The Cottage Hospital

The Cottage Hospital is an institution that has served the community of Drogheda well for over 107 years. It's distinctive Edwardian red brick buildings are still handsome looking and they provide daily, care services for the elderly citizens of the town amongst others (unless the HSE have their way).

The hospital was initially opened on 14th December 1909 by Countess Aberdeen with just 12 beds at first as a result of the efforts of two sisters known locally as the Misses Smith of Greenhills, who were its first secretaries, and who raised the money for its erection and maintenance. The concept of a 'cottage hospital' was a small rural building with only a few beds but the advantages were that the local physician knew their patients and their case histories better than at a county hospital, there were facilities to deal with emergencies more immediately than transferring to a voluntary or county hospital, and the level of care meant a journey to a county hospital was unnecessary.

Drogheda's Cottage Hospital had, like all worthy causes, a number of wealthy patrons; namely The Viscountess Gormanston and Lady Rathdonnell, whilst the President of the establishment was Lady Bellew. The rules of the hospital stated clearly that it was for all members of the community should they need it, and was equipped to deal with both out-patients and day-patients and had free beds and also paying patients.
Some of the rules stated:

"2. The Hospital shall be strictly non-sectarian, and the clergy and accredited ministers of all denominations shall be at liberty to visit the hospital at all times to minister to the spiritual wants of patients requiring their attendance.

4. The hospital is intended to be partially self-supporting, but shall contain a certain number of free beds, to be supported by annual subscription.

16. The definition of a paying patient is one who pays £2 0s. od. or upwards per week to the hospital. Those paying from 7s. per week upwards are defined as contributory patients. Children under twelve are half price.

17. No person suffering from infectious or contagious disorders, (unless the funds admit of a completely separate building for their use), or any chronic disease, shall be admitted unless in the last case the Medical Officers shall be of the opinion that the person would be benefited by hospital treatment. No patient shall remain in the hospital more than six weeks without the special permission of the Executive Committee. Every requisite of the patient (except personal clothing and medicine, 1s. per week being charged for medicine) will be provided in the hospital, and patients may not receive food or drink from any other source witout the sanction of the Matron."

The formidable Lady Rathdonnell, one of the patrons of the hospital

In the first year of opening the hospital had a debt of £55 19s. 1d. but due to support given by way of a jumble sale, a fete and a sports day that was wiped out, with "the building being thoroughly repainted inside and out, two new beds, carpets and new instruments provided". During it's first three years in operation the number of patients rose from 80 in 1908 to 240 by 1910. Amongst the various cases treated were appendicitis, peritonitis, pneumonia, blood poisoning, anemia and fractures, with 9 births and 3 deaths being recorded. The staff in 1909/10 consisted of Dr. Redmond, consulting physician and president of the Royal College of Physicians, Dr. Charles Maunsell, consulting surgeon, Drs. Byrne, Hunt and Tallan, visiting surgeons, a matron and nurses.

There was a large list of subscribers to the Cottage, with the founders the Misses Smith top of the list. A number of wealthy landowners, businessmen and gentry contributed, such as Colonel Coddington, H. St. George Osbourne, A. B. Cairnes, Lady Gormanston and Lord and Lady Bellew. Businesses also subscribed like the Drogheda & Castlebellingham Breweries, the Yorkshire & Lancashire Railways and the directors of the Boyne Mills. There were also a large number of gifts donated to the hospital such as magazines, food, books, cots and mattresses.

A brass plaque erected in the hall reads "This hospital stands as witness to the love and zeal of the Misses Smith of Greenhills, by whose efforts chiefly, the money for its erection and maintenance was raised and in particular, to the devotion of Miss Sidney Smith and Miss Rosa Smith who for fifteen years acted as secretaries 1908 - 1932". The Cottage Hospital is now managed by the HSE as a convalescent/respite centre for the elderly, and also houses the Doctor on Call centre and Ambulance Centre for the immediate area. Despite the best efforts of the HSE to close down the facility by removing beds and considering downgrading the hospital, this local institution still stands and thanks to the efforts of local groups like 'Save Drogheda Cottage Hospital' hopefully will continue to provide care for the people of Drogheda for years to come.


Drogheda's Industrial Life 1979

The Drogheda Industrial Exhibition of 1979 showcased some of the best of Drogheda's local businesses held in the White Horse Hotel (now the Westcourt Hotel) on West Street.

