Just 48km north of Dublin, Drogheda is a historic fortified town straddling the River Boyne. A clutch of fine old buildings, a handsome cathedral and a riveting museum provide plenty of cultural interest, while its atmospheric pubs, fine restaurants, numerous sleeping options and good transport links make it an excellent base for exploring the region.
This bend in the fertile Boyne Valley has been a desirable location 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. By the 15th century, Drogheda was one of Ireland's four largest walled towns.
The 17th century brought devastation, however, when Drogheda was the scene of Cromwell's most notorious Irish slaughter in 1649. 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.
During the Celtic Tiger years, the city became a cheaper alternative for Dublin commuters, triggering new developments along the riverfront. Today, Drogheda remains a thriving multicultural regional hub.