"DROGHEDA, comprises the parishes of St. Peter and St. Mary; is a market town, municipal and parliamentary borough, exercising separate jurisdiction, but locally situated in the counties of Louth and Meath, in the province of Leinster, Ireland, 26 miles N. of Dublin, with which city it is connected by railway. It comprises an area of 5,780 acres, extending along both banks of the Boyne, about 4 miles from its embouchure into the Irish Sea. This place is supposed to have derived its name from Droighad Atha, signifying in the Irish language "a bridge," from the erection of a bridge over the Boyne. At a very early period a monastery was founded here for canons of the order of St. Augustine. In 1229 and 1247 Henry III. granted charters conferring on the town the same privileges as Dublin; and thirty years later the burgesses of Drogheda were empowered to elect a mayor, to exercise exclusive jurisdiction. This town was always considered, in municipal privileges and political importance, as on an equality with Dublin, Waterford, Cork, and Limerick; and some of the most remarkable parliaments assembled by the lords-deputies were held here.
The two boroughs, situated on the opposite banks of the river, were separately governed under their respective charters, until the time of Henry IV., who, in 1412, united both boroughs under one corporation, and erected the town and suburbs into a county of itself. This was done to prevent the dissensions which were continually occurring between the two corporations; and since then the united borough has been governed by a mayor, 2 sheriffs, 23 aldermen, common councilmen, and other officers. In 1641 it was besieged by Sir Phelim O'Nial, but ineffectually; and in 1649 Cromwell, on landing at Dublin, marched against the town, which, after a vigorous resistance, was forced to succumb, when the whole garrison was put to the sword. In the revolutionary war the town was garrisoned by the forces of James II., and in its immediate vicinity the battle of the Boyne was fought on the 30th June, 1609. The town then fell into the hands of William III. Drogheda is advantageously situated on the great N. road from Dublin to Belfast. The river Boyne divides the town in two unequal portions. The streets are regular, and the houses well built; especially those in the chief street and on the quay. The town returns one member to parliament. The assizes, quarter sessions, and petty sessions are held here.
The principal public buildings are three Protestant churches, two Roman Catholic chapels, one of which is the cathedral of the diocese of Armagh; three friaries, four nunneries, the mansion-house, an endowed school, town prison, linen hall, custom-house, inland revenue office, corn-market, savings-bank, and infantry barracks-The town has been divided into three wards-Westgate, Fairgate, and Lawrencegate; the rural portion into baronies, and transferred to the adjoining counties: the portion N. of the Boyne to Louth, and S. to Meath. The chief manufactures are coarse linen, leather, soap, and candles. There are also several iron foundries, salt-works, breweries, and corn-mills. The port carries on a very extensive trade with Liverpool, Canada, and Nova Scotia. Its exports are corn, linen, cattle, butter, cloth, &c. The harbour is very advantageous for commerce, enabling vessels of 400 tons to moor; and at its entrance are three lighthouses. The inland trade is greatly facilitated by the Boyne navigation to Navan. The town comprises the parishes of St. Peter, St. Mary, and part of that of Ballymakenny. The living of each is a vicarage The Roman Catholic parish of St. Peter is coextensive with that of the Established Church; St. Mary's comprises the parishes of Colpe and Kilsharvan. There are places of worship for Presbyterians and Wesleyan Methodists. Here are three friaries, dedicated respectively to St. Francis, St. Augustine, and St. Dominick; and also two nunneries, both devoted to religious instruction. There are here also one of the classical schools under the trustees of Erasmus Smith, an institution for the widows of Protestant clergymen, an almshouse called the Poorhouse of St. John, and an infirmary. The religious foundations of this place were anciently very numerous, and of several there are still some remains. On the N. side of the river are those of the Augustinian priory supposed to have been founded by St. Patrick. Near the town is a stone called Clough Patrick, or St. Patrick's Stone. Some remains of the old church of St. Mary and of the Dominican abbey are still existing. Various remains of earthworks and traces of military operations are still to be seen at several of the stations occupied by Cromwell. Of the ancient walls, beyond which the present town extends, the most curious and perfect portion is the gate of St. Lawrence. Fairs are held every other month, and markets on Thursday and Saturday."
[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2018]
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