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Drogheda (Irish: Droichead Átha, "Bridge of the Ford") is a town of 41,000 people (2016) on the east coast of Ireland. It is midway between Dundalk to the north and Dublin to the south.

Get in[edit]

Drogheda

By train[edit]

Commuter trains run every 30 min from Dublin (Pearse, Tara St and Connolly), taking an hour to Drogheda via Malahide, Skerries, Balbriggan, Gormanston and Laytown. Every couple of hours, the Enterprise Train runs non-stop from Dublin Connolly to Drogheda and continues to Dundalk, Newry, Portadown and Belfast Lanyon Place. A walk-up single is €12, see Irish Rail for timetables and ticket deals.

1 Drogheda MacBride Railway Station is south side of town on the Dublin Road, just before the line sweeps across the valley on the impressive 18-arch Boyne Viaduct. It's named for John MacBride (Seán Mac Giolla Bhríde, 1868-1916), executed for his part in the Easter Rising. He stumbled into this almost by accident but the British owed him a reckoning for fighting for the Boers. He features in Yeats' poem about the Rising where "a terrible beauty is born" but his ex-wife Maud Gonne (unsuccessfully courted by Yeats) declared that it was just the poem that was terrible.

By bus[edit]

Expressway Bus 100X runs hourly, daily from Dublin (with several city stops but not Busáras) via Dublin Airport to Drogheda, taking 80 min, and continuing to Dundalk. The Aircoach and Ulsterbus to Belfast don't stop in Drogheda. See below for the slower buses 100 and 168 from Dundalk, which you'd probably only use for points along that road.

The 2 bus station is in town centre on the south river bank, near Haymarket Bridge.

By car[edit]

From north or south follow M1. Normally you exit before the toll on the bypass between exits 7 and 8. As of Jan 2021 it's €1 for a motorbike and €1.90 for a car. You can pay by cash, 20-trip card (valid for this toll only) or electronic tag (for all Irish tolls including M50).

Get around[edit]

  • Walk for all the sights within town.
  • Taxis: several operators, look for them by the bus or railway stations.

By bus[edit]

In town Bus Éireann operates the D1, D2 and 173:

  • Buses D1 and D2 run daily between Drogheda, Bettystown and Laytown: D1 (every 30 min) via Mornington and Donacarney, D2 (also every 30 min) via Golf Links Road.
  • Bus 173 loops town from West St, M-Sa hourly: north via M1 Retail Park, Termonabbey and back, and south via Meadowview, Rowan Heights and back.

The fare in town (as of Jan 2021) by cash is €2 adult, €1.20 child, and by TFI Leap Card is €1.40 adult and 84c child. To Bettystown and Laytown by cash is €2.40 adult, €1.40 child, by TFI Leap Card is €1.68 adult, 98c child.

Out of town: and see above for the 100X from Dublin city and airport:

  • Bus 100 runs hourly, daily north to Dunleer, Castlebellingham and Dundalk.
  • Bus 101 is a slower route from Dublin, taking 75 min from Talbot St (it doesn't use Busáras) via Drumcondra, Santry, the Airport, Swords, Balbriggan and Julianstown. It runs M-F every 20 min, Sa every 30 min, Su hourly.
  • Bus 105 runs hourly, daily southwest to Duleek, Tayto Park, Ashbourne, Ratoath, Dunboyne and Blanchardstown.
  • Bus 163 runs twice daily west to the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre, Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre and Donore Village.
  • Bus 182 / 182A runs hourly, daily to Collon and Ardee. Bus 182 continues to Carrickmacross, Castleblayney and Monaghan, every 2 hours M-F, with four Sa Su.
  • Bus 168 follows the coast north to Baltray, Termonfeckin, Clogher, Grangebellew, Castlebellingham, Dromiskin (for monastery) and Dundalk. It's every 2 hours M-Sa with four on Sunday.
  • Bus 190 runs hourly, daily west to Slane, Navan and Trim.

For route maps see the TFI website.

