What has Drawda ever done for the greater good of society? There’s loads so there is…
Listening to emigrants home for the Christmas harping on about how great their new home is can be tiresome on the brain. After the fifth “Did you know that London/Sydney/Douglas is the home of the whatever” you lose interest. Sensing The Faa Side’s disinterest, one such emigrant begged the question “Well then, what has Drogheda ever done for us?”
Interested piqued, we aksed a taxi man. His response was instant. “John Phillip Holland,” he said. “Not from the town but he invented the submarine down the Glen which was great for the town.”
Br. Holland taught in St. Joseph’s C.B.S. at Sunday’s Gate in the 1860s and as an educator was years ahead of his time. Abandoning the tried and trusted cane and repetition approach to learning, he let his 4th class boys help him test the watertightness of his designs in real rivers and occasionally the open seas.
Local historians are adamant that the riverbed is littered with his sunken prototypes. A perfectly preserved sub and her five-boy crew were recovered from the depths of the Glen during an ‘if we don’t spend it we lose it’ Celtic Tiger regeneration project which turned the popular stream into a salmon which could only be properly appreciated from a hot air balloon.
But apart from the submarine, what has Drogheda ever done for us?
Having never left Drogheda, Dessie Dyas knows a thing or two about the town. “I’d have to say the most important thing is Pierce Brosnan, born in the Lourdes on 16 May 1953 cos Meath didn’t believe in hostipals back then. Thinks he’s a Navan man now of course. But he’s wrong. Drogheda gev the world one of the James Bondsis. There should be a statue. It’d be great for the town.”
But apart from the submarine and Pierce Brosnan, what has Drogheda ever done for us?
Like most things that benefit the county like jobs, FDI and government departments, Dundalk gets either all the credit or first dibs – and usually both. And when it comes to innovation, things follow this well-worn path.
Most people think that the first reversible Metric to Imperial diesel smuggling pipe was the brainchild of Dundalk. But they’d be wrong. It was actually invented in Drogheda. Kev ‘Side’ Byrne came up with the idea during the Troubles.
“Honestly, I just monetized a hobby. Things had just gone metric on this side of the border so nobody had a clue about conversions. Basically, you’d put petrol in on one side of the border in gallons and it would come out t’other side as litres and vice-versa. Like magic. It’s made me a fortune but if I’m honest with you I don’t really understand how it works, no one does but it’s great for the county and for the economy.”
So apart from the submarine, Pierce Brosnan and the reversible Metric to Imperial diesel smuggling pipe, what has Drogheda ever done for us?
You can read The Faa Side in the Drogheda Leader every Wednesday.