World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


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
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 .iedrogheda

Drogheda (; ; 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.


Commemoration of Official Charter


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.[4] 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.[5]

Town beginnings

St Mary Magdalene Friary.

Despite local tradition linking Millmount to Amergin Glúingel, in his 1978 study of the history and archaeology of the town, John Bradley 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".[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] In the 1600s the name of the town was also spelled "Tredagh" in keeping with the common pronunciation, as documented by Gerard Boate in his work Irelands' Natural History.

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

St. Laurence's Gate

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 a 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."[9]

The Earldom of Drogheda was created in the Peerage of Ireland in 1661.

The Battle of the Boyne, 1690, occurred some 6 km (3.7 mi) west of the town, on the banks of the River Boyne, at Oldbridge.

In 1790 Drogheda Harbour Commissioners established, later Drogheda Port Company

In 1825 the Drogheda Steam Packet Company was formed in the town, providing shipping services to Liverpool.

In 1837 the population of Drogheda area was 17,365 of whom 15,138 lived in the town.[10]

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".[11]

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 financial aid and ships laden with food to Drogheda during the Great Famine. There are no records of this with the Drogheda Port nor the Irish National Library, due to the fire that occurred in the 20th century. The star and crescent are thought to predate the famine.[12] However, newspaper articles from the period refer to three foreign ships sailing up the River Boyne in May 1847.[13] In addition, a letter found in Ottoman archives, written by Irish notables, explicitly thanks Sultan Abdülmecid I for his help.

A film is being shot regarding the subject as well.[14]

20th century

St Oliver Plunkett's Head

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

Theatre and performing arts

The town hosts an annual summer Samba festival, where Samba bands from around the world converge on the town for three days of drumming and parades.[15]

It is also home to the Calipo theatre company which specialises in multi-media productions and has achieved considerable success in Ireland and abroad.

The town also has the Droichead Youth Theatre.

The addition of the Little Duke Theatre company (Drogheda School of Performing Arts[16]) in Duke Street, in the old Julian Blinds building.

The Calipo Theatre was founded in 1994 in Drogheda by Darren and Colin Thornton, former members of 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.

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 station in West Street is now a satellite site of the Droichead Arts Centre. This site is called Barlow House.

Drogheda also has 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. 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.[17]

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 (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

Drogheda has a thriving live music scene.

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).


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".

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 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.

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

M1 traffic crossing Boyne River Bridge.

Road links and infrastructure

Drogheda is located close to the M1 (E1 Euro Route 1) (main DublinBelfast motorway). The Boyne River Bridge carries traffic from the M1, across the River Boyne, 3 km west of the town. It was opened on 9 June 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.[18]

Bus transport

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).[19]

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 also operate a Dundalk to Dublin route serving the town.[20]

Past Bus Éireann routes included the 184 to Garristown and 185 to Bellewstown but these were discontinued a few years ago.


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

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 Richard Culhane (Fine Gael).[21]

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Owing to the recession and economic crash, a multitude of business and factories have closed down in Drogheda. As a result of this, Drogheda has an unemployment problem,[22] which has in turn led to a serious rise in social problems, including crime (organised, violent and petty),[23][24] 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.

Railway bridge over Boyne
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, 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 Independent and The Drogheda Leader, 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 and the Drogheda 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 LMFM 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, 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.
  • Scuba Diving: 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).

Town twinning


Soccer players


See also


  1. ^ Johnston, L. C. (1826). History of Drogheda: from the earliest period to the present time. Drogheda. p. 37. 
  2. ^ "Latest News". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  3. ^ See and 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.
  4. ^ Stout, G. 2002 Newgrange and the Bend of the Boyne. Cork University Press.
  5. ^ Bennett, I. (ed) 1987–2004 Excavations : Summary accounts of archaeological excavations in Ireland. Bray.
  6. ^ Bradley, J. 1978 'The Topography and Layout of Medieval Drogheda', Co. Louth Archaeological and Historical Journal, 19, 2, 98–127.
  7. ^ Bennett op cit.
  8. ^ Bradley op cit 105
  9. ^ Cromwell letter to William Lenthall (1649)
  10. ^ "Entry for Drogheda in Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Heraldry of the world - Outdated file". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Murray, Ken (25 March 2010). "President tells Turks an anecdote of myth not fact". The Irish Times. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "New evidence shows Turkey delivered food to Ireland during the famine". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Ottoman aid to the Irish to hit the big screen". TodaysZaman. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  15. ^ Noel Cosgrave. "Drogheda Samba Festival". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "Little Duke Theatre". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "Louth Contemporary Music Society". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  18. ^ "Drogheda station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 5 September 2007. 
  19. ^ "Bus timetable : Louth". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "Matthews Coach Hire - Coach Tours, Corporate Hire, Private Coach Hire, Commuter Service Dublin Drogheda Dundalk". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "Ex GAA star Richie is new mayor of town". Irish Independent. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "Drogheda News from The Drogheda Independent Newspaper - News from Drogheda, Co. Louth -". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  23. ^ Susan Ryan. "Man dies after double stabbing in Drogheda". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Youth held after multiple stabbing in Drogheda". RTÉ News. 10 April 2010. 

External links

  • Drogheda Borough Council
  • Drogheda Port
  • Drogheda on the Boyne – Official Tourism Website
  • Drogheda & District Chamber of Commerce
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.