Take a walk down 'one of the most derelict streets' in Ireland

It is estimated there are more than 100 empty sites in Drogheda town centre alone
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.55 8 Apr 2024

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Take a walk down 'one of the m...

Take a walk down 'one of the most derelict streets' in Ireland

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.55 8 Apr 2024

Share this article

Dereliction in Drogheda has been branded 'an absolute disgrace' by locals as the town grapples with high vacancy rates.

It is estimated that there are more than 100 empty sites in the town centre alone – with the area Narrow West Street home to up to 20 vacant premises and an empty shopping centre.

John Hurley, who runs Hurley's Delicatessen on the street, told Josh Crosbie for The Pat Kenny Show that when they moved in, they were one of 20 businesses on the street.


"We took a shop on West Street, it was the only vacant shop on West Street, in 1986," he said.

"It's so disappointing when you think of how busy [and] vibrant it was.

"I think a lot has to be looked at over the shops if you got people back living on the street.

"I'll be here for another few years anyway, definitely".

'Absolute disgrace'

Publican Brian Browning said more needs to be done by Louth County Council.

"The main street here was famously known as the Golden Mile Quarter [but] no longer," he said.

"If you look up, not just at the ground level, but If you actually look up the dereliction on most of these buildings is an absolute disgrace.

"The council own a very big building on this street and that hasn't been operating  - it's empty".

'That's got to stop'

Mr Browning said he believes the balance of outlets is all wrong.

"We've too many fast foods, we've too many pound shops, we've too many charity shops, we've too many betting shops - that's got to stop.

"At the turn of this year, we're down about 10% to 15% on last year - why is that?

"People are not coming into the town centre at night."

Dom Gradwell from the Derelict Drogheda Action Group said Narrow West Street is one of the most derelict in the country.

"We're standing in I suppose what could be termed a bomb site because of the levels of dereliction in the street," he said.

"We're just surrounded by empty buildings, derelict buildings, run-down sites.

"I travel quite a bit throughout the country and this is probably one of the most derelict streets in the whole country".

Mr Gradwell said it is a scene of "absolute and total neglect".

"It's one of the main access routes into town so if you're a tourist and you come to Drogheda, one of the first streets you're going to walk down is Narrow West Street.

"It just gives a terrible impression".

Mr Gradwell said his count suggests there are "at least 130 vacant or derelict properties in the town".


Developing Perspectives charity CEO Bobby McCormack said there are wider problems at play.

"I think there's a distinct lack of leadership and imagination when it comes to Drogheda more generally," he said.

"The dereliction and housing end of things is symbolic of that.

"The second thing is around values; we've a serious problem that's underpinning Drogheda more generally.

"We can see that with the state of the River Boyne, we've got a gangland feud in Drogheda - we've got lots of issues that are very interconnected."

Mr McCormack said the dereliction "really signifies what's going on".

'Knock-on effect'

The Punt Pub owner Sarah Taaffe said they really see a drop-off in trade during the week.

"Our business is a vibrant business, it is very busy [on] Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday," she said.

"But unfortunately, that midweek trade that we had from tourists has now more or less disappeared because the largest hotel in the town is no longer accessible for tourism.

"It's had a serious knock-on effect for a lot of businesses including retail, the arts, restaurants.

"The economic cost of that we estimate would be around €5.4. million per annum - that's only on the tourism spend".

Ms Taffe said there was already a "serious lack of accomodation" in the town before The D Hotel became an accommodation centre for asylum seekers last month.

The issue of dereliction is being highlighted at a Revitalising Drogheda event on April 25th.

Main image: The entrance to a disused shopping centre on Narrow West Street in Drogheda. Image: Newstalk/Josh Crosbie

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Bobby McCormack Brian Browning Derelict Drogheda Action Group Derelict Streets Dereliction In Drogheda Drogheda Empty Sites Golden Mile Quarter Hurley's Delicatessen John Hurley Josh Crosbie Louth Narrow West Street Sarah Taaffe The D Hotel The Pat Kenny Show The Punt Pub

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