The Faa Side takes a look back at what was happening in the town 5, 10, though not 15 or 20 years ago but getting back on track for 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago.
This week 5 years ago
At the height of the economic collapse, Drogheda boasted the highest number of men and gypsies in leather coats and pointy white shoes sitting in deserted shopping centres behind bare desks and hastily printed WE BUY GOLD Perspex signs per head of population in the developed world.
This week 10 fucking years ago already
Though the decking craze had already reached its zenith in Dublin it still had a couple of years left in it further up the Pale. Banks were giving out 110% mortgages and free outdoor gas heaters to couples who looked in love.
Local real estate magnates/councillors had become accustomed to having Bollinger on their Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and men who cut tiles for a living had property portfolios in Bulgaria.
Times were so good the town had a titty bar. And the two knocking shops over in the Siena Convent and the Bull Ring were having a price war due to the influx of more beautiful, thinner Eastern European ladies. The rougher, local handbag twirlers were pushed out of the harems sending the unions onto the streets to join them in solidarity.
This week 25 years ago
Catastrophe hit the boys of the fledgling Westcourt estate on the Newfoundwell Road when their Halloween stash was raided overnight first by the bonfire veterans from Newfield and College Rise and then in a daring daylight raid by hardchaws from Drives Glenmore and Maple.
The Westcourt boys had been collecting for weeks but a lack of experience meant that poor camouflage skills made their trove of pallets, mattresses and 4 tractor tyres gotten from work by one of the lads’ dads, easy plunder.
A delegation was sent across the road to Harmony Heights with an offer to bunce up. Sensing an opportunity to not be the weakest estate on the bonfire circuit, the Harmony Heights leadership accepted the request, found out where in the Maze Westcourt kept their remaining stash and raided them that night.
A harsh life lesson was learnt by the boys of Westcourt that year.
This week 50 years ago
James Churchill and Betty Bohill were denounced from the pulpit in Saint Peter’s in what was Drogheda’s first French kiss, or Frenchie. The couple, who had only been courting for six years, were caught in the filthy embrace by Father Smurfit in the Whitworth Hall while attending that seminal Johnny McEvoy concert when the singer surprised everyone by going acoustic (it was to be another twenty years until he went electric).
The couple responded that they had gotten caught up in a cultural moment and pleaded not to be banished to Donore, saying that they always paid their dues and wouldn’t even hold hands until they were married. Father Smurfit threw them out of the church, telling them to move to France if they liked it so much, but not together as that would be an even worse sin.
The Churchills to this day live in exile in Meath. The couple showed their true colours, proving Father Smurfit correct; they are now Protestants, and so are their children.
This week 75 years ago
The Drogheda branch of the old IRA was celebrating this week in 1940 after successfully guiding in a lone Luftwaffe Junkers 88 to bomb the house of a family of Protestants at Colpe Cross. Flying Column squadron leader Jimmy Winters praised his men’s diligence and dedication to duty under the trying circumstances of The Emergency.
“It was fierce hard to organise ourselves into a human arrow in the dark, never mind get the torches lit in the wind. But it went so well that we hope to get the Nazi lads back on New Year’s Day to bomb those bastards in Julianstown and that hole Duleek. I think we’d be better served getting in position during daylight hours – we don’t want to get the arrow the wrong way around and bomb ourselves. But sure you learn these things as you go.”
This week 100 years ago
The men of Drogheda joined up in forces to defend King, Country and Collon against the barbarous Hun and hoped that 100 years from today that they might get a mention in the Drogheda Independent beside calls for that pothole in Crushrod Avenue to be filled as ‘tis worse ‘tis getting.