The Chairman of the Exhibition Committee Richard Greene said in his introduction in the souvenir catalogue:

"Why an Industrial Exhibition?  Apart from keeping a few people out of worse mischief, the urge to organise this exhibition was motivated by three objectives:

1. To provide Drogheda Industry with the excuse to polish its shoes, comb its hair and practise its smile for four days. In other words, to stand up with confidence to be counted by its peers and public.

2. To promote the national concept of Guaranteed Irish, by reference to the opportunities that are missed here in Drogheda to substitute Irish for imported.

3. To instill the idea, in these industrially-divisive days, that there is a broader picture to be seen, and a fiercer enemy to be faced, than that which one imagines to be within the gates of ones own workplace. All industry, whether it be state, semi-state or private, is in competition with someone somewhere, either for the means to operate or for the share of markets.

So much goodwill has been encountered from so many different people, that we have had our faith in the event preserved during the inevitable setbacks, and now gives us confidence that these objectives will be handsomely achieved."

Some of the exhibitors were household names that sadly, either through falloff in demand, buyouts by the competition, or cheaper labour abroad, no longer exist, whilst some are happily still going strong. The list of exhibitors for 1979 is as follows and is a great insight into the working life of the town at that time:

Drogheda Aluminium, Eobain McDonnell, builders & Drogheda Fireplace Centre, Boyne Valley Foods, Bari Taylor Ltd. clothing manufacturers, Irish Tapestry Co., Bissell Ireland, Robert Roden (electrics), Poclain Hydraulics, The Boyne Valley Hotel, Suko furniture manufacturing, Charles Dougherty (incorporated Drogheda Oatmeal Milling Co. Ltd, produced oatmeal, wheatmeal, seeds, fertilizers etc.), the I.D.A., Drogheda & Dundalk Dairies, Peter Lyons Ltd. bakers, Tegral Pipes, Tower Fireplaces in Mornington, Mell Furniture, Centronics Ireland, Wilson & McBrinn clothing manufacturers and their 'Dingo' jeans, D.K. Agencies electrical equipment, Becton Dickinson & Co. medical equipment, Ushers Mills, D. Myles (Life & Pensions) Ltd., Old Drogheda Society, Gerrard O'Reilly Fireplaces, Keltic Marketing, Ann Murphy Designs, Morgan Landy photographers, WESCO, Drogheda Printers Ltd, W. & C. McDonnell (food stuffs), Flogas, Halco Plant, Boyne Marine Engineering & Electrical Centre, Rosita Gilsenan (batik artist), Globe Travel, Rock House Ltd. (sportswear), Connolly-McNamara Vintage Wines, G. Morgan & Sons (furntiture production), and The Drogheda Independent.


Dundalk and Dublin Lectures Tonight

Tonight: Thursday 27th March @7pm A great city wrapped in gloom': the demise of Paul Cullen, Ireland's first cardinal.  Lecture by Professor Daire Keogh, President of St. Patricks College, Drumcondra. 

Venue: the Milestone Gallery, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum. Tickets €10. To book please contact the Museum at 01 8826550 or email: booking@glasnevintrust.ie For further lectures see here.

Tonight: Thursday 27th March @8pm The Battle of Clontarf 1014 (Illustrated). Lecture by Professor Sean Duffy.

Venue: St. Vincent’s School Assembly Hall, Seatown Place, Dundalk. A County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society Event.

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,


Tonight's Old Drogheda Society Lecture by Tomi Reichental

Old Drogheda Society
Spring  Lecture

I Was a Boy in Belsen



Tomi Reichental

Venue: the Governor’s House Millmount

Tonight: Wednesday 26th March 2014 at 8 pm.


Tomi Reichental was born in 1935 in Piestany Slovakia. In 1944 he was captured and deported to Bergen Belsen concentration camp with his mother, grandmother, brother, aunt and cousin. When he was liberated in April 1945 he discovered that 35 members of his extended family were murdered, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins died in the Holocaust.

Tomi has lived in Dublin since 1959. For fifty-five years he did not speak of his wartime experiences ‘not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t.' since breaking his silence he has been back to Bergen-Belsen and to his home village of Merašice and is a regular speaker in schools, where he is a living testament to the truth of the Holocaust for a new generation.


Bookstall on night.

Includes Tomi’s book

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,


Old Drogheda Society Publications On Sale

The following Old Drogheda Society Publications are now on sale at special prices for members only.

