Drogheda Municipal Art Collection

A Street Scene in Drogheda, 1880

John Cassidy

b. 1860 - d. 1939
1880 Oil on canvas

This is set at the junction of Duke Street and West Street and we can see different social classes juxtaposed: the elegantly dressed woman on the right (identified locally as the 'Lady in Blue' - a Miss Plunkett) provides a foil to the woman wearing a plain bonnet, apron and shawl. This latter woman was 'Kate the Navvy', a well-known character in Drogheda whose life ended tragically following a collision with a quarry cart. Her nickname came from the fact that her husband was employed in the navvy on the construction of the Boyne Viaduct (1855). The main in the foreground engrossed, in reading a notice, was known locally as 'Donegan the Poet' and was a hedge-school master. The man on the extreme right-hand side of the street is reputed to be Patrick Watters, a postman. The young boy playing the squeezebox and hoping for money from the rich lady is identified in old accounts as 'Delaney'. Finally, the carriage sweeping down West Street towards the Tholsel is driven by John Whearty, a hotel bus driver at the White Horse Hotel. the view thus presents a pleasing microcosm that is both social and historical record.