There’s a handful of very worthwhile things to do in Drogheda, and there’s endless places to visit nearby.
Drogheda is an excellent base for those of you looking to tackle the Boyne Valley Drive, which takes you to many of the best places to visit in Meath.
The town, which is one of Ireland’s oldest, is mainly based in Louth, although the Southern edges are based in County Meath.
In the guide below, you’ll find a clatter of things to do in Drogheda, from tours and ancient sites to pubs where you’ll find a mighty pint of Guinness.
Our favourite things to do in Drogheda
I’m going to kick-start this drive with what we think are the best things to do in Drogheda – these are things we’ve done once or more over the years, and have enjoyed.
Below, you’ll find everything from the brilliant Millmount Fort to some of the towns more unique attractions along with a couple of food and drink recommendations.
1. Kick-start your visit with breakfast or a coffee-to-go
While there’s lots of popular places for a bit of brekkie in Drogheda, I find myself going back to Five Good Things Cafe over and over again.
If you’re feeling peckish, their pancakes (served with bacon and maple or with Nutella and fruit) and their potato hash (crispy potato, black pudding, red onion marmalade, garlic rocket, two soft poached eggs & parmesan) are hard to beat.
You can also just grab a coffee and then head off on your merry way, if you like!
2. Then take a wander up to Millmount Fort
If you’re looking for places to visit in Drogheda when the weathers bad, head up to the brilliant Millmount Fort.
Shortly after Hugh de Lacy was granted the kingdom of Meath in 1172, he constructed a motte and bailey castle on an enormous mound overlooking the River Boyne.
This castle was used to defend the town during Cromwell’s (a right aul pr*ck) siege of Drogheda in 1649. Many years later, in 1808, the old fortifications were knocked down and the present tower was erected.
Millmount Fort received considerable damage in 1922 when it was shelled by Free State forces during the Civil War. It was restored and made open to the public in 2000. If you fancy diving into the considerable history the area boasts, take one of the guided museum tours.
3. See more of ancient Drogheda at St. Laurence’s Gate
St. Laurence’s Gate was built back in the 13th century as part of the walled fortifications of the medieval town of Drogheda.
Originally one of ten gates into the town, it used to lead into the Friary of St. Laurence and it’s now regarded as one of the finest of its kind to be found in Europe.
Although there isn’t much to do at the gate, it’s a lovely little bit of history nestled between the town’s more modern structures, and acts as a constant reminder of Drogheda’s rich history.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Louth (hikes, walks, scenic drives, beaches and much more)
4. Spend a wet evening tucked away in Clarke’s
Clarke’s is my favourite out of the many pubs in Drogheda. The only thing that annoys me about this place is that it’s so far from where I live!
Clarke’s is one of the oldest pubs in Drogheda, and it dates back to 1900. Although many years have past since it first opened its doors, it has managed to maintain much of its charm and character.
If you’re a fan of Guinness, you’ll find what’s arguably the best pint in the town right here.
5. Gawk up at the unusual and beautiful Magdalene Tower
If you’re looking for things to do in Drogheda that’ll immerse you in the town’s past, get to Magdalene Tower (on the left in the photo above). It was constructed in the 14th century and served as the belfry tower to a large Dominican Friary which was founded in 1224 by the Archbishop of Armagh.
It was here that the Ulster chiefs submitted to the King of England in 1367. As was the case with St Laurence’s Gate, there isn’t anything to do here, aside from gazing up at it.
However, this beautifully unique structure has stood the test of time and gives you a sense of what the town may have been like centuries ago.
6. Sample some of Drogheda’s food scene
There’s some outstanding restaurants in Drogheda, and many of them are very reasonable, with mains starting at €8.50.
Our favourite spots in the town are Aisha’s Cafe & Bistro (the pizza here is the business) and Sorrento’s (you’ll find tasty pasta dishes for ridiculously good value). Another of our go-to spots is Goodwins Steakhouse, inside the D Hotel.
There’s a great early bird here where you can nab 2 courses for €22. Read our Drogheda food guide to find out more.
Other popular places to visit in Drogheda (and nearby)
Now that we have our favourite things to do in Drogheda out of the way, it’s time to see what else this corner of Louth has to offer.
Below, you’ll find plenty of other things to see in Drogheda, along with lots of nearby attractions.
1. See Oliver Plunkett’s head
Next up is one of the more unique things to do in Drogheda – the head of St. Oliver Plunkett. You’ll find it in St. Peter’s Church in the town… but how did it end up there?!
Plunkett was accused of plotting a French invasion by the Privy Council of England. He was arrested in Dublin in December 1679 and imprisoned in Dublin Castle.
He was falsely accused and declared guilty of high treason in June 1681 and condemned to death. He was then hanged, drawn and quartered in Middlesex on 1 July 1681 at age 55.
