WhereOld Abbey Lane Top of Fr. Connolly Way Drogheda Louth
How Drogheda began
Within about 50 years of Drogheda’s foundation (on either side of the Boyne) the process of building a wall to define and defend the town had begun, with the first recorded murage grant dating to 1234. The walls were largely in place by the end of the 1200s.
A number of religious foundations came to Drogheda in the thirteenth century; the Dominicans (founded 1224), Franciscans (founded c.1240), Augustinians (founded post-1272). Early industrial activity was connected to building – quarrying and lime manufacture and also ship building and repair. Milling was soon established, with a royal licence dated 1208 granted to Walter de Lacy to erect a mill. Pottery was manufactured by the early inhabitants.
By the end of the thirteenth century Drogheda was established as a port for the export of produce from the lands of Meath and as a strategic base between Dublin and Ulster.
Hugh de Lacy, the Anglo-Norman installed in 1172 as Henry II’s deputy in Ireland, saw the potential of the site at Drogheda. The lowest crossing point of the River Boyne, it was the place to establish a port and coastal communication with Dublin. The south side with its steep escarpment was naturally defensive, while the north side was suitable for more extensive urban development.
Drogheda began as two towns. As the area to the north of the river lay in the diocese of Armagh and that to the south in the diocese of Meath, there were two parishes, for each of which a church was founded: St Peter’s and St Mary’s. Two administrative areas developed, each with a market cross and Tholsel. The basic street pattern emerged in tandem with the granting of development plots, the earliest grants dating to c.1185.