Drogheda: A guide to living and working in this town

Drogheda, the third-largest town in Ireland, is a well-known tourist spot located in County Louth on the Dublin-Belfast corridor. As a town rich with medieval heritage, it’s a hub for many traditional and modern industries.

This satellite town is close neighbours with Dublin – just an hour’s drive from the heart of the city. While many see the Republic’s capital as a competitor for jobs and economic development, it’s actually a more complementary relationship, particularly with Dublin’s airport and Drogheda’s thriving services sector.

Working in Drogheda

Key sectors

Drogheda is home to many sectors. This spans traditional industries such as alcohol brewing, farming and services, to more modern industries such as retail and technology.

The services sector is what makes the town today.  Despite the fall in traditional industry roles, such as material production, there has been a massive growth in service sector jobs over the last 40 years. In fact, the number has risen from 3,000 in 1971, to 9,000 by 2011. This is primarily due to Drogheda’s location. It’s just a half-hour drive north of Dublin airport and hosts an internationally acclaimed port. This location is particularly advantageous for tradeable services.

In fact, since the 1700s, Drogheda has been a thriving commercial centre. It imports and exports a range of goods and luxuries via the Drogheda Port Company. Today, this highly successful state port handles over 1 million tonnes of cargo annually. That’s in addition to over 700 vessel calls.

As you may expect, the town also has a long tradition of brewing and distilling. Companies such as Slane Whiskey, Boann Distillery, Listoke Distillery and Dan Kelly’s Cider reside in the local area. And they’re partnered with or are owned by international companies such as Jameson Whiskey, Jack Daniels and Guinness. Plenty of global opportunities for you right there!

Arts and entertainment is also a strong sector in Drogheda. In addition to annual arts and music festivals, there is also a wealth of theatres and performing arts schools – perfect if you’re a performer, teacher or have skills in the running of these venues.

If you’re an independent musician, you may have your heart set on Dublin. However, you’d actually be better off migrating to Drogheda since your talents will help the local economy and the competition is less fierce.

Employers to note

One key employer to note is the Boyne Valley Group. It’s home to over 20 of Ireland’s iconic market brands, such as McDonnells, Erin soup, Giovanni’s Italian culinary adventures and its very own Boyne Valley Honey.

The group was established in 1960 in Drogheda and is still based there today. As a result, there are plenty of opportunities in the local area as it continues to employ people in key disciplines such as account management, finance, IT, sales, marketing and production.

Another employer worth mentioning is the Drogheda Port Company which has several primary functions. For one, it’s strategically located on the east coast of Ireland paralleling arterial routes to the country’s industrial and commerce centres.

For another, the port is an indigenous employer, running since 1790, and continues to develop business on a commercial, marine, corporate and European scale with its strong reputation leading the way. Needless to say, there are a whole host of jobs at the Drogheda Port Company waiting for you.

Did you know?

Drogheda has a long and very interesting history where key events in this town date back to 500 BC.

Most interestingly though, if you bypass the intrepid Celts from 500 BC, St Patrick in 432 AD, the wayward Vikings of 836 AD and the gentle Cistercians of 1142, you reach the tragic events of the 1600s.

The first siege of Drogheda took place in 1641 during the Irish Rebellion and the Irish Confederate Wars. Catholic forces tried to take hold of the town on multiple occasions due to its strategic strongpoint in guarding the most direct route to Dublin. However, the siege was lifted by English reinforcements from Dublin before any real harm could be done.

On 11th September 1649, the second siege of Drogheda occurred when Oliver Cromwell breached its southern walls as part of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. Cromwell and his army subsequently massacred the Royalist defenders and his name lives on as one of the most hated in Irish history.

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Living in Drogheda

Life in Drogheda

You’ll never be short of things to do in Drogheda.

Every year, Drogheda’s busy commercial port transforms into a hub of friendly, family fun for the Irish Maritime Festival, which celebrates everything from ships, to music, to artisan food.

There are also plenty of opportunities to learn about the heritage of this medieval town through its tourist attractions and walks. Discover the archaeological antiquity of Boyne Valley, including the megalithic passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth and its spectacular views.

If you’re into cycling, you’ll be happy to know that the landscape of Boyne Valley lends itself well to this activity. Even if you don’t have an interest in cycling, bike hires are available in the local area so you can switch up your means of exploring the historical site.

Transport in Drogheda

Transport links in Drogheda are excellent. However, since the town is so rich in employment opportunities, only one in five residents work more than 45 minutes away from home.

Regarding road links, Drogheda is close to the M1. It’s iconic Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge, which is the longest cable-stayed bridge in Ireland at 3km, transports traffic from the M1 across the River Boyne to the western region of the town. In addition, if you drive along the M1 southbound for just over half an hour and you’ll reach Dublin Airport.

Drogheda (MacBride) train station will also take you across the country. The station has three lines operated by Irish Rail and Enterprise. Route services include direct lines to Dublin Pearse, Dublin Connolly, Dundalk, Newry, Portadown and Belfast Central.

This industrial town is never short of means of transport. In addition to the above, it has an impressive bus network. Bus Eireann not only runs a frequent town service, it also runs a service to Laytown, a night bus service on Fridays and Saturdays and coaches across the country.

House prices in Drogheda

In recent years the Irish property sector has been extremely busy. As a result, house prices across County Louth have risen dramatically by an average of 7% year-on-year. The average house price in Drogheda now stands at €205,000, up 3.8% (€7,500) on the year.

Unfortunately, agents predict that house prices will rise again by 6.1% over the next year. However, you’ll easily find a few properties that skim the €100,000 mark.

Schooling in Drogheda

While Drogheda is a small town, it boasts a range of primary and secondary schools. The town holds five primary schools including St Mary’s Parish Primary School, St Oliver’s National School, Marymount National School, Scoil Aonghusa and St Joseph’s CBS – a senior boys primary school.

In addition, Drogheda has four secondary schools. This includes St Joseph’s and St Mary’s Diocesan which are all-boys schools, Sacred Heart Secondary School which is an all-girls school and Drogheda Grammar School.

Drogheda tops off its educational opportunities with St Ita’s. This is a junior and senior school for those with learning disabilities, and the Drogheda Institute of Further Education for school leavers and adults returning to education.

Does Drogheda sound like the kind of place you might like to live and work? If so, check out jobs in Drogheda to see what opportunities are on the table.

About Laura Slingo

Laura Slingo is a writer, editor and digital marketing professional. She has penned hundreds of career and lifestyle articles for various sites and markets across the globe, including Salesforce and The Guardian. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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