We are also offering a reduced price for a Family Ticket to the Drogheda Museum Millmount of Euro 10 for two adults and two Children.

To avail of these offers simply return the email you as a member received with your order (see below). We will then confirm to you on return that your purchase will be available for collection at Museum Reception which will be open Mon - Sat 10.00 am to 4.00 pm and Sunday 2.30 pm to 4.00 pm. Payment is Cash only.

Items must be order by April 15th 2014

Item              Title                                             Price
1         ODS Journal No.20   2013           10.00 Euro   174 pages

Articles local Fenians, Patrick Leonard and John Francis Nugent by Brendan Matthews. Drogheda Boxing Club 1940 -1946 by John McCullen. Ian Kenneally discusses John Boyle O Reilly, A railway to the Quays in Drogheda 1903 by       Edward Fleming. Making Hay down through the Years by Jackie Mullen. Vere Foster’s female emigration scheme by Audrey Smith Flanagan. The Marian Year 1954 by Maura Mullen. Drogheda Drapery assistants campaign of 1887 by Cllr. Frank Gallagher and finally Life in Drogheda during WW2 by Ted Greene.                                                                                                                                                                             

2   ODS Journal No.19 2012                 8.00 Euro       136 pages  

The Shelling of Millmount 1922 by Sean Corcoran. Drogheda in 1950 by Maura Mullen. Brendan Matthews has three articles, a trip on the Collen Bawn, Cromwell at Drogheda and A Riot in Dooley Gate 1917. Drogheda 1912 scrapbook of Luke J Elcock by John Mc Cullen and the Lady shareholders of the Drogheda Steam packet company 1894.  The founding of the Drogheda Branch of the United Irish League by Edward Fleming. Franciscan Altar plates by Fr.Ignatius Fennessy. The foundation of ITGWU in Drogheda by Cllr, Frank Gallagher. The Cannons are back by Noel Bailey and finally M&L Crilly 49 Laurence St, Memories of an Old Fashioned Shop by Ann Crilly.

3 ODS Journal No 18 2011                8.00 Euro         121 pages

Brendan Matthews has three articles; Millmount 1922 newly discovered images, The Star & Crescent, some thoughts and May Day - May Day.  Prof. Gary Owens discusses O'Connell and his Monster meetings, their Symbolgy and structure. The Tichburnes of Beaulieu by Noel Bailey. An 1867 Drogheda Inquest by Declan Quaile. Growing up on the North Road in the 1940's and early 50's by Maura Mullen. The Founding of the Drogheda Trades Council - New evidence by Cllr Frank Gallagher. The Fenian Rising in Drogheda and the aftermath by Ormonde DP Waters. The Drogheda Branch of the United Ireland League by Edward Fleming and finally Hidden pieces of Drogheda by John Mc Cullen.

4 ODS Journal No. 16 2007                8.00 euro        184 pages

Terry Corcoran, an appreciation by John McCullen. The Life and Times of John Forbes, M.P. for Drogheda by Don Byrne. The Malocca Story by Giovanna Magliocco. A Local Folklore miscellany by Frank Gallagher. Keeping the home fires burning during WW 2 by Tom Winters. 1956 the year Drogheda got behind its own by Liam Reilly. A nominal roll of officers and NCOs of B Coy8 Inf Bn, FCA by Peter Durnin. Ships that never returned in the 1870's and 1880's. Holy Year 1950 Drogheda pilgrimage to Rome by Finian McQuaile. Drogheda Dance Bands by William Healy. Recrossing the Rubicon by Shane Fagan.
Master painters of Drogheda by Ronan Eustace. Killed in Action by Peter Durnin. A Rebel Motor bike by John Mc Cullen. Drogheda man who was editor of the Irish Times for 27 years by Tom Winters. The McPhail Story by Owen Rafferty. My working Life on West Street by John Hurley. Drogheda's newspapers by Frank Gallagher and finnaly Death of a distinguished Drogheda man by Tom Winters.

5 ODS Journal no.15 2005                8.00 euro         200 pages

Jim Garry and Appreciation by Sean O’Greagoir. Moira Corcoran an Appreciation by John Mc Cullen. Making Cloth in the 1950's by Warren Nelson. From Clay pipes to Smoking Ban by Tom Winters. A Cleanin and a Pressin. Augustinian Corpus Christi procession by Canice O’Mahony. Sentimental Journey by Willie Healy. Crossing the Boyne by Bernard Share. The Mercy Nuns in Drogheda by John Mc Cullen. The Dublin Penny Journal by Michael McEvoy. Devis Jebb of Slane by Don Byrne and finally pictures from the Archives by John McGovern.

