Interesting Facts … Did You Know?
The stones used to build Newgrange were transported by sea from Wicklow and Down and then brought up the river.
The first maps showing the Boyne date back to 150ad when it was called Bovinda on a map drawn by Egyptian cartogropher Ptolemy and somewhat later Giradus of Whales called it Boandus.
It was in the River Boyne that Fionn mac Cumhail captured Fiontán, the Salmon of Knowledge.
In 432ad, St. Patrick landed at the mouth of the Boyne and made his way along the river to Slane.
There are several mentions in the Annals of the Four Masters of Vikings, wintering on the boyne, 60 ships were here in 837ad. In 2006, the remains of a viking ship were found in the river bed in Drogheda during dredging operation.
In 1032 the Viking King Sitric Silkenbeard, won a great victory against a coalition of three kingdoms at the mouth of the River Boyne.
Throughout the 16th Century, Drogheda traded with Liverpool on a wide scale. The main export was linen yarn and between 1565-1598, 135 sailings left Drogheda with yard for Liverpool.
In 1588 when Red Hugh O’Donnell, Prince of Donegal, escaped from prison in Dublin Castle, he fled to Drogheda. Unable to enter the town, he paid a fisherman to row both himself and his colleagues across the river Boyne before heading north to safety.
In the winter of 1641-1642, the Irish Confederacy under Sir Phelim O’Neill, laid siege to the town of Drogheda by placing beams across the Boyne. The town was defended by Sir Henry Tichburn (who built Beaulieu House) and the siege was lifted in March 1642.
The Maiden Tower at Mornington was built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth (hence the name”Maiden Tower”) as a beacon to aid mariners on their way into Drogheda port. It was used as a landmark to mark the mouth of the Boyne.
The cannons used by Oliver Cromwell, eleven heavy, 48 pounder, siege artillery pieces, were transported by sea from Dublin, then up the Boyne and landed outside the town walls.
Thomas Wright, an officer in Simon Bolivar’s army and credited with founding the Ecuadorian Navy was born in Queensboro in 1799.
The daughter of Admiral Lord Collingwood who took over from Nelson after his death at Trafalgar, married Anthony Denny and her daughter Patience married Richard Johnston Montgomery of Beaulieu House.
In 1826, The Drogheda Steampacket Company was formed with regular sailings to Liverpool and Glasgow.
During the famine, it was estimated that more than 100,000 people left Drogheda Port. In 1847 at the height of the famine, the fare to Liverpool rose from 2 shillings to 5 shillings, leaving many people stranded in Drogheda.
Captain Willian Blight of Mutiny on the Bounty fame, designed the stone beacons in the river, where fires were lit to guide ships into port.
In 1844, the railway from Dublin to Drogheda opened and in 1855 the Boyne Viaduct was opened, at a cost of £124,000 to the design of Sir John McNeill.
To find out more about Drogheda’s Maritme History click here to read more on the Drogheda Port Company website.
Scholars Townhouse Hotel is home to the John Philip Holland Memorial.
John Philip Holland, born in County Clare in 1841, the son of a lighthouse keeper, he attended the Christian Brothers School in Limerick and later joined the Christian Brothers in cork.
In 1865, he arrived at the Christian Brothers Monastery in Drogheda, now Scholars Townhouse Hotel, where he took up the post of music and mathematics teacher. Through this time, he never abandoned his passion for engineering and applying mathematical solutions to engineering problems.
It was during his residence here, that he designed the submersible mechanical Duck which could walk around the garden, swim, dive and resurface when put in the water. He then designed what was to become the world’s first workable submarine, The Fenian Ram.
In 1873, Holland left the Christian Brothers and Ireland for America to pursue turning his submarine design into an actual vessel. He secured funding from the Boston based Fenian Organisation to establish the Electric Boat company which still exists today as the submarine manufacturing division of General Dynamics.
He supplied the US Navy with their first ever submarine which was named the USS Holland. He also supplied the first submarine to The Royal Navy which they named HMS Holland 1. The Emperor of Japan bestowed on him their highest civilian honour “The Order of The Rising Sun” and he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame 2007.
The actual submarine, The Fenian Ram, is permanently on display at the Patterson Museum, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The memorial in Scholars Townhouse Hotel is to celebrate his association with Drogheda and commemorate the extraordinary contributions of John Philip Holland to Naval and Maritime engineering worldwide.
RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution)
The RNLI is a registered charity that saves lives at sea and on inland waters. It provides, on call, a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service up to 100 nautical miles out from our coast. In 2014 RNLI Lifeboats launched 1,089 times and rescued 1,414 people. There are some 1,500 lifeboat crew members in Ireland, forming crews at 45 lifeboat stations, 3 of which are inland. The RNLI in Ireland operates 58 lifeboats at those 45 lifeboat stations. These lifeboats cover the 5,631 km (3,500 miles) of Irish coastline and three inland waters on Lough Erne, Lough Ree and Lough Derg. Lifeboat men and women are mostly volunteers. The RNLI provides them with the best possible training, to ensure that they can carry out their difficult and sometimes dangerous rescues safely. That training has never been more important. New crewmembers need to know how to use hi-tech equipment and fast, sophisticated lifeboats. As a result, the RNLI is committed to giving crews the highest standards of training available.
The RNLI is constantly developing its lifesaving capabilities and providing the lifeboat crews with the very best in technology and equipment. This year the first Shannon class lifeboat was introduced into Ireland. The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet and the first to be propelled by water jets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet. As with all RNLI all-weather lifeboats, the Shannon is designed to be inherently self-righting, returning to an upright position in the event of capsize. Once rolled out, the entire all-weather lifeboat fleet will be capable of 25 knots, making the lifesaving service more efficient and effective than ever before. As well as carrying out rescues, the RNLI also aims to save lives at sea by preventing people from getting into difficulty in the first place. The charity provides safety advice and resources for all sorts of sea users, from fishermen and sailors to motorboaters and beach users.
The RNLI is completely independent of Government and relies on the generosity of the public for its income. To continue providing a ring of safety around Ireland, the charity relies on the crucial efforts of volunteers – crew members, station personnel or fundraisers – and the generosity of its supporters, whose voluntary contributions keep the charity afloat. Since the charity was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews have saved more than 140,000 lives around the coast of Ireland and the UK.