Old Drogheda Society
PRESS STATEMENT - PRESS STATEMENT - PRESS STATEMENT
FROM SEÁN CORCORAN, CHAIRPERSON OLD DROGHEDA SOCIETY AND CHAIR OF BOARD OF MANAGEMENT, DROGHEDA MUSEUM MILLMOUNT
The Old Drogheda Society and Drogheda Museum Millmount call on Louth County Council to purchase the Kingdom Hall on Barrack Lane, Drogheda, and St. Mary’s former Church of Ireland church on Mary’s St., Drogheda, both of which are currently for sale. It is essential that these highly sensitive sites, sitting on a rich heritage of archaeology and history, be brought into community ownership for the benefit of the people of Drogheda and the further enhancement of the attraction of the town for the tourist industry.
The Kingdom Hall sits on the slopes of Millmount and recent geophysical surveys have shown that every inch of this whole area – the oldest part of the Norman town – is full of archaeological interest. It is astonishing that the slopes of this major historical site should have devolved into private ownership and it is surely totally contrary to the public interest that they should become the subject of property speculation. The return of this area to community ownership would facilitate the restoration of the Butter Gate and the development of an approach to the Millmount Complex from the West, with an historical/archaeological park on the slopes of Millmount incorporating a badly-needed expansion of the Museum buildings.
St. Mary’s C. of I. church is on one of the most important historical sites in the town, with the ruins of the earliest ecclesiastical settlements set up by the Normans in the founding of Drogheda and some of the most imposing examples of the old town walls overlooking the Dale. The idea that this should become a private dwelling or an office is unthinkable and the proposal once again exposes Drogheda’s appalling record in heritage conservation to public ridicule in the national media. The site is already part of the highly successful historical town trail developed for the tourist industry by Drogheda Museum Millmount and delivered by guides from the Museum with the kind permission of the Church of Ireland. It deserves to be further secured into community ownership and developed for the benefit of all the people of the town and our visitors.
The sums of money involved are miniscule in the scale of public budgets but the benefits to the people of Drogheda would be immense. We realise that in these Times of Austerity further public funding for maintenance and management would be problematic but the Old Drogheda Society could commit to management and development of these sites for public use until such time as the economy returns, as promised, to prosperity and our heritage resources can be properly funded. We already have a proven track record in the development of Drogheda Museum Millmount, the only voluntary-run museum in Ireland to achieve Full Accreditation Status under the Museum Standards Programme Ireland (MSPI), a standard which even many professional museums have not achieved.
If the public authorities will not purchase these sites and bring them into community ownership the Old Drogheda Society and Drogheda Museum Millmount appeals to all of those who have the heritage of Drogheda and the quality of life of the town at heart to assist us financially in purchasing these sites ourselves, to be held in trust for the people of Drogheda and their future generations.
Old Drogheda Society - History, Archaeology & Heritage
Millmount, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland. Tel. 041-9833097