6 ODS Journal No. 11 1998              8.00 euro        180 pages

Recent Archaeological discoveries in Drogheda by Deirdre Murphy. A Drogheda Steamship, the Irishman by J Colin Bain. Drogheda Seamen 1880 - 1940 by Christy Quigley. John Boyle O’Reilly, the Early years by Seamus Matthews. Dowth Churchyard memorial Inscriptions by Dr. Patrick J Shorthall. The Elcock - Netterville Lease by Lucy McCullen. The Pub at Duleek Gate by John McCullen. Drogheda Municipal Art Gallery by Peter Jordan. The Origin and Development of two Meath Villages by Michael Ward. Problems of the Tenant Farmer during the Famine Years by Eileen Mc Cullough. Some notes on the Drogheda Families of Carroll, Clinton, McGovern and Skelly by Gerard Conan Kennedy. James Anderson and the Drogheda Pilgrimage to Knock 1880 by Fr Iggy O Donovan OSA. Drogheda's the Place for me (song) by Evelyn Kirwan. Drogheda (poem) by Donald Byrne., Drogheda Fort Shilling Freeholders by Moira Corcoran. and finally a Letter from Bill English 1966 by James Garry.   

7 Drogheda its Topography and Medieval Layout   5 .00 euro (buy 3 get one free)   38 pages 1997

Written by John Bradley of the Dept of Modern History National University of Ireland Maynooth.
This wonderful illustrated publication describes early Drogheda and its streetscapes.

8 Calvary Cemetery its History and Tombstone Inscriptions 8.00 euro (buy 3 get one free) 187 pages 2002
Written by the irrepressible Jim Garry, this publication covers the history of the graveyard from mid 1890's to the 21st century including an alphabetical listing of burial inscriptions and site map.

9 The Medical Missionaries of Mary in Drogheda 1939 - 1999   5.00 euro (buy 3 get one free) 63 pages 1999

Written by Sister M Anastasia Taggert B.A HDip M.A Econ and Sister Isabelle Smyth M.A. LPH.Dip Soc Sc.

This is a unique account of the history of the MMM in Drogheda from its early beginnings in Collon Co Louth to the International Missionary Training Hospital and the tireless work carried out by the sisters worldwide.

10 Drogheda and 1798                                            5.00 euro (buy 3 get one free)    90 pages 1998

Written by Moira Corcoran, Fergus O’Dowd, Sean Collins, Leo Casey, John Kells Ingram and Jim Garry

This covers the 1798 Insurrection and its effect on Drogheda, with images and contemporary extracts of the period.

                                           Purchase 3 of items 7, 8, 9 or 10 above and get one free.

11 The Streets and Lanes of Drogheda                 10 .00 Euro (from E 15)           127 pages    2009
Written by James Garry and updated by Deirdre Howard Russell

This is a must have for anyone remotely interested in local Drogheda History. This is a brilliantly executed account of the origins of local street and place names together with photographs and images of historic Drogheda.


FAMILY TICKET (2 adults & 2 Children) SPECIAL 10 Euro includes guided tour of Museum & Tower.

Can be used at any time during 2014, but must be purchased by April 15th 2014.

                                                               ORDER FORM - Please complete and return your copy of the order form below which is attached with your email.

ITEM                           DESCRIPTION                                              QTY                   Euro
--------                        -------------------                                                -------                 -------

                                                                                           TOTAL Euro

ODS will confirm to you on return that your purchase will be available for collection at Museum Reception which will be open Mon - Sat  10.00 am to 4.00 pm and Sunday 2.30 pm to 4.00 pm. Payment is Cash only.

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,


Holocaust Survivor to Deliver Old Drogheda Society Lecture

The next Old Drogheda Society lecture will be on Wednesday March 26th at 8 pm in the Governor's House, Millmount, when Tomi Reichental, who lost 35 members of his family in the Holocaust and was the subject of the documentary Till The Tenth Generation, gives his account of being imprisoned as a child at Belsen concentration camp.

Tomi Reichental was born in 1935 in Piestany Slovakia. In 1944 he was captured and deported to Bergen Belsen concentration camp with his mother, grandmother, brother, aunt and cousin. When he was liberated in April 1945 he discovered that 35 members of his extended family were murdered, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins died in the Holocaust.

