Drogheda, on the Boyne is a medieval town just 20 minutes from Dublin Airport. Drogheda is the gateway to the world famous Boyne Valley region and the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Newgrange. Rich in heritage yet young at heart, the largest town in Ireland still has a village feel and a wealth of unique attractions within walking distance of each other. Drogheda derives its name from the Irish Droichead Átha meaning ‘Bridge of the Ford’. It is the largest town in Co. Louth – Ireland’s smallest county – which is named after Lugh, the great God of the Celts.
Quiet lanes reminiscent of times gone by feed into bustling thoroughfares and shopping areas, with an abundance of restaurants, cafés and nightlife. Take the heritage trail around some of the ancient sites within the town’s old walls. The mighty River Boyne – source of myth and legend slices through the town, yet unites this ancient ground. Throughout its history Drogheda has been a site of military civil and ecclesiastical importance.
St. Laurence’s Gate, which led to the Friary of St. Laurence, is widely regarded as one of the finest of its kind in Europe. It consists of two lofty circular towers, connected together by a wall, in which there is an archway. It was originally known as the east gate but it was renamed in the 14th century because the street led to the Hospital of St. Laurence.
The story of Drogheda is told at Millmount Tower and Museum, which is located high above the town within a Napoleonic-era Martello Tower, which itself was built on a Norman motte (and perhaps an even earlier prehistoric burial mound).
Down in the town centre, St. Peter’s Church, housing the shrine of St. Oliver Plunkett, a Catholic martyr executed in London in 1681.
At the east end of the town, near St. Laurence’s Gate, is the Protestant St. Peter’s Church. This 19th century church occupies the original location of probably Drogheda's earliest religious site. In the graveyard can be seen the 16th century cadaver tomb of Sir Edward Goldyng and his wife Elizabeth Fleming. These macabre tombs, depicting the body in a skeletal or decaying state, were made in the 16th-17th century to remind people of mortality and the briefness of life.
Drogheda is the ideal centre from which to visit the nearby treasures of Newgrange, Brú na Bóinne, Monasterboice, Oldbridge (Battle of the Boyne) and Mellifont. Close to the town is Beaulieu House, a fine 17th century house with beautiful gardens to explore (by appointment to pre-booked groups).
There is no end of fun to be had at Funtasia Waterpark, Drogheda, and Funtasia Amusement Park, Bettystown. Funtasia Water Park has a huge range of activities for every age group. For the younger ones we have a wonderful multi-level play area, while the young and the young at heart can enjoy our wall-climbing, zip-lining, crazy golf and bowling. There is also a state of the art casino on the site. More family fun awaits at Funtasia Bettystown including bowling, fairground rides, games arcade and Jungle Zone Play Area.
For more information on what Drogheda has to offer see or drop by the Drogheda Tourist Information Office, located in the historic Tholsel building on West Street. For historic walking tours see Millmount Museum or explore your own way on the Drogheda Walks or Boyne Valley Camino.
Arts, Music and Culture
Witness the vibrant culture celebrated in the towns’ many festivals and venues. In 2018 and 2019 Drogheda hosted Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the largest traditional Irish music festival in the world. The town continues to showcase the best of talen from Ireland and further afield.
The Drogheda Arts Festival is another popular annual event. Set against the backdrop of the Boyne Valley’s cultural capital, Drogheda will be filled with artists both local and international, each daring to display, perform, exhibit and lay bare their work in an attempt to amuse, provoke, entertain and inspire you, their audience. Drogheda is home to many excellent venues for cultural events and exhibitions, including the Droichead Arts Centre, the Tommy Leddy Theatre and the Highlanes Gallery.