A PROPOSED housing estate in Drogheda, Co Meath will have a "drastic impact" on key historic sites, including a crossing point on the River Boyne used by William of Orange during the Battle of the Boyne.
Plans to build 745 houses on 27 hectares on the southern shore of the battlefield site at Oldbridge have been sharply criticised by residents who say that the site includes the point of the final fording of the River Boyne and the spot where King William of Orange crossed the Boyne in 1690 with 3,500 mounted troops.
The decision by Meath County Council to grant permission to developers Niall Mellon and Pat O'Reilly last July was criticised at the time by Northern Ireland Assembly member Billy Armstrong. "There is much talk these days of a shared future, but the Battle of the Boyne is part of a shared past," he said at the time.
The grant of planning permission is now under appeal to An Bord Pleanála by the Highlands Residents' Association. "This was the last crossing of the Boyne and was the pivotal turning point of the battle. From here the mounted troops charged the Jacobite forces who retreated to the close-by Hill of Donore," says Peter Ryan, secretary of the association.
The density of the proposed scheme has also been criticised by the association. Located 3kms from the town centre with limited public transport, such a large housing estate is "totally unjustified", according to the association.
Other issues raised include the impact of traffic on the adjacent Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage site, the protected willow woodland islands in the River Boyne and other - but as yet unexamined - archeological sites. The application is due to be decided next month.
The Irish Times