Thirteen people currently work in McKevitt King Architects. Of the thirteen, eleven are natives of Drogheda (excluding Turlough who blew in from Carlingford in 1972). Of the eleven natives, eight have strong connections with the Trinity Street / Mell area. Although now very much part of Drogheda town centre, the area was a very distinct community within itself, with its own parish and school. Here are the individual relationships with the area;
For two and a half decades, Kings Café where I grew up, was at the heart of Mell parish and the local community. My parents purchased the building from Mr and Mrs. Ward in 1971 when it was then known as the PK Café. In the 1980s Mell was as close to the countryside as it was to the town centre. It was a small parish, and everyone knew everyone. The café played a big part in Mell at that time, and it became a regular place for the everyday worker as well as for families to celebrate their big occasions. The café held local whist nights for the parish on Thursday evenings and parish meetings were hosted there regularly.
Kings Cafe in Mell (Now Borzalino Restaurant)
The Wilson and McBrinn clothes factory, famous for its Dingos jeans brand was located across the road and there was a great connection and friendship between the factory and the café over the years. Ms. McCabe, the factory manager, was a well-known character and used to take my siblings and I to her garden allotment at the back of her home at St. Mark’s Terrace on Scarlet Street where we picked blackcurrants there, bringing the fruit home to my mother to make jam.
As children when my siblings and I weren’t helping in the café, we played on the banks of the River Boyne. Our house was over the shop and growing up in the family business was very sociable. Every day, customers and visitors were welcomed in and there was often a sense of fun as well as gratitude as the day ended and the day’s antics were discussed around the dining table.
Playing football in Mell Car Park in 1990
A regular event of the summer was the outdoor mass celebrated in Lower Mell when the street would all get together, young and old. Afterwards everyone gathered for tea and buns. Another great occasion was Halloween. All sorts of rubbish was taken and bonfire material collected. The bonfire was set up beside the factory and its construction was carefully monitored by Ms McCabe. After the bonfire the café was open to everyone for traditional Halloween games. My parents sold the café in 1996. Today it is the Borzalino’s Italian restaurant.
Outdoor Mass in Mell in the late 1980's
My connection with Trinity Street is through my grandmother, Rita Gavin (nee Gough). Rita grew up over the family pub, which was also a shop, then simply known as ‘Goughs’. A pig lived in the back garden. The pub is now Jimmy Foley’s, which had been sold to the McCrumlishes, who in turn sold it to the Foleys. Rita was one of six children, of which three emigrated to the UK, with Rita being the only one to stay in Drogheda (luckily for me!). Her mother was Annie Carr, who married Christopher Gough.
Extract from The Argus 1944 mentioning the wedding of Rita Gough and William Gavin
They owned the Thatch pub, which they sold when they moved to Trinity Street over 100 years ago prior to Rita’s birth in 1919. Rita lived in Trinity Street until shortly after she married Billy Gavin in 1944. Billy Gavin was from ‘The Mount’ (Sunnyside) and was a foreman in Shiels’s bakery at the time. Billy was a national champion and was the winner of the Irish One Mile Championship in 1939. They moved to Curry’s Hill for a few years, up behind St. Mary’s Church, before settling on the corner of Beamore Rd & Platin Rd (where Millmount Pharmacy is now) where Billy established and ran a successful joinery business. Rita & Billy had five children; Anne, Mary, Michael, Joan & Billy. Mary married Turlough McKevitt. I grew up on the North Road only around the corner from Trinity Street.
Rita Gough and her brother Frank in front of Goughs Pub
No. 52 Trinity Street was home to my great Grandparents and their 12 children – one of which; my grandmother Kitty. Kitty lived her childhood and teenage years in no. 52 until one serendipitous moment where she met a young Danny O’Donnell at an event in the Whitworth Hall. Although a Donegal man, as fate would have it my grandfather Danny was also a resident of Trinity St at the time he met Kitty, living in the B&B – She would go on to marry Danny and eventually move out of Trinity St; although only around the corner to Georges Square – our family history is therefore very much rooted in Trinity St.
