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Wednesday, 16th June 2021

Pio Smith’s exciting vision for The Dale

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A sketch by architect Turlough McKevitt showing a possible viewing point overlooking the Dale. 

Viewing point and walking routes in plan for Drogheda’s most historic area

Councillor Pio Smith has unveiled ambitious and exciting plans for the development of the Dale area of Drogheda which, if and when they are implemented, will include a walking route and viewing point overlooking a large stretch of the historic town walls.

The idea grew out of a tidy-up of the area that was carried out by volunteers at the Red Door Project, where Councillor Smith works, back in 2018. CLICK HERE to read our previous story. 

During that work the volunteers exposed a section of the old town wall at the Mollies which had been buried under thick vegetation for many years.

"The Dale is a remarkably unaltered fragment of Drogheda's history landscape and links modern Drogheda with the historic townscape” Councillor Smith told Drogheda Life.

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He has suggested to Louth County Council that they use funding from the outdoor recreation scheme to help transform the area so that Drogheda residents, casual walkers, tourists and historic interest groups could avail of this unique town centre amenity.

“The Dale was the site of Cromwell's attack on Drogheda and where the battle with the defending citizens of the town took place” he said.

St. Mary's Church as seen from the top of the 101 steps at the Dale and below the same scene as depicted in a very old engraving.

“A number of key historical buildings are located in close proximity and linking these through the Dale helps to maximise Drogheda's tourist potential.

“The Dale is not only an historic area of Drogheda, it is also rich in biodiversity. “The creation of a Green Walking Route could overlap with a tourist walking route running from St Peter's Church of Ireland on Peter Street, continue past the new Grammar School development, through Laurence Gate, Constitution Hill over Scotch Hall and into the Dale.

“From here we can create the Dale Green Route by improving walking routes at Patrickswell Steps, street lighting and creating a biodiversity garden at Bully's Acre.

“Also, up to 50 metres of the old town wall is buried in land at the top of the bank adjacent to St Mary's Church. A Deed of Guardianship between the landowner and the council could be written up and this would allow for the site to be developed as a tourist amenity by Louth County Council” he suggested.

“We have a fantastic opportunity to create something special in this area and increase Drogheda's tourist offering to people living in Ireland, the UK and Europe."

Councillor Smith raised the issue at Monday night’s Borough Council meeting and was told that the Council will examine the ideas along with other provisions for Green infrastructure in Drogheda.

The view across TheDale looking towards St. Mary's Cottages and below architect Turlough McKevitt's sketch of the proposed viewing point.

Architect Turlough McKevitt, who made the sketches accompanying this article, said the hard landscaped space in the drawings might have different uses, picnic area, occasional market place and a sometime performance use. The circular stone enclosure could be provided with a temporary canopy/ roof as weather protection.

“While the Dale is not quite a Himalayan mountain range it could offer a pleasant, historically interesting view with a walk up a ramp into open space.  The seated circular area, combined with information panels might prove to have appeal to the visiting tourist” he said.  

This article was written by Andy Spearman

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