Drogheda is regarded as the Gateway to the historic Boyne Valley with a wide range of attractions such as the Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre for Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, The Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre, Monasterboice High Crosses and Round Tower, Mellifont Abbey, The Hill of Slane, Slane Castle,Hill of Tara,Irish Military War Museum, Beaulieu House and many other places of interest. The Boyne Valley also has some of the finest leisure facilities to cater for those interested in golf, fishing, horse riding, walking, cycling, water sports, horse racing and many other activities.
DROGHEDA is a thriving town straddling in the Louth/ Meath border and strategically situated just off the M1 Dublin to Belfast motorway and on the N1 route. The Dublin to Belfast railway line also serves the town. Built on the banks of the River Boyne, 3 miles inland from the coast, it acts as the Gateway to the Boyne Valley with the Neolithic Passage Graves of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, The Battle of the Boyne site, Monasterboice and Mellifont Abbey all nearby. Celtic and Viking peoples visited the area before the first urban development took place under the Norman’s in the 13th century. The town became a fortified centre of strategic importance and was a principal outpost of the Pale. It was in 1494 at a meeting of the Irish parliament in Drogheda, that “Poynings Law” was passed as an act that was to cripple the legislative independence of the Irish Parliament until it was repealed in 1782. Drogheda was besieged by the Irish Army in November 1641 until February 1642. However the siege failed and the Irish Army did not take the town. Later, in 1649, Cromwell’s army exacted their cruel retribution on the stubborn Royalist defenders of the town. On September 11th 1649, many soldiers were savagely slaughtered and many more transported into slavery in the Caribbean. Historians still argue as to the numbers killed. Drogheda also became the residence of the primates of Armagh. St. Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh in the 17th century, spent much of his time at Drogheda. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in 1681 on charges for which there was not the slightest foundation. His severed head is now enshrined at St. Peter’s R.C. Church. Today memories of Drogheda’s past including part of the Old Town Wall, St. Laurence Gate and fort at Millmount, combine with Drogheda’s thriving new shopping centres, excellent leisure facilities to attract visitors from all over the world.
HISTORY OF DROGHEDA MUSEUM
The origin of Drogheda Museum lies with the foresight of the Old Drogheda Society. The society was founded in 1964 by a group of concerned citizens for the preservation of Drogheda’s historical monuments and the collection and recording of historical material relating to the town and surrounding area. 10 years later in 1974 Millmount Museum was officially opened and in 2013 achieved full accreditation by the Heritage Council, under the museum standards programme for Ireland.
Today Drogheda Museum stands proudly in the bailey yard of Millmount Cultural Quarter surrounded by craft studios and a fine restaurant. The adjacent tower, built in 1808, standing on top of the Anglo Norman fortified motte offers a magnificent panoramic view of the ever expanding town of Drogheda and its surrounding area.
Places of Interest around Drogheda
St. laurence gate
St. Laurence Gate is a well preserved Barbican of the 13th century. Its title came from the ancient priory of St. Laurence which stood outside the Gate on the site of the Cord Cemetery. The only military action recorded at the Gate was during the siege by Phelim O’Neill in 1641 and perhaps its survival can be attributed to the fact that it was not on a main route into the town. On old maps it can be seen that the Guardhouse and Toll Booth survived into the 18th century. On the south side of the Gate is a fine example of the old town wall with buttress and embrasure.
The thosel / Tourist Centre
The Thosel/Tourist Centre – This fine limestone building was erected in 1770 to replace the old medieval wooden Tholsel. For 130 years the present building was the centre of municipal authority until the Corporation moved its offices and Council Chambers to the Courthouse in Fair Street. The tower which surmounts the Tholsel houses a large four-faced clock which is its most distinctive feature. Tourist Information Office is open 6 days a week April to September and Monday to Friday remainder of the year. Services available to the visitor include accommodation-booking, maps & guide books and general information on historical, cultural and leisure activities available in Drogheda & the Lower Boyne area. Tel: 041 9872843. www.drogheda.ie Email: email@example.com
St Peter's roman catholic church
St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church – The most notable building in West Street is the impressive modern Gothic style church of St. Peter’s. The stonemasons of over a century ago exercised their skills on the exterior decoration in local limestone.The interior walls are of Bath stone and the High altar is pure Carera marble. The first church on this site was built in 1791 to a design by Francis Johnston and is partly incorporated into the present building, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1881. This church houses the National Shrine of St. Oliver Plunkett, martyred at Tyburn in 1681. Our local saint was born at Loughcrew, near Oldcastle, Co. Meath, and was cannonised in Rome in 1995.
