vessels laden with foodstuffs and financial aid to Drogheda

Both the Drogheda Argus and the Drogheda Conservative newspapers reported on 'foreign ships' that docked at the town of Drogheda from 10–14 May 1847. According to the Drogheda Independent, two of the ships arrived from the Ottoman Port of Thessalonica, which is now known as Salonika. The third ship arrived from the Prussian port of Stettin. The three ships brought wheat and Indian Corn for local merchants in the area. Sulatan Abdülmecid's generosity to the Irish people was reported in the in the London Times on Saturday, 17 April 1847, as well as in The Nation newspaper in Ireland. A letter found in Ottoman archives, written from the principle dignitaries of Ireland, explicitly thanks Abdülmecid I for his help during the famine.

A plaque in Drogheda unveiled in 1995 by Drogheda Mayor Alderman Godfrey and the then Turkish Ambassador to Ireland, Taner Baytok reads,[67] A film is being shot regarding the subject.[68]

The Boyne Viaduct[edit]

The Boyne Viaduct is a 30 m (98 ft) high railway bridge, or viaduct, that crosses the River Boyne in Drogheda, carrying the main DublinBelfast railway line. It was the seventh bridge of its kind in the world when built and considered one of the wonders of the age. The viaduct was designed by the Irish civil engineer Sir John MacNeill; construction began on the bridge in 1853 and was completed in 1855.

Prior to its construction railway passengers had to make their way through the town of Drogheda from the stations on either side of the River Boyne until the construction of a temporary wooden bridge, which allowed trains to cross the river from May 1853 until the completion of the viaduct.[69]

The viaduct comprises twelve stone arches on south side, and a further three on the north. Located near a tight curve, which necessitates the slowing of trains as they approach, the central pratt truss bridge was originally made of three iron spans that were wide enough to carry two tracks. When the bridge was refurbished in the 1930s, new steel girders replacing the ironworks were constructed inside the original bridge before the iron structure was removed. This allowed trains to continue running throughout the renewal process, however the new bridge was no longer wide enough to carry two tracks. The northbound and southbound tracks were interlaced so that one rail lay between the tracks in the opposite direction, as points and a single track would have required a signal cabin on the north side of the viaduct. When the tracks were relaid in the 1990s, the interlaced tracks were replaced with a single track over the viaduct and points at each side.

During World War II, the viaduct was identified by the British as being of great strategic importance as part of the British plans for a counter-attack following a German invasion of Ireland.

2005 marked the 150th anniversary of the viaduct and Iarnród Éireann and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland ran a special service operated by a steam locomotive between Drogheda railway station and Dundalk.

Saint Oliver Plunkett[edit]

Main article: Saint Oliver Plunkett
Shrine to Saint Oliver Plunkett in St. Peter's Church in the centre of Drogheda.

Saint Oliver Plunkett (1 November 1625 - 1 July 1681) was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. He maintained his duties in Ireland in the face of English persecution and was eventually arrested and tried for treason in London. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn on 1 July 1681, and became the last Roman Catholic martyr to die in England. Oliver Plunkett was beatified in 1920 and canonised in 1975, the first new Irish saint for almost seven hundred years.

Saint Oliver Plunkett and Drogheda[edit]

Saint Oliver Plunkett had a huge connection with the City of Drogheda, known for generations as the 'City of the Churches' it was the largest and most important centre of St. Oliver's Archdiocese of Armagh. Protected by its extensive wall the town played a significant role in the trade and commerce of the period.

Archbishop Oliver wrote of the very fine, ornate chapels in Drogheda of the orders of Capuchins, Franciscans and Jesuits and of a poorer chapel of the Augustinian community. The pallium was granted him in the Consistory of 28 July 1670 and he was able to establish a Jesuit College in Drogheda in 1670. A year later 150 students attended the college, no fewer than 40 of whom were Protestant, making this college the first integrated school in Ireland. Saint Oliver Plunkett had such a huge connection and personal fondness of Drogheda that was only fitting that in 1921 the preserved severed head of the saint was put on display in St. Peter's Church in the centre of Drogheda where it remains today.

Drogheda during the Irish Civil War[edit]

Irish Free State Forces after the shelling of Millmount, 1922.

