Tuesday 23 January 2018

Old cellar found at the rear of Donaghy's Mill during building work

Workmen have discovered what appears to be an old cellar at the rear of Donaghys Mill.

By Tom Reilly

Preparatory work was being carried out on Saturday morning on the riverside site ahead of the refurbishment of the mill that will see 82 residential apartments being constructed as well as a crèche and a restaurant/café bar facility.

The mill is now owned by a consortium calling itself the Donaghys Mill Co-Ownership.

It is understood that at first the cellar was thought to be an ancient tunnel that ran under the streets of Drogheda in olden times.

The local records show that several of Drogheda' streets had tunnels running beneath. D'Alton in his History of Drogheda 1844, reports that tunnels ran from St Peter's Church of Ireland on Peter Street down to the Tholsel.

Several subterranean passages were found during work on West Street over the years, and proof of the existence of such passages was evident in the current work being done on the pedestrianisation of that street.

Donaghy's Mill was built in the 1830s and was originally called West Gate Mill.

Not long after it opened a horrific accident took place when a young apprentice boy had his apron caught in large rotating wheel and was flung around the room for several minutes.

In the first revolution his legs hit the ceiling and were cut off. Seven hours after the accident he died from his horrific injuries.

As the mill was outside the town walls - the subterranean space that was found on Saturday is most likely a cellar that was associated with the mill's chimney, especially since it was constructed with red brick.

It is believed that the mill, the adjacent outbuildings and the chimney itself are protected structures and will not be demolished as part of the development.

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