St. Laurence Street, Drogheda, an exciting new state-of-the-art facility, which will be one of Ireland’s most important contemporary arts spaces presenting a dynamic and diverse programme of visual arts exhibitions. The sword and mace presented to Drogheda by William of Orange is on permanent display here. Open: Monday-Saturday 10:30am to 5:00pm.
John philip holland
John Philip Holland, born in County Clare in 1841, the son of a lighthouse keeper, he attended the Christian Brothers School in Limerick and later joined the Christian Brothers in Cork. 1865 saw him arrive at the Christian Brothers convent Drogheda now Scholars Townhouse Hotel. Where he took up teaching Mathematics and music. Throughout his time as a Christian Brother he never abandoned his passion for engineering and applying Mathematical solutions to engineering problems. It was during his residence at the Christian Brothers residence that he designed the submersible Mechanical Duck ( Which could walk around the garden,swim and dive under water and then resurface) he then designed what was to become the worlds first workable submarine; “The Fenian Ram” (which stands today in the John Philip Holland Museum in Patterson, New Jersey). In 1873 Holland left both the Christian Brothers and Ireland for America to pursue turning his Submarine Design into an actual vessel. He secured funding from the Boston based Fenian organisation to establish the Electric Boat Company which still exists to this day as the Submarine Manufacturing division of General Dynamics.”A Monument now Stands at the Gates of Scholars Townhouse in commemoration of the work of John Philip Holland.
St Mary's old church of ireland
St. Mary’s Old Church of Ireland – was built in 1807 on the site of an ancient Carmelite Monastery. The site was within the town walls when they were erected in the 13th century. From the south/east wall the visitor can view Cromwell’s Mount from the where the Parliamentarian forces attacked and breached the walls in 1649. Cromwell led his forces through the steep valley, still known as ‘The Dale’, pursuing the defenders who retreated to nearby Millmount Fort. Part of the old town walls can be seen in the church grounds.
St Peter's church of ireland
St. Peter’s Church of Ireland – The present church stands on the site of an earlier church which must have been established before 1230 A.D. During the massacre which followed the Cromwellian siege of the town in 1649, a large number of citizens, who sought refuge in the church’s old wooden steeple, were burned to death. The present church was erected in 1751 and around the interior walls are many excellently carved memorial tablets of the 18th and 19th centuries. The churchyard contains a very unusual Cadaver Tombstone, dating to 1520. It is embedded in the wall to the north east.
Crowns the highest point in the northern part of the town. It was the belfry tower of the once extensive Dominican Friary founded here about 1224 by Lucas de Netterville, Archbishop of Armagh. The tower itself is of 14th century construction and was possibly a later addition to the Friary. It springs from a fine Gothic Arch, above which there are two further storeys connected by a spiral staircase.
Built by Alderman James Barlow in 1734. The design is attributed to Richard Cassells and the brick facade is adapted from Pearce’s No 9 Henrietta St., Dublin. Thomas Carty, the first Mayor of Drogheda elected under the provisions of the Municipal Reform Bill for Ireland in 1842, once lived here. It later became the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks and then, until June 1996, the Headquarters of the Garda Siochana Louth/Meath division. It is now part of the Drogheda Arts Centre
Irish military war museum & park
Irish Military War Museum & Park – Opened in County Meath on the 6th of June 2014, the Irish Military War Museum offers a fascinating insight into Irish participants’ involvement in both World War One and World War Two, as well as other military conflicts in world history. The Irish Military War Museum, covering 14,000 square feet of floor space, will represent a distinctly non-political but ‘must see’ educational and historical resource for people of all ages and from right across the island of Ireland and beyond. The museum is open from 10am till 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday. We are closed on Mondays. www.irishmilitarymuseum.com
Activities To Enjoy
Thrill Seekers and petrol-heads alike will love a trip to WhiteRiver Park, an exciting outdoor kart racing venue located just 5 minutes from Drogheda, on the Dunleer – Collon Road. Whether you’re 8 or 80 years old speed lovers won’t be disappointed here. WhiteRiver Park provides all the equipment you need to go racing, from karts to helmets, suits, gloves etc. Superior Birel Art Karts are designed to give a very realistic race kart feel and the circuit is super smooth with lots of demanding corners and gradient changes. See www.WhiteRiver.ie for individual, group, party bookings or more details. Call 041-9819100 or email: info@WhiteRiver.ie