Tomi has lived in Dublin since 1959. For fifty-five years he did not speak of his wartime experiences ‘not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t.' Since breaking his silence he has been back to Bergen-Belsen and to his home village of Merašice and is a regular speaker in schools, where he is a living testament to the truth of the Holocaust for a new generation.

His story is a story of the past. It is also a story for our times. The Holocaust reminds us of the dangers of racism and intolerance, providing lessons that are relevant today.

There will be a bookstall on the night and all are welcome. 

Drogheda Museum Millmount
Governor's House,


"Drogheda's the Place for Me"

This article by Evelyn Kirwan was originally published in the Old Drogheda Society Journal 1998:

"The song was written by Larry Branigan who was born in 1904. He was brought up in the Oulster Lane and Scarlet Street area and after doing his Leaving Certificate with the Christian Brothers, he commenced work in the offices of Dublin Port and Docks. He often described arriving in Dublin in 1922, wearing knickerbockers as the shells rained down on the Four Courts during the Civil War.

Larry only made one continental trip - to Paris in 1936, where he resisted efforts to recruit him for the war against Franco in Spain. He was widely read and an enthusiastic Gaelic scholar. He travelled to Dublin every morning until his retirement in 1966 and was once described by the Drogheda Independent as Ireland's "greatest commuter".

Married in 1957 to Kathleen McGrane, Larry moved to the Cord Road. He was an avid walker, swimmer and cyclist and could be seen for many years wandering the byroads of Louth and Meath, accompanied by his friend Tom McConnon, late of Patrick Street.

Larry has a sweet tenor voice and would sing at the drop of a hat. He wrote many songs. His "Drogheda's the Place for Me" is a love song to his hometown. He sang it at every opportunity. Not many people listened but he would be happy to know that the song is still there after his death which occurred in 1990.

                                                    "Drogheda's the Place for Me"

                                                       Tell me you know the way
                                                        Beamore or sweet Baltray
                                                Down by the Boyne, its pleasant there
                                            Hawthorn and Roses and sweet fragrant air.
                                                        Maybe we'll go to Slane
                                                         Or round by Rosnaree
                                                   In by the Bolies, it's always fair
                                                      Drogheda's the place for me

                                                        Drogheda's a pleasant town
                                                      Where streets go up and down
                                             High Lane and Low Lane and Duleek Gate
                                                 St. Peter's, St. Mary's, just don't be late
                                        Out by dear old Stameen and round by Mornington
                                                     Laytown or Butlin's its all the same
                                                         Drogheda's the place for me

                                      You hear the joybells ring, you hear the Tholsel chime
                                                Down by the Rampart, we have a park
                                                   Out by the Obelisk we'll have a laugh
                                                      Where Billy crossed the Boyne
                                                         Newgrange is there to see
                                                 Dublin or Belfast or Cork by the Lee
                                                         Drogheda's the place for me

                                                   Now lately there came to town
                                                  Pope John Paul of great reknown
                                                     At Kilineer he bowed a knee
                                                  Prayed we'd be free from hostility
                                  People from North and South, greeted with one great shout
                                              John Paul looked up and "Be God" says he
                                                      Drogheda's the place for me

                                         (with acknowledgement to Patrick Branigan, nephew)

Loughcrew Equinox Festival

Spring Equinox at Loughcrew - Cairn T will be open on Friday 21st March, Saturday 22nd March and Sunday 23rd March from 6.15am http://www.newgrange.com/news37.htm

Loughcrew Equinox Festival organised by Oldcastle Tourism Group http://www.loughcrew.com/wp/equinox/

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,

Constructing Ritual Space

Tonight: Friday 21st March @7.30pm Oldcastle Library and Moylagh Historical Society present ‘Constructing Ritual Space: Development, Complexity and Gatherings in the Sliabh na Calliagh Passage Tomb Complex’ by Lynda McCormack, Doctoral Student. 

The event will take place at Oldcastle Library.

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,


Into the Light

Tonight: Tuesday 18th March @7:15pm. Into the Light an exhibition of art by Lisa Brady.

Venture on a journey of discovery with Conan and the Mystical, Magical light of Loughcrew.

Venue: Oldcastle Library, Co. Meath.

Exhibition runs to 22nd March.

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,


Millmount Tower: A Global Green

Millmount Tower will  will turn green for the first time to celebrate St Patrick's Day Global Greening 2014.

