DROGHEDA (pronounced “droch – as in loch – edda”) was once two separate Viking settlements, huddled together on either side of the River Boyne. These developed into twin towns during the Anglo-Norman period, whose intermittent rivalry was quashed by a royal charter uniting the pair in 1412. The town incurred the most infamous onslaught of Cromwell’s Irish campaign of 1649 when its defending garrison and many inhabitants were massacred by the Lord Protector’s army.

Today, Drogheda is a thoroughly enjoyable place to visit, with a lively arts scene, and its old docks, once the focus for the numerous trades that developed here during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, are being redeveloped with vitality, not least in the shape of the huge Scotch Hall shopping centre on the south side of the river.