The first Church on the site was built in 1791 to a design by Francis Johnston and was partly incorporated into the present building one hundred years later. The facade is an imposing structure in the Gothic Revival style, built of local limestone. It is one of the most notable buildings on West St. in the town centre of Drogheda. A detail image of that building is held at the Highlanes Gallery - Drogheda's municipal art gallery, illustrated on a mid 19th Century (ca. 1861) map of the town created by Isaiah Rowland CE.
It is most famous for housing the National Shrine to St. Oliver Plunkett, who was martyred at Tyburn in 1681. The shrine is most elaborate and contains the preserved head of the saint. Another showcase displays his shoulder blade and other bones as relics. Also on exhibit is the cell door of Newgate prison in which he spent his last days. Signs urge silence in the sacred place, where so many visitors have seen the enormous altar, St. Oliver Plunkett's bones and head, and the grand architecture of the large building.