In 1922, during the Irish Civil War, Millmount Fort was occupied by Anti-Treaty forces and on July 4, 1922, it became the target of shelling by the army of the Irish Free State. The Free State Forces under Michael Collins had been given extensive support by the British Army at the express wish of Winston Churchill who insisted that the Republican Forces be crushed. Using the same British Army 18 pounder artillery piece which had shelled the Republican H.Q. in the Four Courts in Dublin some days earlier the Free State Forces bombarded Millmount Fort for several hours before the Republican garrison retreated.

Pope John Paul II at Drogheda[edit]

On September 29th 1979 Pope John Paul II visited Killineer, Drogheda where he spoke to a crowd of over 300,000 pledging the people of Ireland particularly those involved in the troubles to turn to peace.[71]

Historical Landmarks[edit]

Cells left-aligned, table centered Historical landmarks
Year Name Image
1206 Hospital of St. Mary d’Urso (Old Abbey)[72] Drogheda StMary'sFriary.JPG
1224 The Magdalene Tower, Dominican Friary[73] Drogheda StMaryMagdaleneFriary.JPG
1234c Saint Laurence Gate Drogheda - St. Laurences Gate (5638818100).jpg
1234c Buttergate
1734 Barlow House[74][75] Barlow House, West Street, Drogheda- 2014-07-08 14-51.jpg
1734[76] Ballsgrove House
1740* Clarke House & Singleton House (Reconstruction) Clarke House, St. Laurence Street, Drogheda - geograph.org.uk - 1282866.jpg
1740 St. Peter's Place (The Alley's)[77]
1752 St. Peter's Church of Ireland [78] St- Peter's Church of Ireland, Drogheda- 2014-07-17 11-42.jpg
1755 St. Peter's Rectory
1765 Mayoralty House[79]
1770[80] Tholsel[81]
1796[82] Corn Exchange (Borough District offices)
1796 Siena Convent
1807 St. Mary's Church of Ireland (Former)[83] St. Mary's Church of Ireland, Drogheda - geograph.org.uk - 594471.jpg
1807 St. Mary's Sunday School Entrance to St. Mary's churchyard, Drogheda - geograph.org.uk - 594480.jpg
1808 Governors House, Millmount Millmount, Drogheda - geograph.org.uk - 539717.jpg
1808 Millmount Martello Tower Cannon fire at Millmount, Drogheda - geograph.org.uk - 1079077.jpg
1811 Wesleyan Methodist Church (Former)
1816 St. John's Home, Peter's Hill[84]
1818 Former Gaol
1820 Donaghy's Mill
1827 Presbyterian Church[85]
1829 Franciscan Church (Currently The Highlanes Gallery)[86]
1830 West Gate Mill (Donaghys Mill)[87]
1830 Merchant's Quay[88]
1840 Ballsgrove Gate
1852 Drogheda Railway Station (McBride Station)[89] Drogheda railway station exterior.jpg
1865 Whitworth Hall[90]
1866 Augustinian Friary[91]
1867 St. Laurence Lodge, Scholars Townhouse. (Former Christian Brothers School)
1867 St. Peter's Glebe House[92]
1874 Cord Church and Burial Ground[93]
1875 Former Convent of Mercy[94]
1876 Bank of Ireland, Laurence Street[95]
1878 St. Mary Magdalene's Dominican Church[96]
1880 St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church[97] Drogheda - St. Peter's Church.jpg
1890 Clarks Bar
1892 St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church[98]
1905 Former Carnegie Library[99]

Town Motto, Coat of Arms and Emblem[edit]

Historical depiction of Drogheda's coat of arms
Drogheda's coat of arms


The commerce and trade of Drogheda, and its premier importance, is exemplified in the town's motto Deus praesidium, mercatura decus translates as "God our strength, merchandise our glory".[100]

Coat of Arms[edit]

The Drogheda coat of arms mounted on a blue shield, shows a crenelled St. Laurence's Gate, with battlements and loopholes, of two towers, surmounted by red pennants, tapering flags, with a lowered portcullis at the gate’s entrance gate signifying the security of the walled town.

