Shrine of St. Oliver Plunkett in Drogheda

Shrine of St. Oliver Plunkett is located in Drogheda (county of Louth)

Address: St. Peter’s Church, West Street, Drogheda

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Phone: 041 9838537

St. Peter’s Church is situated on the main street of the busy town of Drogheda. The church was one of the last of the gothic churches to have been built and as such incorporates many of the finer aspects of gothic architecture. Built by parish priest, Mgr. Robert Murphy in the late nineteenth century; it is regarded today as a masterpiece of beauty and design. Its interior was decorated by his successor, Mgr. Patrick Segrave in the early twentieth century and his work is also regarded as exquisite in both taste and in finish. A couple of years after St. Oliver’s martyrdom, the Relic of the Head was brought to Rome and remained there for about forty years, until it was given into the care of the new community of Dominican nuns at Siena convent in Drogheda, c.1725. The nuns were under the leadership of Sr. Catherine Plunkett a relative of St. Oliver and believed to have been his grand niece. The community had shortly beforehand moved from a mud cabin on the south side of the Boyne to a more substantial house in Dyer Street and they were living surreptitiously as a group of women, so as to avoid any difficulties with the authorities. For the following two centuries, this community proved their resourcefulness and devotion by faithfully preserving and venerating this priceless relic of the Irish Church, throughout the difficulties of penal times. During the war of independence because of a fear that some of the notorious Black and Tan forces might steal or desecrate the Relic, armed republican forces were positioned in its defence, in the locality of the Siena community at Chord Road, this being in an era of attack and reprisal. Within months and to the great disappointment of this community, the Relic of the Head was transferred in 1921 to the newly built, St. Peter’s Church, Drogheda, the Memorial Church of St. Oliver, where it was installed in a side altar. The Relic of St. Oliver’s Head now stands in an impressive new shrine, which was erected in 1995.


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