It will join 100 landmark buildings and iconic sites around the world including the Great Wall of China, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Sydney Opera House and Niagara Falls in turning green to celebrate the National Feast Day. The floodlight will be green and the tower pearched high over the town of Drogheda will be visible over a wide area. The greening is being funded by the Old Drogheda Society with the approval of Drogheda Borough Council.

As the mound at Millmount was here in 432 AD when St Patrick landed at the mouth of the Boyne on his way to the Hill of Slane,  it is likely that  one of the first things our patron saint viewed was the mound at Millmount.

Millmount Museum will be opened on Saturday from 9.30 am to 5 pm and on Sunday and St Patrick's Day 2 pm to 5 pm.

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,

Kells Heritage Weekend

Saturday 15th March - Kells Heritage Weekend 
  • 10am Follow the Footsteps of the Monks – A heritage walk through Kells, see the High Crosses, Round Tower & Columcille’s House. Meet in the foyer of the Headfort Arms Hotel.  €4 p.p. 087 7064421087 7064421

  • 4pm Teltown / Donaghpatrick Walk –  Take a walk round Teltown and Donaghpatrick, an important ritual landscape. Meet at Donaghpatrick Church.   €4 p.p. 087 7064421

  • 9pm 'Memories of YesterYear'  - previously unseen local interviews & vintage recordings in the Moynalty Agricultural Museum. Refreshments served. €5 p.p.

Sunday March 16th - Kells Heritage Weekend 
  • 12noon -  4pm  Spire of Lloyd Open - Fantastic views from the top of Ireland's only inland lighthouse.
  • Donations welcome. 087 2139507087 2139507  (Kells Archaeological Society)

  • 2pm A visit to Headfort Mausoleum, burial place of the Headfort family. Meet at the entrance to the New Golf Course on Headfort Road  €4 p.p. 087 706 4421

Monday March 17th - Kells Heritage Weekend

  • 12noon -  4pm  Spire of Lloyd Open - Fantastic views from the top of Ireland's only inland lighthouse. Donations welcome. 087 213 9507087 213 9507  (Kells Archaeological Society)

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,


Michael Davitt's Death and Funeral

Tonight: Thursday 13th March @7pm. 'I would wish to be buried ... without any funeral demonstration: Michael Davitt's death and funeral'. Lecture by Dr Carla King, St. Patricks College, Drumcondra.

Venue: the Milestone Gallery, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum.

Tickets €10.

To book please contact the Museum at 01 882655001 8826550 or email: booking@glasnevintrust.ie

For further lectures see Glasnevein Cemetery site.

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,


Remembering the Meath Men of World War 1

Tonight: Wednesday 12th March @8pm - Remembering the Meath Men of World War 1. An evening of stories, poetry, song and history.

Venue: St. Mary's Church of Ireland, Navan. All Welcome, free admission. Organised by Navan Historical Society in association with the Navan Shamrock Festival.

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,


Memories of Drogheda in the Forties

The following article was first published in the Old Drogheda Society Journal 2000; it is written by Paddy Lynch and in it he recalls the social and cultural scene in the town at the time:

"This is just one persons memory of the old Town by the Boyne in my teenage years and early twenties i.e. 1940 - 1950.

I remember Drogheda as a great town to grow up in. Despite the war, the scarcities, the black outs, and rationing, there was always something to do. In fact to me these shortages seemed to make us more resilient.

During this period I attended the CBS, somehow we were educated despite the shortage of text books, copies with paper made with straw, poor heat etc. At that time before free school transport, pupils came to secondary school in Drogheda from Skerries, Balbriggan, Ardcath, Dunleer, to mention a few, and all seemed to arrive in time for class. The social scene was vibrant with plenty of amenities. The pictures as we called them then, at the Boyne, the Abbey and later the Gate. There were always two houses (performances) each night at 6.45pm and 9pm, Monday to Saturday, two on Sunday at 3pm and 8.30pm. I would always admit that the back row of the balcony was a favourite for girls and boys.

Dancing was another popular pastime, the main venue for this was the Whitworth Hall and the AOH Hall and it was great to make the long journey to Bettystown for a dance in the Northlands (on yer bike) which was our only means of transport. Drogheda had their own dance bands, Pat Jackson and his Band, and the Carlton were the main bands.