On the right side of the gate, a ship appears to sail, Historically having St George’s white ensign displayed on the stern. This represents the trade which the town supported from earliest times. To the left of the gate is three lions which are taken from the Royal Arms of England which are traced to King Richard I of England's Great Seal of the Realm.

The Crest, on the wreath on top of the Arms is the unusual one of the Star and Crescent , was taken from the coat of arms of Richard The Lionheart who presented Drogheda with its first charter in 1194AD. The star is an eight pointed star between the two ends of a crescent moon.[101]

Star and Crescent emblem[edit]

The star and crescent symbol was originally used as the flag of Constantinople. According to legend in 339 BC the city of Byzantium won a decisive battle under a brilliant waxing moon which they attributed to their patron Goddess Artemis whose symbol was the crescent moon. In honor of Artemis the citizens adopted the crescent moon as their symbol. When the city became the Christian Roman Constantinople in 330 AD, Constantine also added the Virgin Marys star on the flag.

Arms of Isaac Komenos of Cyprus

Isaac Komnenus was the last ruler of Cyprus before the Frankish conquest during the Third Crusade. He was a minor member of the Komnenus family, a great nephew of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1143-1180) and a grandson of the Sebastocrator Isaac. The coat of arms used by Komnenus was a crescent moon and an eight pointed star on an azure background, adopted in relation with his family links to the Byzantine emperor. Emperor Manuel I Komnenos made Isaac governor of Isauria and the town of Tarsus (in present-day eastern Turkey), where he started a war with the Armenians and was imprisoned by them. When Isaac was released in 1185, he hired a troop of mercenaries and sailed to Cyprus. He presented falsified imperial letters that ordered the local administration to obey him in everything and established himself as ruler of the island.

In 1191, Berengaria of Navarre the fiancée of the English King Richard the Lionheart, and also his sister Joan of England, Queen of Sicily, were traveling together when shipwrecked on Cyprus and then taken captive by Isaac. In retaliation Richard conquered the island while on his way to Tyre. Isaac was taken prisoner near Cape St. Andreas on the Karpass Peninsula, the northernmost tip of the island. According to tradition, Richard had promised Isaac not to put him into irons, so he kept him prisoner in chains of silver. At this time Richard adopted the star and crescent symbol, which Issac Komnenus had been using, as his own.[102]

In 1194 it was Richard, who granted the Town's of Drogheda and Portsmouth their first charters. It is believed that the Town's adapted the symbol to use as their coat of arms in tribute to King Richard, for his patronage in granting Town status.


Louth Dáil Éireann constituency[edit]

For elections to Dáil Éireann, Drogheda is represented by the five member Louth constituency which takes in the entire county of Louth and two electoral divisions in County Meath.

The Electoral (Amendment) Act 2009 merged the electoral divisions of St.Mary's (Part) and Julianstown (collectively know as East Meath) in County Meath with County Louth to form one Dáil Éireann constituency. The Report on Dáil and European Parliament Constituencies 2007 outlined "by extending the constituency southwards from, and in the environs of, Drogheda and taking in electoral divisions which have extensive linkages with the town. This will allow the inclusion of the town of Drogheda and hinterland areas in a single constituency."[103] This merger allowed the areas of the Greater Drogheda area in County Meath[4] and their combined population of 20,375 to be merged with Drogheda and County Louth. 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).

Louth and Meath County Councils[edit]

The majority of Drogheda is under the jurisdiction of Louth County Council. Under the Local Government Reform Act 2014, County Louth is subdivided into municipal districts for which Drogheda is part of the Drogheda Borough District.

The southern environs of Drogheda which are located in County Meath have a population of approximately 5,000 people.[104][105] This portion of the total population of Drogheda lies within the jurisdiction of Meath County Council which is subdivided into the Municipal District of Laytown-Bettystown.

Drogheda Borough District[edit]

Drogheda Borough District (Irish: Ceantar Buirge Droichead Átha)is a second-level local government area in Ireland which came into being on 1 June 2014, ten days after the local elections.[106][107]

The district is associated with the borough of Drogheda which has been in existence since 1412AD and is termed 'Drogheda Borough District' respectively. The 'Drogheda Local Electoral Area' is an electoral area for local government purposes. The Drogheda Borough District corresponds to The Drogheda LEA.