The Dunne Household on Trinity Street next to St. Vincent De Paul
My Granda, Larry Martin, was born and raised in Singleton Cottages in the 1920s & 1930s. He went to Mell school where the original school was in the church. He married my nana, Jessie (Elizabeth) Holt, from Patrick Street in 1941 and they initially lived in lower Mell across from where the car park is now. They then moved back to their own house in Singleton Cottages, and this was where my Mam, aunt and two uncles grew up. Granda worked in Donaghy’s Shoe and Boot Factory for forty years up until they closed in 1972. One of my uncles also worked there for seven years before they closed. I spent a substantial part of my childhood in the house in Mell with fond memories of going to ‘Nanos’ shop (where Joe’s shop is located now) on a Sunday after mass for a treat. I went on to live in my Nana and Granda’s house in 2012 for two years before moving to Bryanstown on the ‘the far side’ where we are still living now.
My grandad, Larry, was born in Mell in the 1920s, at no. 2 Fountain View. His dad, David Smith, was a local of Mell and worked at Harland and Wolff in Belfast. His brother, Nicholas, would go on to set up Smiths Garage on the north road. Larry’s mam, Mary Ann Floyd, was a native of Slane and trained as a midwife up at Holles Street. She was more commonly referred to as ‘Nurse Smith’ in the local area. She practiced midwifery right up until the 1970s and is fondly remembered by her grandchildren for her wine-making and lace skills. My grandad, Larry, grew up in Mell with his three siblings, Peadar, Raymie and Maisie, Peadar being well-known for playing for Louth, the winning side in the 1957 All Ireland Final. Larry would go on to marry my granny, Jean, from just up the road in Trinity Gardens. They had four children, my dad amongst them, and settled in Brookville. Although I’ve never lived there myself, Mell holds many memories for the Smith side of my family.
Mary Ann and David Smith in front of their House in Mell
Originally from the South side of Drogheda I moved to the North side of town in the early 90’s and grew up living in Mell Parish located at the end of Trinity Street, Drogheda. At this time Mell was still a suburb of Drogheda and surrounded by fields which gave us plenty of space to enjoy the freedoms of childhood and the accessibility of the town centre as we got older. With the continued development of housing estates Mell Parish is no longer a suburb and has been enveloped by the town but remains a close-knit community.
The Tuite family have lived and farmed in Drybridge for generations. Drybridge is the next townland adjoining Mell. I was born in America and moved home as a toddler with my parents in 1972. We lived in my granny’s house in Drybridge for two years before moving to our new family home in Tullyallen in 1974, which was designed by the young Turlough McKevitt. We spent a lot of time in Drybridge growing up and I have great memories of playing in the beautiful garden, where the sun always seemed to shine. Trips to Mrs Hall's shop and McCloskey's bakery in Mell were frequent. Three of my father’s siblings still live in Drybridge today and it continues to be a very important part of our lives.
Having grown up in Trinity Gardens, in a home bought by my parents in 1971, Mell and Trinity Street were essentially my playground. The area was a huge part of my childhood with fond memories of watching Italia ’90, and USA ’94 in Clare’s Pub (Fairgreen Bar), getting my BMX repaired in P.J. Carolan’s bike shop, and spending whatever pocket money I could earn in Carr’s sweet shop – all three within a 100mm stretch of Trinity Street, and none of which remain unfortunately. I played football with Abbey Celtic in Mell Park, and when not playing football I’d more than likely be found climbing trees in the old McCrumlish’s orchard which is now part of Brickfields (John McCrumlish was the original owner of what is now known as Foley’s Bar) or being lured down the Brickfields lane to McCloskey’s by the smell of freshly baked bread and to the reward of some cheap – sometimes free – buns… for us, the local kids.
Carolan's Bike Shop, Trinity Street