Shopping Spraoi: Drogheda
The medieval town on the Boyne has evolved into a shopping stronghold
Drogheda is a medieval town less than 10-minutes’ drive from the Unesco world heritage site at Newgrange, Brú na Bóinne. Situated on the river Boyne, it has witnessed much bloodshed in its long history.
Oliver Cromwell laid siege to it in 1649. And Oliver Plunkett, who set up a Jesuit college in the town, was executed at Tyburn in 1681. His gruesome-looking preserved head can be viewed at St Peter’s parish church, one of two churches in the town called St Peter’s.
The second St Peter’s is where a cottage market is held once a month. The town is also home to a vibrant weekly farmers’ market, held on Fridays on its premier shopping thoroughfare, West Street.
The Drogheda area, which includes parts of Meath, Laytown and Bettystown, has three shopping centres and two retail parks. Their gravitational pull has impacted the city centre shoppingscape, with several cool little boutiques falling victim to the recession.
The haggle-friendly Emporium World of Furniture (087-2138797 emporiumworldoffurniture.com), has evolved out of the downturn, and has everything from appliances to sitting-room suites, retro furniture and some antique pieces. Here are some other interesting shops to browse.
Less than €20: Former hotelier Paul Hughes opened the Irish Farm Cheese Store and Cafe with his partner Frances Kinsella in April 2015. His bestselling cheese is Bellingham Blue, made using raw milk from a single closed herd less than a kilometre away, €3.70 per 100g. Filled slate cheeseboards, with crackers, chutneys and olives, cost from €29. The couple make their own spelt breads using local flour.
Irish Farm Cheese Store and Cafe, Unit 18, Peter Street Mall, Laurence Shopping Centre; 041-9838747; irishfarmcheesestore.com
Less than €50: Irish cosmetics brand Fuschia Make-Up is a firm fixture for in-the-know beauty fans. Its Boom Brow, €15.50, a smudgeproof brow-sculpting cream, recently won an Image magazine Beauty Award. But it is the mineral foundation, €45, and Magic Face contouring kit, €35, that are the real hero products. Fuschia Make-Up, Unit G34, Scotch Hall Shopping Centre; 041-9801563; fuschia.ie
Less than €100: Jackie Jolliffe works as a lecturer in computing at Dundalk DIT. Possessing a lifelong love of craft, she set up The Crafty Fox in 2011, selling fabrics, crochet and knitting paraphernalia. Crochet is now far more popular than knitting, but Jolliffe offers classes in both, starting from €60 for six lessons. You can also sign up for a quilt-making class, €150, while the materials needed to design and make a king-size quilt will set you back about another €120. Its sister online shop is puddlecrafts.ie, where you can also buy these adorable Tilda sewing sets, €14.95 each.
The Crafty Fox, 33 Shop Street, Drogheda; 041-9873616; thecraftyfox.ie
Less than €500: Everyone from OAPS to long-haul truckers have their eyes tested at opticians Crilly & McGrath, in business since the 1960s. Mr Crilly is now deceased but the shop still bears his name. Robbie McGrath, who joined the practice in the mid-1970s, runs the specialty shop which offers eye tests, €30 for the standard and €15 for driving licenses, and stocks a plethora of frames by fashion houses, from Caroline Herrera and Furla, both €159, Escada, €187 to Vera Wang, €235. Crilly & McGrath, 50, St Laurence St, Drogheda; 041-9837491
Over €1,000: Mahers Photographic is a chemist-cum-photography shop that has been in business for 87 years. Printing is now very popular, says manager Seamus Counihan, with easy-to-use plug-in printers drawing a younger generation back to the idea of hard-copy photographs. The shop is also an agent for Canon, Nikon and Fuji cameras. If photography is your passion, Counihan suggests a top-of-the-range Canon 6, costing €1,700 for camera only, which gives great depth of field and definition. Mahers Photographic, 105 West Street, Drogheda; 041-9836205; maherphoto.ie
Down Time: Saint or sinner? Saintly clean eaters should make a beeline for The Bare Food Company. It uses fresh and locally produced organic ingredients with no chemicals or refined sugars. The Bare Food Company, 15 West Street, Drogheda, 041-9835529 ; For a sinful sugar rush head to the Brown Hound Bakery for a confection selection that changes daily. Bryanstown Centre, Dublin Road, Drogheda, 041-9833792, brownhound.ie