Under the Local Government Reform Act 2014, the Local Electoral Area of Drogheda returns ten Councillors. Those elected in the LEA serves on Louth County Council, and simultaneously on the Borough District executive. The Borough District executive is headed by a Mayor. The current mayor is Kevin Callan (Fine Gael).[108]

Drogheda Borough District members from the 2014 local elections
Local electoral area Name Party
Drogheda Imelda Munster Sinn Féin
Paul Bell Labour
Alan Cassidy Sinn Féin
Tommy Byrne Fianna Fáil
Kevin Callan Fine Gael
Oliver Tully Fine Gael
Frank Godfrey Independent
Richie Culhane Fine Gael
Pio Smith Labour
Kenneth Flood Sinn Féin

Transport Infrastructure[edit]


The Drogheda bypass section of M1 approaching the Boyne Cable bridge.

The Drogheda Bypass is located 3 km west of the town and forms part of the M1 motorway(E1 Euro Route 1) (main DublinBelfast motorway). The Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge know locally as the Boyne Cable Bridge carries traffic from the M1, across the River Boyne. It was opened on 9 June 2003 and is the second longest cable stayed bridge in Ireland.

The Belfast - Dublin Enterprise pulling into Drogheda station.


Drogheda railway station opened on 25 May 1844 which has since provided rail links to Dublin. Drogheda acquired further rail links to 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 Station.[109]


Drogheda's bus station is located on the Donore Road and a comprises waiting area, information office and toilets. It replaces an earlier facility on the Bull Ring.

As well as a town service, route 173, several local routes radiate from Drogheda and a number of these have had their frequency increased in recent years. Local routes include: 100 (Newry/Dundalk via Dunleer), 100X (Dundalk-Dublin Airport-Dublin), 101 (Julianstown-Balbriggan-Dublin), 163 (Brú na Bóinne via Donore), 182/A (Monaghan via Ardee and Tullyallen), 189/A (Ashbourne via Duleek and Clogherhead/Grangebellew via Baltray & Termonfeckin), 190/A (Laytown via Mornington & Bettystown and Trim/Athboy via Slane & Navan).[110]

On Friday and Saturday nights there is also a Night bus service, route 101N operated by Bus Éireann (Dublin-Dublin Airport-Balbriggan-Drogheda) and return.

Matthews Coaches operate a Drogheda to Dublin route and an East Meath to Dublin route which both serve different areas of the town.[111]

Past Bus Éireann routes included the 184 to Garristown and 185 to Bellewstown but have since been discontinued.


The coaster "Pelikan" moving downstream in the River Boyne, Drogheda, after discharging a part cargo at the quays..

The management of the port began a new era in 1997 when The Drogheda Harbour Commissioners was established in 1790 were dissolved after over 200 years and the port became a new commercial semi-state company, Drogheda Port Company.

Drogheda Port Company is a highly successful commercial state port which handles over 1 million tonnes of cargo annually in addition to over 700 vessel calls. The Port has a wide product base and a balance of trade at approximately 75% import and 25% export. A new deepwater terminal has been constructed at Tom Roes Point which will be capable of handling larger vessels than the inner port was capable of. Vessels carrying up to 5,000 tonnes of cargo and up to 120 metres in length will use the new facility. New short sea shipping routes have developed from the terminal particularly in unitised trade. As ships have been getting larger there has been a slow progression for the port seaward. Up to the 1800s ships were unloaded as far up the river as St Mary’s bridge. The main working quays gradually moved to the Ballast, Welshmans and Steampacket quays and now new berths are operating at Tom Roes Point Terminal.

Drogheda Port has always been an integral part of the town economy and played a major role in its outward looking nature. The industrial base of the town was established through the port and it will continue to be a vital element in the town’s future growth.[112]


Drogheda is severed by Dublin International Airport which is located approximately 40 km or 25 minutes travelling time away.