His body was buried in two tin boxes until it was exhumed in 1683 and moved to the Benedictine monastery in Germany. His head was then brought to Rome. And then to Armagh… It was eventually moved to Drogheda in June of 1921 where it has been since.
2. Take a spin out to Mellifont Abbey
You’ll find the Cisterian Mellifont Abbey a stone’s throw from Drogheda town. Mellifont, which was constructed in 1152, was the first of the order’s kind to be built in Ireland.
Although this is one that’ll appeal more to those interested in history, these beautiful old ruins are well worth dropping by.
You can nip into the Visitor Centre here and check out an interesting exhibition on the work of masons in the Middle Ages. You’ll also find some fine examples of their craft on display.
3. Visit one of many nearby beaches
There are some brilliant beaches near Drogheda, many of which are less than a 20-minute drive from the centre of the town.
The closest are Mornington Beach (10-minute drive), Seapoint Beach (10-minute drive) and Clogherhead Beach (15-minute drive). There’s also Bettystown Beach and Laytown Beach less than 15 minutes away.
If you have time, aim from Clogherhead. It’s here that you’ll find the brilliant Clogherhead Cliff Walk, which takes between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on your route.
4. Get cultured at the Highlanes Municipal Art Gallery
This is another handy one for those of you looking for things to do in Drogheda when it’s raining. Highlanes Municipal Art Gallery opened its doors in 2006 to deliver a dedicated visual arts space for Ireland’s north-east.
The gallery has boasts a variety of Irish art from the early 20th century along with a number of important 18th Century works.
You’ll find the gallery in the former Drogheda Franciscan Church and tours here are suitable for groups of all sizes.
5. See Muiredach’s High Cross and a big aul round tower
Monasterboice in County Louth is home to the High Cross of Muiredach – one of the finest pieces of early medieval sculpture in Ireland.
Standing at 5 metres tall, the High Cross is the work of a master stonemason and is believed to have been crafted in the 9th or 10th century.
On your visit, take a stroll over to the enormous round tower. Standing at an impressive 35 metres high, the Monasterboice round tower was used as a watchtower and refuge by monks during times of Viking attack.
6. Take the kids to Funtasia Drogheda
While there’s plenty of things to do in Funtasia to keep the kids busy, it’s the waterpark that steals the show. The indoor Waterpark is home to over 30,000 sq feet of water, and kids can take part in 200 water-based activities.
From super slides and fun play areas to toddlers splash and an adult-only jacuzzi, there’s a little bit of something for everyone here.
Perfect if you’re looking for things to do in Drogheda with kids when it’s lashing down outside.
7. Visit Bru na Bonnie
You’ll find Bru na Bonnie a handy 15-minute spin from Drogheda – the visitor centre is the gateway to Newgrange and Knowth – two of Ireland’s most notable prehistoric structures.
These prehistoric tombs are incredibly old and scholars believe that they were built around 3,200 BC. This means that these tombs are older than both Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids!
If you’re visiting, make sure to book your tickets in advance, as this is one of the most popular things to do in Meath, so it gets busy.
8. Immerse yourself in the story of the Battle of the Boyne
The Battle of the Boyne Visitors Centre is a stone’s throw from Drogheda, and it tells the story of the battle beautifully via immersive exhibitions and reconstructions.
Now, if you’re not interested in the battle itself, don’t worry – there’s a wonderful walled garden here and several walking trails, too.
The impressive Visitor Centre has excellent facilities within the restored 18th century Oldbridge House. The anticipation begins with the cannon mounted on the driveway as you approach the building.
9. Soak up the best Slane has to offer
The lovely little village of Slane is a handy 15-minute drive from the town, and it’s perfect for those of you looking to interesting things to do near Drogheda.
Make your first stop Slane Castle. You can tour the castle or the on-site whiskey distillery. There’s also a food truck and a trail that takes you through the extensive grounds.
When you’re finished, head up to the ancient Hill of Slane. This place is steeped in history and mythology, as you’ll discover here.
What to do in Drogheda: Where have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant places to visit in Drogheda from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the various things to see in Drogheda
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the best places to visit near Drogheda?’ to ‘What is there to do when it rains?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best things to do in Drogheda?
In my opinion, the best places to visit in Drogheda are the Millmount Fort, St. Peter’s Church, Magdalene Tower and St. Laurence’s Gate.
What are the best places to visit near Drogheda?
As Drogheda is part of the Boyne Valley Drive, there’s endless things to see and do nearby, from Bru na Bonnie to the Hill of Slane and much, much more.
Are there any unique things to do in Drogheda?
Arguably the most unique thing to do is to see the head of St. Oliver Plunkett which you can find in St. Peter’s Church.