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West Street (opposite the Tholsel)


Opposite the Tholsel West Street Drogheda Louth

What is a Tholsel?

This is the centre of Drogheda. The were two boroughs of Drogheda, one north of the River Boyne in the parish of St Peter, the other to the south of the river in the parish of St Mary. This was the centre of the north borough. When the boroughs were united in 1412 this became the centre of Drogheda. The first recorded market was held here in 1366. By then there was a Tholsel, a building that could have been used for any number of public, civic and commercial functions. It could accommodate meetings of councillors and court sessions, operate as a market house, and as a prison.

The sign depicts a good image of the Tholsel that was substantially rebuilt in 1658. It was on the site of the present Tholsel, and its two facades are shown on an engraving on Joseph Ravell’s map of 1749. It was a timber structure with battlemented walls and a big square corner tower that dominated the town. A gallery, where the merchants gathered in public view, separated the prison on the ground floor from the public offices above.

Deemed unfit for use in 1763, the original Tholsel was demolished, and the council and courts moved temporarily to the mayoralty building (which still stands on The Mall). The builder and architect George Darley produced a winning design for a new Tholsel (the one we see today, completed in 1770) in which the older building was reinvented in a stately classical idiom. It is entirely at home in the centre of Drogheda, and its threestage tower with clock, belfry and crowning cupola is a well-loved landmark.

It was leased to the Hibernian Bank in 1890 when Drogheda Corporation relocated to the cornmarket near Fair Street. Drogheda Civic Offices now occupy this premises in the former cornmarket. The Tholsel is now a tourist information centre.

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