The Boyne Viaduct
The De Lacy bridge.
The Boyne Cable Bridge is part of the Drogheda bypass and carries M1 traffic across the Boyne.
View of the Obelisk Bridge c.1890 - 1900

Defined by its location as the last crossing point on the Boyne before it reaches the sea, Drogheda has eight bridges in its vicinity. From east to west they include,

Boyne Viaduct[edit]

Main article: Boyne Viaduct

The Boyne Viaduct is a 30 m (98 ft) high railway bridge wwith a 250 feet span.[113] that crosses the River Boyne in Drogheda, carrying the main Dublin–Belfast railway line. Designed by the Irish civil engineer Sir John MacNeill. Completed in 1855, it was the seventh bridge of its kind in the world and considered one of the wonders of the age. Prior to its construction railway passengers had to make their way through the town, from the stations on either side of the river.

During World War II, the viaduct was identified by the British as being of great strategic importance as part of the British plans for a counter-attack following a German invasion of Ireland, for which the British 1st Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment was to be moved into the State to defend the Drogheda viaduct under the joint military operation between Ireland and the United Kingdom.

De Lacy bridge[edit]

The De Lacy Bridge is the newest and one of two pedestrian bridges in Drogheda. It is part of Scotch Hall phase one. It was named after Hugh De Lacy who founded the town in 1194AD.

St. Mary's Bridge[edit]

St. Mary's Bridge is the main bridge to the centre of Drogheda, sitting just to the north of the Bullring. It was, for hundreds of years, the site of the 'only' bridge at Drogheda. It is at the meeting of the two major south side roads the N51 and the Marsh Road.

Haymarket Bridge[edit]

The Haymarket bridge serves as an access point to the town centre from the Donore Road, one of the main thoroughfares in the town carrying traffic from junction 9 of the M1 into the centre of Drogheda. It is flanked on the south side by two developments, the Waterfront development which contains a McDonald's restaurant, a petrol station and a 24 hour shop, and the Haymarket development containing an Xtra-vision store and a health center. On the north side the bridge is flanked by the Haymarket car park and an apartment block.

Saint Dominic's Bridge[edit]

The oldest bridge crossing the Boyne River within the town of Drogheda or indeed its vicinity; erected in the year 1863 by the great Thomas Grendon’s Foundry of Drogheda. The bridge, formerly called the Western Bridge, is constructed of iron with limestone piers and buttresses at either end; the engineer of the works was a Mr. John Neville. The bridge is now used by pedestrians only and is located 200 metres west of the Drogheda Bus Depot. It was renamed Dominic’s Bridge after the erection of St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, which was completed in 1878.

Bridge of Peace[edit]

The Bridge of Peace is a dual carriage bridge in Drogheda. It was built as a part of an inner by-pass of the town in the 1970s for which much of the historic south side of Drogheda was demolished. It carries the R132 through the town. The bridge is famous for the graffiti on its undersides. The words longest graffiti festival called "The Bridge Jam" takes place there every summer.

Boyne Cable Bridge[edit]

Main article: Boyne River Bridge

The Boyne River Bridge is Ireland’s longest cable-stayed bridge, located 3.1 kilometres west of Drogheda.

Obelisk Bridge[edit]

The Obelisk Bridge is of lattice iron, built by Grendon’s Foundry in Drogheda and placed in position in 1869. It superseded a wooden bridge which was built at the ford sometime after the Battle of the Boyne. Just north of this bridge is an ivy covered rock about 30 feet high from the water’s edge, on which an obelisk was raised in 1736, which gives the place its name.[114]


Scotch Hall Shopping Centre

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 Shopping Centre[115]
  • Laurence Town Centre[116]
  • Drogheda Town Shopping Centre[117]
  • Abbey shopping Centre
  • 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.

  • M1 Drogheda Retail Park, Waterunder, Drogheda, County Louth.[118]
  • Drogheda Retail Park, Donore Road, Drogheda, County Meath.



The local newspapers for Drogheda and district are,

Drogheda Independent[edit]

Main article: Drogheda Independent

The Drogheda Independent has been in print since 1884 and serves the people Drogheda, East Meath and mid-Louth. The headquarters of The Drogheda Independent is located on Shop Street.

Drogheda Leader[edit]

Drogheda Leader.
Main article: The Drogheda Leader

The Drogheda Leader,[119] has been in print since 1995 and is free of charge, it serves the people of Drogheda, East Meath and Mid-Louth with 70,000 readers each week. There is an online edition of the paper. The papers headquarters are on Laurence Street in Drogheda.


