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St. Laurence's Gate


St. Laurence's Gate Drogheda Louth

St. Laurence’s Gate (Formerly Great East Gate)

Living with town walls

This is the external barbican that stood on the east side of St Laurence’s Gate. It is a defensive structure with two strong round towers and a portcullis gate. There was once a timber platform between the towers from which the portcullis would have been operated.

If you look to the right down Featherbed Lane, you will see the most impressive remains of the town wall. It was a massive stone structure, with a round-headed arcade on the inner face to support a wall walk.

After Dublin, Drogheda was the most important town in medieval Ireland. This meant that the earthen rampart and ditch, constructed after the town was founded (about 1172), was soon replaced by a stone wall financed from murage grants (the first dated to 1234) that matched standards set in England. St Laurence’s Gate, one of the three medieval gates in the north town (the others were Sunday’s Gate to the north and West Gate), is a testimony to the impressiveness of Drogheda’s defences.

The walls and gates were maintained until the late eighteenth century. After 1787 the Council Book records their progressive dismantling. However, people retained memories of the gates well into the nineteenth century as the only places to enter and leave the town: “… it is within the recollection of many, how solemnly they used to be closed at the ninth hour, and a watchman assigned to each, through whom ingress or egress might be obtained till midnight, when the keys of all were deposited in the central guard-house, and no further thoroughfare was tolerated until morning.” (John D’Alton, History of Drogheda (1844))

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