See[edit]

Shrine with St Oliver Plunkett's head

In town[edit]

  • 1 St Peter's Parish Church, West Street. M-Th Sa 09:00-16:00, F 09:00-14:00, Su 12:00-16:00. The first RC church was completed in 1793 in an era when Catholic assemblies were barely tolerated: at its foundation, the town corporation turned up in full municipal fig to warn that a "Popish chapel" would not be tolerated within the town walls. In the 1880s it was greatly extended in French Gothic style, with a striking tower. However it's best known for its shrine to St Oliver Plunkett (1625-1681). He was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, but exiled in Rome during the height of the persecution of Catholics. He returned in 1670 in an era of tolerance and established a Jesuit college in Drogheda, but the wind changed and he became a wanted man. A show trial for treason collapsed in Dundalk so he was transferred to London and condemned by another rigged trial. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn: thereafter his body parts undertook something of a Grand Tour of Europe. Those parts were re-divvied up when he was made a saint in 1975, and his severed head and assorted bones got to enjoy their first ride in a helicopter to their present home. St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Drogheda (Q7591418) on Wikidata St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Drogheda on Wikipedia
  • St Peter's Church (C of I) is the Anglican version, a block north on Peter Street. There are traces of church buildings going back to the 13th century. In 1649 it was the scene of a massacre: Cromwell had breached the town walls and some 100 Royalist soldiers took refuge in the steeple. The Parliamentarians set fire to it and 30 died in the blaze, while another 50 were slain as they tried to flee. A new church was needed, and this opened in in 1753. It was re-modelled in the 19th century, suffered an arson attack in 1999 but was restored.
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Church, north by the hospital, is modern but charming.
  • 2 Highlanes Gallery, 36 St Laurence St A52 F7PH, +353 41 980 3311. W-Sa 10:30-16:30. Municipal gallery and art space opened in 2006 in a former Franciscan church, with permanent collection and rotating exhibitions. Free. Highlanes Gallery (Q5759462) on Wikidata Highlanes Gallery on Wikipedia
  • 3 Magdalene Tower is a 14th century belfry, all that remains of a Dominican friary. It's a striking structure, with two storeys teetering above a gothic arch, on the top of the rise north of town centre. Here was the north entrance to the walled town, St Sunday's Gate, which has disappeared.
  • 4 Saint Laurence Gate is a 13th century Barbican: two towers and a walled thoroughfare. It stood outside the town's east gate, which has disappeared. It's occasionally possible to climb the tower interior.
  • 5 Millmount Fort, Barrack Street A92 VFH3, +353 41 983 3097. M-Sa 10:00-17:30. The prominent hillock just south of the river is artificial - it was probably built over a Neolithic passage tomb, but has never been excavated. It became fortified with a motte-and-bailey in Norman times then by a stone castle. Here in 1649 the defenders of the town made their last stand before surrendering to Cromwell - but an earlier demand for surrender had been spurned, so Cromwell reckoned he was within his rights to slaughter them. In the 18th century a barracks was built around the hillock, and in 1808 it was capped by a Martello Tower. The last military action came in the Civil War of 1922: the fort was occupied by forces opposed to the Anglo-Irish Treaty, so they were shelled and dislodged by Irish government troops. The museum displays the town's turbulent history, and admission includes the Martello Tower, with great views (and artillery positions) on its terrace. There's a cafe in the barracks yard. Adult €6, child / conc €3. Millmount Fort (Q6859894) on Wikidata Millmount Fort on Wikipedia
  • Buttergate is on the west flank of Millmount opposite the bus station. When a town councillor declared that they "couldn’t be preserving all the old dumps all over the place" he especially had in mind this crumbling stretch of medieval masonry. The puzzle is, no historic town street ever led to it, so it can't have been a gate in the town walls. The western entrance was nearby St John's Gate, so probably this wall was "the buttress to the gate". It's been tidied up a bit, giving the brambles the Cromwell treatment, but "old dump" is still a fair description.

