This bend in the Boyne has been desirable right back to 910, when the Danes built a fortified settlement here. In the 12th century, the Normans added a bridge and expanded the two settlements on either side of the river. They also built a large defensive motte-and-bailey castle on the southern side at Millmount. By the 15th century, Drogheda was one of Ireland’s four major walled towns and a major player in Irish affairs.
In 1649, Drogheda was the scene of Cromwell’s most notorious Irish slaughter and things went from bad to worse in 1690 when the town backed the wrong horse at the Battle of the Boyne and surrendered the day after the defeat of James II.
Despite a boom in the 19th century, when Drogheda became a textile and brewing centre, the town has never really hit its stride and today it struggles to break the shackles of a century-long torpor, although the current economy is starting to make some big differences.