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Old Drogheda and Ireland a look
Drogheda was officially founded in 1194 with the bestowal of a charter on it by Hugh de Lacy. Until 1412 Drogheda consisted of two towns, the de Lacy foundation on the south side and the de Verdun foundation on the north side of the Boyne.
The Magdalene Tower was the belfry tower of the once extensive Dominican Friary founded here about 1224 by Lucas de Netterville, Archbishop of Armagh.
The tower itself is of 14th Century construction and was possibly a later addition to the Friary.
It springs from a fine Gothic Arch, above which there are two further storeys connected by a spiral staircase.
A fine mid eighteenth century built by Alderman James Barlow. With five bays on three floors and a basement, it is a substantial Georgian residence.
It has a fine pedimented gibbsian doorcase with the central window above decorated with a segmental pediment. The building has been attributed to both Richard Cassels and Francis Bindon.
Built on the site of an earlier church, St Peters is a fabulous example of a Georgian church. It has been described as “probably the finest provincial Georgian church in Ireland”.
Dominating the western end is the tower and spire which breaks through the façade. This has the main entrance, a doorway of almost two storeys in height.
The two wings which suggest a pedimented front, contain staircases to the gallery as well as further entrances. It is believed that the fourth stage of the tower and the spire was designed by Franic Johnston and date from around 1793. The roundels in this stage were designed to take clock faces. The nave is three bays long and almost square in plan with a rectanglar sanctuary. The entire building is of limestone.
No trace of the medieval Franciscan Friary of Drogheda survives. In 1798 the Franciscans moved to the present site in Laurence Street.
In 1829 work began on a new church, which was opened in 1830. The church was built into the steep slope that rises from the quay towards Laurence St. and occupies the site of the original friary.
The Church has entrances at ground and gallery level. During the late nineteenth century, weapons belonging to the Fenian movement were stored in the friary.
They were finally discovered in 1990 when a new roof was being put on the Franciscan Friary having long been forgotten.
Unusually built in a Gothic Revival style (Presbyterians tended to favour classical designs at this time), the church bears a strong resemblance to the Church of Ireland in nearby Collon.
Perhaps the same architect was responsible for both churches. Like most public buildings and churches in Drogheda, it is faced with limestone ashlar. The two octagonal turrets on either side of the façade were donated by the Corporation of Drogheda.
On either side of the entrance are two curving staircases down to the basement.
The former Provincial Bank is built of Limestone ashlar with an elaborate façade at streetlevel. The ground floor façade has paired polished granite columns with lush foliage capitals. Above this is an architrave and frieze for bank signage.
The upper storeys are no less elaborate; the first floor windows are round-headed with fluted keystones with shells. The second floor windows also receive a scultural treatment. The entire façade is topped of with a lombardic cornice and fluted brackets. A fine building that stands out.
A small three bay building of rusticated limestone and brick trimmings opposite St Mary’s Church of Ireland. A plaque on the building announces that it was “Erected by Thomas Plunket Cairnes 1879”.
It was built by and probably designed by James Collins, a mason.
Designed by a local architect, P.J. Dodd, St Mary’s is another large Catholic church in a gothic style. The exterior is dominated by the slender tower and spire. At ground level the façade has three large gabled entrances with mouldings and carvings. The interior is richly decorated and very dark.
This is due to the fact that the aisle windows (and there are only windows on one aisle) are filled with very dark stained glass so the only natural light is via the clerestory windows.