Further out[edit]

Neolithic burial mound at Brú Na Bóinne
  • 6 Beaulieu House and Garden, Beaulieu A92 PD3R, +353 41 983 8557. Stately mansion built around 1715 with a terraced walled garden. There's also a museum of vintage racing cars, collected by Gabriel de Freitas, a notable female racing driver of the 1960s / 70s. The estate is used as an event space; there are occasional open days and guided tours in summer, see website. Beaulieu House and Gardens, Co. Louth on Wikipedia
  • 7 Clogherhead is a small fishing village and resort, with a rocky headland and sandy beaches.
  • 8 Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre, Oldbridge A92 CY68 (just south of the river on L16014, off N51), +353 41 980 9950. Daily May-Sept 10:00-17:00, Oct-Apr 10:00-16:00. Within Oldbridge House, a 1740 manor house, the centre presents the pivotal battle of 1690. King James II was ousted in England in 1688 but well-supported in Ireland, a potential powerbase for regaining his throne. King William III (aka "William of Orange") countered with forces under General Schomberg, which made little progress. Then William himself landed in the north and marched upon Dublin: James drew up his defence on the south bank of the River Boyne. The battle on 1 July 1690 was close-run, with multiple mistakes, near misses and "what-ifs" by both sides, yet with only moderate losses. James' forces had to retreat but little scathed: they could have re-grouped and fought another day. But James scarpered south to exile in France, abandoning his supporters to shattering defeat at Aughrim and forlorn retreat to Limerick, while William marched into Dublin. The era of Protestant hegemony over Ireland had begun. Adult €5, conc €4, child €3. Battle of the Boyne (Q644960) on Wikidata Battle of the Boyne on Wikipedia
  • 9 Brú Na Bóinne Newgrange on Wikipedia is an extensive Neolithic complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site, older than the Celts, Stonehenge and the pyramids. It's very much on the tourist circuit, numbers are tightly restricted, and you can only access via the Visitor Centre - see separate page for details. Bus 163 runs there from Drogheda.
  • 10 Old Mellifont Abbey, Tullyallen A92 K682 (10 km northeast of town), +353 41 982 6103. Jun-Aug daily 10:00-17:00. Cistercian Abbey founded in 1142 by St Malachy to reform the lay-about standards of Irish monks. In 1152 it hosted the synod of Kells-Mellifont, and it was the leading abbey in Ireland until the Dissolution in 1539. Much of its masonry was then re-used to make a Tudor fortified house, where the 1603 Treaty of Mellifont ended the Nine Years War, and where William of Orange was based before the Battle of the Boyne. Little remains of the medieval buildings: the main standing ruin is the 13th century lavabo, where the monks performed their ablutions, so you come all this way to admire a Gents. Adult €5, conc €4, child €3. Mellifont Abbey on Wikipedia
  • 11 New Mellifont Abbey is in the village of Collon. It was founded in 1938 by Trappists from Mount Melleray Abbey above Cappoquin in County Waterford. The gardens are open to stroll around.
  • 12 Irish Military War Museum, Collon A92 V4K7, +353 41 981 9501. Apr-Sept daily 10:00-17:00. Modern military exhibits, basically a personal collection that got out of hand. Interactive and family-oriented and you can even book to drive a tank. Adult €12.50, child €7.50.
  • 13 Monasterboice has fragmentary remains of a monastery founded in the 5th century but abandoned once Mellifont was established nearby in the 12th. The best of it is the 10th century Round Tower and High Crosses, and there are two later medieval churches.

Do[edit]

  • Watch Gaelic games: the County GAA play Gaelic football and hurling at Drogheda Park (capacity 7000) just north of town centre.
  • Cinema: The Arc is on West St in town centre, and Omniplex is in Boyne Shopping Cente on Bolton St.
  • Aura Leisure Centre is off Rathmullan Rd 1 km west of town centre. It has a pool, gym and fitness classes, and you can pay-as-you-go without membership.
  • 1 Funtasia Theme Park, Donore Road A92 EVH6, +353 41 989 8000. Closed until Mar 2021. Theme park with water slides, zipline, climbing wall, bowling alley and so on. You pay for different activities, there isn't a day-pass.
  • 2 Bellewstown Racecourse, Bellewstown, County Meath (11 km south of town), +353 41 982 3614, . This is one of the oldest courses in Ireland, a sharp left hand oval of 9 furlongs. It has both Flat and National Hunt (jumps) races. On race days a free shuttle bus meets the trains at Drogheda. Adult €15.
  • Golf: several courses are within 5-10 km of town. Boyne Valley CC is southeast, Laytown and Bettytown is on the coast, Bellewstown GC is near the racecourse, and County Louth GC is at Baltray on the north bank of the Boyne estuary. There are also a few driving ranges and Pitch and Putts.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