We did not lack other amenities as there were many social clubs. C.Y.M.S. Hall, Workmans Club, all in Fair St., the A.O.H. and the Catholic Club in Shop St., the Commercial Club in the Mayoralty House, St. Mary's Hall Dublin Road and YMCA in Peter St. During that time table tennis was a very competitive sport in the town, with leagues etc. There were also two tennis clubs, The Tredagh Club in the North Road, which was a part of the GAA grounds. The tennis club was situated opposite Smith's Garage and is now the main entrance to the grounds. The Drogheda Rowing Club on the Marsh Road was a great amenity on the river with a large club house. Rowing was a popular sport and the annual Boyne Regatta was a great event. The races started at Tom Roe's Point and ended at the boat house.

The GAA was very strong in the town with famous clubs nearly all centered in particuar areas. Wolf Tone GFC, Dooley Gate; Newtown Blues GFC, Newfoundwell; St. Magdalenes GFC, The Markets and Bolton Square; Oliver Plunkett GFC, Mell; Parnells GFC, The Marsh Road. Owen Roes was my club which attracted those not converted by the other clubs and newcomers to Drogheda. Soccer was also very popular with Drogheda United doing extremely well in this period. United Park was their home.

There can't be too many left who will remember the many services we had to protect our town if we had an air raid. The L.D.F. (Local Defence Forces) and The A.R.P. (Air Raid Precaution), The A.E.S., The Rescue Service, Knights of Malta, and The Red Cross. I was in the A.R.P. but due to my youth I was only a messenger, from post to post on our bikes. We all had uniforms. The A.R.P. uniform was grey. The best uniforms were the Knights of Malta and the Red Cross. The secret command post was in the cellar of the Library in Fair Street, state of the art for the time, with telephones to the various other centres. Thankfully we were not called upon. Although a bomb was dropped from a plane in a field on the Mornington Road, opposite the old cement factory.

The Whitworth Hall was an extremely popular venue. It was a cinema, dance hall, whist drives, sales of work, concerts and roller skating. We then had the Drogheda Operatic Society, and the Drogheda Musical Society, both gave first class performances. The drama groups, the workmans, St. Mary's, St. Philomenas, and St. Bridgets. All the visiting theatre groups played there, Anew McMaster, Michael MacLiamoir and Hilton Edwards. It was here I first saw Jimmy O'Dea and Maureen Potter.

Feis na Boinne was founded in the forties and attracted great crowds to the GAA grounds each year on the third Sunday in June. I was later to help in the Feis and felt very privileged. Poiltics were very strong in that period and the large crowds that attended the public meetings either at the Tholsel or down outside the Custom House. The parades to the meeting were fantastic and the hecklers were always on top of their form. The Drogheda and Reed band must be mentioned as they played at all occasions, football matches including Croke Park, political parades, processions and rectitals at Donor's Green and the Ramparts.

Summer was seaside time, the crowds going up the Dublin Road for the train to Laytown and the same road filling up again on the late evening on their return. Others took the bus to Mornington or Termonfeckin or Clougherhead. Cycling to Mornington for a swim after work, anyone remember where the "Ministers Hole" was? It was a popular bathing sopt for swimmers at Mornington Village, there was a path to the central channel of the Boyne opposite the old church in the village and there was a natural pool of deep water which did not vary with the tides. There was also a spring board for diving, our parents never knew we used it as it was quite deep.

I have only remembered some of the activities available in my youth and I must be nostalgic for my own street in the town. Narrow West Street was my street, at that time it was a lived in street with the best of neighbours, as far as I can see there is only one of the old names left, Callan the computer shop. I trust I may have stirred up old memories for some and for the younger reader to know that Drogheda was a great town to be born and to live in.

Whitaker Lecture

This evening, Tuesday 11th March @6:30pm – The Whitaker Lecture.

Speakers from the Civic Trust will speak on current projects and the main lecture will be given by Frank Ledwidge, a grand nephew of local poet Francis Ledwidge at the Westcourt Hotel, Drogheda.

Frank Ledwidge is a barrister and author who has served with the British army in several war zones, working on areas as diverse as bringing war criminals to justice to rebuilding the government institutions after war and crisis.

This is a free event hosted by the Drogheda Civic Trust.

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,


Doing a Field Names Project

Tomorrow, Tuesday 11th March @8pm – Doing a Field Names Project – a Rewarding Experience (Illustrated) by Joan Mullen at the Barbican, St. Peter’s Parish Centre, Drogheda.

This is a County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society Event.

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,