Main article: LMFM

The local radio station is LMFM, broadcasting on 95.8 FM. The headquarters of LMFM are on Marley's Lane on the south side of Drogheda.[120]


DroghedaLife is an On Line news and advertising service for Drogheda.[121]



Main article: Drogheda United
Drogheda United Crest

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. Drogheda United's home ground is United Park.


Local team Boyne RFC was formed in 1997 from the amalgamation of Delvin RFC and Drogheda RFC. As of 2010, 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.


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[edit]

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.

Scuba Diving[edit]

The Drogheda Sub Aqua Club is a local non-profit scuba diving club founded in 1974 and affiliated with Comhairle Fó-Thuinn (CFT) and Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS).


The "Drogheda Bullets" are a basketball team based in the town.[122]


Drogheda Wheelers was founded in 1985 when membership in two existing clubs St. Mary's and Na Boinne were getting small, so an amalgamation was the natural route to go. Drogheda Wheelers [mark 1] had been in existence in the forties and fifties but ceased to exist round about the late fifties. So with this amalgamation Drogheda Wheelers [mark 2] was born. The club has gone on to enjoy success at various levels since and on the promotion front is one of the hardest working clubs in the country.[123]

Drogheda Lightening Crest


the Nearest Tennis club to Drogheda is the Laytown & Bettystown Lawn Tennis Club which is located on the Golf Links Road just outside Bettystown, in East Meath. Originally part of Laytown & Bettystown Golf Club the club was established over 100 years ago. All standards of tennis are played in the club and each year teams participate in the Dublin Lawn Tennis Association league matches. The club has a very good record of success in these leagues, amongst others. [124]

American Football[edit]

Drogheda Lightning is an Irish American Football team based in Drogheda. They play in the second tier of Ireland's American football league system. Founded in 2010, Drogheda Lightning competed in the IAFL DV8s Division (now defunct) in 2011 and 2012. Following the restructuring of the Irish American Football League structure ahead of the 2013 season, they now compete in the newly created IAFL-1 Division created in 2013.[125]


The Invercopla Rowing Club

Local economy[edit]

The local economy of Drogheda has evolved over the centuries and in recent decades many of the older industries have declined or disappeared and new industries have emerged. The town is home many indigenous industries as well as several American multinationals including Coca Cola International financial Services, International Fund Services, Becton Dickenson, and Yapstone Inc.

Major Industry employers

  • Drogheda Port Company, the oldest indigenous employer since 1790
  • 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.
  • Becton Dickinson (BD), a manufacturer of medical syringes and associated equipment

Major Financial Services Employers

  • International Fund Services
  • Coca Cola International Finance
  • Yapstone Inc

Major Service Employers

  • Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital. The North East's regions main hospital with 700 staff.
  • Local Hotels; d Hotel, Boyne Valley Hotel, Westcourt Hotel, Scholars Hotel, City North Hotel.
  • Drogheda Port
  • Anglo Print

Infrastructure and Service

  • The Towns Business Parks are on the main Dublin to Belfast M1 motorway and 20 minutes from Dublin Airport.
  • 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 Mill Enterprise Hub
  • The town has high speed 100mb fibre broadband throughout the town since 2013.


Drogheda on the Boyne



North side of Drogheda at night

Irish Maritime Festival is held annually in Drogheda during the month of June. A feast of maritime fun including full-scale pirate ships battling on the River Boyne, a coastal rowing race, show-stopping watersports, a Boyne swim, a Maritime Pavilion plus a host of cultural and family entertainment was accompanied by the arrival of five beautifully restored schooners to Drogheda port. Complete with fun fairs’ boat and canoe trips on the river, stunning water-sport displays, the real food village, boat-building workshops, a stand-up paddle boarding race, an urban beach, art and photography zones and a maritime history pavilion[126]

The Drogheda Arts Festival is a 6 day festival of theatre, music, spectacle, visual arts, dance, puppetry, comedy, literature and street performances. It is a multi – disciplinary programme of both national and international acts including artists from all around the world.The Festival takes place over the May Bank Holiday in Drogheda.[127]

The Drogheda Samba Festival began in 1994 as part of the Drogheda 800 celebrations and proved such a hit that it became an annual event. It has become the get-together for Irish samba groups who are joined by others from abroad for a 3-day party of Samba, Latin and African music and dance. There are pub and street gigs, workshops and concerts. Highlights are the 5-hour non stop samba session in the main street and the carnival parade and there is also a special Samba Mass. Bands from as far as Singapore and São Paulo and famous percussionists such as Dudu Tucci and Mestre Esteve have played and conducted workshops at the festival. The festival is run by a completely voluntary committee and is operated on a relatively small budget. Community bands are offered bed and breakfast in exchange for performances during the festival and usually pay their own transport costs.[128]

The Oldbridge County Fair is an annual fair that takes place during the May Bank Holiday weekend at the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre at Oldbridge.

