Drogheda and its Surroundings – by William Topaz McGonagall

I’ve recently been criticized for not posting enough poetry about Ireland nor by Irish poets, hence this truly remarkable poem by the inimitable William Topaz McGonagall (who was Scottish, but of Irish descent). Let this be a lesson to you.

The town of Drogheda is situated on the river Boyne, a few miles from the sea,
And is its head-quarters for the exploration of its scenery;
And portions of its ancient walls and two gate towers remain,
And one of them is quite perfect – St. Laurence by name.

The west gate is in a good state of preservation,
And is well worth the tourist’s observation,
Because it will stir in him great admiration,
And raise his spirits to a great elevation.

The ruined Church of St. Mary I must mention,
The tower of which is very fine and worthy of attention,
A structure dating from the fourteenth century,
And deserves special notice, because it is wonderful to see.

Then there’s King William’s Glen and the Boyne valley to be seen,
The spot where King William’s troops charged across the stream;
And an imposing obelisk is there, which marks the spot
Where the Battle of the Boyne was fought, which will never be forgot.

And as the tourist for beautiful spots there doth range
I advise him to view the chambered Tumulus of New Grange,
And there he will see remarkable caves, wonderful to be seen,
And in the summer-time the entrance is beautiful with shrubberies green.

The Monastery of Mellifont is most wonderful to see,
And will repay the tourist who visits the locality,
For within the enclosure is a tower standing 110 feet high,
Which arrests the attention of strangers while passing by.

Then there’s the celebrated Hill of Slane,
Which is a very great height and of historical fame,
Because on Easter Eve St. Patrick lighted the paschal fire
And worshipped God there to his heart’s desire.

Then the tourist should visit the Castle of Dunmoe,
And the scene there will drive from him all woe;
And spend a day or two in visiting Tara and Bective Abbey,
For around there is some great curiosities to see.

Then there’s Lough Erne, most beautiful to be seen,
And dotted with beautifully wooded isles, charming and green,
And freely thrown open for public inspection
For the visitor’s amusement, and to which the proprietor has no objection.

There the tourist will find comfortable accommodation,
And nothing short of pleasant recreation;
For there’s boating and fishing if the tourist wishes,
Which will be excellent sport while catching the big and little fishes.

Then ye lovers of beautiful scenery away! away!
To Drogheda, in Ireland, and have a holiday,
And view the romantic scenery and inhale pure air,
Emanating from the sea and wild flowers and woodlands there.

written in 1902 by William Topaz McGonagall. I think the “Church of St Mary” referred to is the Church of Ireland church of that name built between 1805 and 1810 on the site of an older (14th Century) Parish Church, and beside a ruined 13th Century Cistercian abbey, but it may also be the Roman Catholic Church of the same name built during 1881 and 1889 (which has the more impressive “tower”)

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