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Monday, 18th November 2019

Drogheda in the Napoleonic era the hot topic at John Boyle O’Reilly School

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At the Old Drogheda Society John Boyle O’Reilly School were (from left): Des Grant, John McCullen, President of the Old Drogheda Society, Rory McKenna, Brendan Matthews and Pat Fulham. 

This year’s John Boyle O’Reilly School organised by the Old Drogheda Society drew a capacity audience interested in hearing about the history of Drogheda, its landmarks and its people during the Napoleonic era, at the turn of the nineteenth century.

A major topic of discussion was the famous Millmount Tower which was built at this time and whether or not it should be referred as a Martello Tower, like the other Martello towers built at this time as defences against a French invasion. 

Brendan Matthews, local Community Historian and Rory McKenna, who have carried out in-depth research on these towers told the audience of their research and concluded that that Millmount Tower’s construction differs greatly from the other towers built at this time. 

Dr. David Murphy from Maynooth University presented a concise account of the two protagonists in the Battle of Waterloo –The Duke of Wellington who had strong connections with Drogheda and who may have spent some time here in his childhood and his French counterpart, Napoleon Bonaparte.

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The school ended with a very interesting account by Des Grant of some of the many people from Drogheda and its surroundings who left Drogheda and became heroes in the armies and navies of many counties – Admiral Wright who founded the Ecuadorian Navy, Admiral Beaufort from Collon who invented the Wind Scale and who in the 1800’s made a sailing chart for the Royal Navy, and Captain Brabazon who taught Nelson to sail.

Preparations are already for the next John Boyle O’Reilly School which will take place in November 2020.

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