Bridge Jam is the premiere event in Ireland’s graffiti Calender. The Bridge events began in the summer of 1994 with a small gathering of 6 visiting writers from the UK who painted together with their Irish counterparts to produce the first of many murals on the now famous Bridge of Peace site. The event has now been running solidly every summer for each of the following years.[129]

Theatre and performing arts[edit]

Drogheda is home to a number of theatres and performing art societies and companies which include,

The TLT is a purpose built, state of the art 900 seater theatre. Located in Drogheda, we stage a variety of performing arts and commercial events. We also have a school of music and rehearsal rooms to nurture the talents of our local upcoming artists.[130]

The Barbican Centre caters for small to medium scale shows, dance classes, meetings, rehearsals, workshops, business seminars, training days and conferences.[131]

The Droichead Arts Centre was originally founded in 1989 and has bases in the Municipal Centre on Stockwell Street and Barlow House on West Street which established itself as significant venue for theatre, live music, visual arts and community arts in Drogheda and the entire North East.[132]

The Calipo Theatre Company specialises in multi-media productions and has achieved considerable success in Ireland and abroad. It founded in 1994 in Drogheda by Darren and Colin Thornton, former members of Droichead Youth Theatre.[133]

The Droichead Youth Theatre Upstate Theatre Project is a performing arts organisation located in Drogheda. The organisation was founded in 1997, by Declan Mallon, also co-founder of Droichead Youth Theatre.[134]

The Little Duke Theatre Company (Drogheda School of Performing Arts[135]) in Duke Street, in the old Julian Blinds building.

The Drogheda Pantomime Society hold a pantomime in January/February of each year. These productions have been going for roughly 60 years. Many locations have been used for staging productions, most notably the Barbican Theatre.


Contemporary music[edit]

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.[136]

Drogheda composers[edit]

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 (RTÉ 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[edit]

Drogheda has a thriving live music scene.[citation needed]

Brass bands[edit]

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[edit]

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.[citation needed] Drogheda's most famous visual artist was the abstract expressionist painter Nano Reid (1900–1981).


Drogheda and its hinterland has always had a very strong literary tradition. Oisín McGann is an award-winning writer of children's literature. Angela Greene (deceased) was the first Drogheda poet to win The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry 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. The poet, writer and occasional broadcaster Marie MacSweeney has received the Francis MacManus Short Story Award for her short story "Dipping into the Darkness".

Sister cities[edit]

Screen appearances[edit]

  • 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 five-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 a 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.


Soccer players[edit]


Freedom of Drogheda[edit]

"The freedom of the town is acquired by birth, or servitude of seven years' apprenticeship to a freeman of one of the seven trading guilds, and by especial grace, or gift of the corporation."[137]

This is a list of people who has been gifted with the Freedom of Drogheda,

  • Fr. Iggy O’Donovan (2013)
  • Sgt. Patrick J. Morrissey (2013)
  • Dr. T.K. Whitaker (1999)(31st Freeman of Drogheda)
  • President Mary Robinson (1993)
  • Cardinal Daly (1992)
  • President Dr Patrick J Hillary (1990)
  • Bishop Lennon (1980)
  • Cardinal O’Fiach (1980)
  • Pope John Paul II (1979)
  • Rev Mother Mary Martin (1966)
  • William Kenny (VC) of the Gordon Highlanders (1915)
  • Charles Stewart Parnell (1884)
  • Eamon De Valera
  • Theobald Wolfe Tone(1790)[138]
  • James Napper Tandy. “Disenfranchised (1798) having landed off the coast of Ireland with the enemy”[139][140]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]