  • Kieran's Deli at 15 West St is open M-Sa 09:30-16:00.
  • Shop Street leading into Peter St has a strip of pizzerias and fish & chips outlets.
  • Salthouse Brasserie, 1 North Quay, +353 41 983 4426. M-Th 08:30-17:00, F Sa 09:00-19:00, Su 10:00-17:00. Good atmosphere, European food, great central place for breakfast.
  • Eastern Seaboard, Bryanstown (off Dublin Rd 200 m south of railway station), +353 41 980 2570. M Th-Sa 12:00-22:00, Su 12:00-20:00. Upmarket seafood restaurant in glassy, classy modern building.

Drink[edit]

  • The Mariner, 6 North Quay A92 WF1W, +353 42 983 7401. M-Th 09:00-23:30, F Sa 10:00-00:30, Su 12:00-23:30. Wonderful decor festooned with brass portholes, fish tanks, hard-hat divers suits and marine artifacts. Good grub.
  • Other town centre bars include Cagney's, D'Vine Bistro, Weavers and The Trinity Quarter.
  • Earth, West St (at the back of the Westcourt Hotel). A nightclub. Regulary packed to capacity and well known among the young local community. Contemporary decor and a spacious smoking room, this club attracts all ages, especially the younger generation. Door policy is strict but the cocktails are delicious.

Sleep[edit]

  • 1 Spoon and the Stars Hostel (formerly Green Door Hostel), 13 Dublin Rd A92 DK65, +353 41 987 3333. Clean, well-run friendly hostel in a good location, gets rave reviews. Dorm €24, double €70.
  • Orley House is a B&B on Dublin Rd 300 m south of the railway station, gets mixed reviews.
  • Westcourt Hotel, 29 West St A92 A8XF, +353 41 983 0965. Slick modern hotel, as central as could be.
  • Scholars Townhouse Hotel, King St A92 ED71, +353 41 983 5410. Late Victorian building with 16 rooms and good bistro. B&B double €130.
  • 2 D Hotel, Scotch Hall Centre, Marsh Road (attached to shopping centre), +353 41 987 7700. Smart hotel, bar and restaurant. Nice clean rooms. Excellent breakfast. However in late 2020 they imposed a minimum age of 23, and dishonored bookings from younger guests even from returnees. This policy is not stated in their booking T&C or Covid rules. B&B double €80.
  • 3 Boyne Valley Hotel, Dublin Rd, Stameen A92 EY89 (2 km southeast of town), +353 41 983 7737. Pleasant resort and country club hotel in woodland with leisure centre, restaurant, gardens, renovated in 2019/20. B&B double €130.
  • 4 Collon House, Ardee St, Collon A92 YT29, +353 87 235 5645. Sumptuous bijou hotel open Feb-Dec, no children under 13 or dogs. B&B double from €160.
  • 5 Newgrange Lodge, Staleen Rd, Donore, +353 41 988 2478. Farmhouse converted into a mid-range hotel, opposite entrance to Brú Na Bóinne Neolithic complex. Fairly basic, with private rooms and 6 / 10 bed dorms. There's also camping and tourer pitches.
  • Dalys is a pub / restaurant with rooms at the junction of Donore Rd and Staleen Rd 2 km east of Brú Na Bóinne visitor centre.

Connect[edit]

As of Jan 2021, Drogheda has 5G from Eir and 4G from Three and Vodafone.

Go next[edit]

  • County Meath starts at the edge of town, with the Boyne battlefield and Brú Na Bóinne Neolithic complex. Continue further inland for Kells and the Hill of Tara.
  • The County Dublin coast is worth exploring on the way to the city, with small harbours and resorts at Balbriggan, Skerries and Rush, Malahide castle, and the headland of Howth.
  • Dublin only takes an hour to reach, it might take longer to tear yourself away.
  • North beyond Dundalk is the Cooley Peninsula, with the Mourne Mountains looming just across the border.


Routes through Drogheda
BelfastDundalk  N M1 motorway IE.png S  BalbrigganDublin



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