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Navan Co Meath History 
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We would like to take this opportunity to thank all family and friends who contributed information and photos to our Navan History section.

We would especially like to thank Navan library for their contribution and Mr. Noel E. French for providing information from his book "Navan by The Boyne". This is an excellent book which is highly recommended by Shopinnavan to anyone with an interest in Navans Past. We want the people of Navan to help piece together Navan’s past. We are calling on anyone with old photos and information to please email them in to us. We will Display all information gathered on shopinnavan.ie please send your information to info@webnel.ie

Historical Information should be shared and enjoyed by all!


  • Athlumney Castle
  • Athlumney was owned by the Dowdall Family, hailing from Carraig Fergus, from 1320. The castle was built for comfort, not for defence purposes hence the large windows and doors. A number of fire places and an oven still exist today.

  • Convents in Navan
  • A lady was travelling by mail coach through Navan and saw a number of destitute girls on the street of Navan with outstretched arms. The lady decided to help. She went to the Bishop Plunkett and gave him a donation of £500 for the building of a convent for destitute girls.

  • County Hospital to be Built
  • A new hospital was to be built in Navan, and in March 1767 The Co Meath Infirmary opened. The infirmary when it opened had ten beds under the guidance of Dr. Knox’s physician and Mr. Sempell the resident Apothecary.

  • Developments in Navan
  • In 1938 a new carpet factory opened in Navan. Mr. Sean Le Mass performed the official opening. Navan Carpets went on to employ hundreds of workers in Navan down through the years.

  • Donaghmore Round Tower and Belfry
  • Donaghmore was an important place through the ages. A monastery was reputedly founded here in the 5th century by St Patrick, who placed it in the care of St Cassan, whose relics were venerated here. St. Patrick founded a monastery at Donaghmore before the tower and belfry which remain today. It is thought that the round tower was built in the 12th or 13th century.

  • Dowdstown House
  • In 1927 Dowdstown House was purchased by St. Columban’s Missionary Society. Since 1927 Dowdstown House has been the headquarters of the society. In June 1937 it was proposed to build a new college and work began.

  • Interesting Navan Facts
  • A Stone Cross stood in the centre of Market Square in Navan for many centuries. All the dealing, buying and selling took place in the shadow of the cross. In 1849 W.F. Wakeman found a stone from the cross built into a wall of Trimgate Street. The stone was engraved with sculptured figures on four sides. On one side is a lady dressed in Elizabethan clothes and Philip Nagle, this could date the cross to the late 1500’s.

  • Navan Churches
  • Fr O’Reilly was a curate in Navan from1797 until 1802. In 1827 he was appointed Parish Priest of Navan. The newly appointed Parish Priest decided a new church was needed. Work started in 1830 and in 1839 after 9 years of building the church was completed. On Sunday 20th October 1839 was officially opened.

  • Parc Tailteann
  • In 1935 Pairc Tailteann opened , known as the Dukes Field because the Dukes of Bedford owned much of Brews Hill. In 1948 a new club was formed called Navan O’Mahonys. In 1953 Navan OMahonys won the Senior Championship. They went on to win five in a row in the years 1957-1961.

  • Schools in Navan from 1900
  • In 1917 Dr. Gaughan introduced the De La Salle Brothers to Navan giving them charge of the National School. The Bishop bought the building which was the old Military Barracks, on the site of Navan Abbey. The barracks were renovated at a cost of £3,600 and the school was opened on 10th September 1917. The school was called St. Columban’s Abbey School. Brother Edmund was the first superior. On part of his land the County Hall was built in 1911.

  • The Boyne Canal
  • In 1710 a canal on the Boyne was proposed by Markes Plunkett of Navan. Canals were to be the main form of communication routes for many years to come. Work started on the Boyne Canal in 1759 by the Commisioners of Inland Navigation. The work on the lower Boyne (Drogheda to Slane) was completed.

  • The Gaelic Athletic Association
  • The GAA was founded in 1884. A new club was founded in Navan in 1894. However the playing of games in Navan goes back to 1539 where a hurling park is mentioned as one of the possessions of the Abbey of Navan. The County Meath senior Championship was held for the first time in 1894 and the Navan team won the first of many victories.

  • The Mills
  • Many mills were built on the Rivers Blackwater and Boyne. What is known as Spicers’ Mill was built around 1785 by Connolly and Fay. In 1784/5 John Fay’s Mill on the Blackwater was supposed to have milled 3702 cwt of flour. It was the biggest mill in Ireland at the time.

  • The Railways Come to Navan
  • In 1850 the Drogheda to Navan line opened. The line was extended to Kells in 1853 and to Oldcastle in 1863. The Dublin to Moate railway was incorporated in 1858 to make a line from Dublin to Athboy and Navan. The contactors were the Moore Brothers. A year later work stopped due to landowners demanding too much money. The Navan line was opened in 1862.
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