If Laurence’s Street had a personality; it would be ebullient, jovial and enthusiastic but above all it would be ‘street smart’. If it had a social class; it would be a snob of the highest order, a member of the local aristocracy, mixing in all the higher echelons of society. If Laurence’s Street was a fashion trend; it would be elegant, colourful and vibrant with a dash of sophistication thrown in for good measure. If the street had a temperament; it would be deep, arcane and very much the strong, silent type.
The character of the Laurence’s Street is encapsulated in the way it is presented to the world and it is a cultural symbol of Drogheda’s rich history. It consists of a diverse range of elegant architecture that perfectly represents the passing of the centuries in the town of the bridge on the ford. A date-of-birth from the late twelfth century, when it was first born it was known as East Street – because it led to the road to the east, towards Baltray.
Over the years it has witnessed a legacy of commerce; it was the location where the banks would first find their local home. It echoes with the voices of children, the harsh tread of the horse and the hum of the car. The street has provided education and religious edification in equal measures to hundreds of thousands of local people over the years.
Yet perhaps its finest aspect is the medieval barbican that stands astride its girth at its most elevated point. This is an echo of its ancient birth, when times were so different, where unforeseen threats came from unknown enemies and goods were taxed crossing this municipal border from urban to rural and vice versa.
As life sweeps past us, Laurence’s Street will always be there to thrill those who inhabit posterity. It will call them boldly and demand their attention. Some will pass by and see little. Others will stop to admire its beauty. It has always been there and it always will be. It is part of our DNA, our lives. We’re all hewn from the same rock down where the bridge crosses the ford.
Written by Tom Reilly