A modest, industrial commuter town of 30,000 people, Drogheda (pronounced Draada in the local accent) has two historic churches—both, confusingly, with the same name. The bigger of the two, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, in the town center on West Street, is remarkably impressive, with its French Gothic rose window and imposing 68m (222-ft.) spire. But its main claim to fame is more grisly; St. Peter’s contains the shrine of St. Oliver Plunkett (1625–81), the Archbishop of Armagh, who was beheaded for his part in an alleged plot to assassinate King Charles II—becoming the last Catholic martyr to die in England. His severed head can still be seen, shriveled and wizened inside a glass case, as the gruesome centerpiece to his shrine. More infomation can be found at www.saintoliverplunkett.com or by calling 041/983-8536. The church is open daily from 10am–5pm. 

The other St. Peter’s, St. Peter’s Church of Ireland, a simple grey stone church at the northern end of the town (on the corner of Peter St. and William St.), has its own notorious backstory, dating back to 1649, during Oliver Cromwell’s bloody conquest of Ireland. On September 11th, after an 8-day siege, around 2,000 Irish soldiers loyal to the deposed monarch, Charles I, were massacred. Fleeing the carnage, 140 took refuge in St. Peter’s steeple. Refusing to heed their surrender, Cromwell ordered them to be burned alive using wood from the pews—an act so heinous that some of his own men refused, risking a charge of mutiny. St. Peter’s has been rebuilt twice since the terrible event. (Check out the spooky carved skeletons on one tomb in the nave.) While this church doesn't have a phone number to call, you can find more information at www.stpetersdrogheda.ie. The church is open daily from 10am to 3pm.

The small Drogheda Museum is located in the 17th-century Millmount Fort, overlooking the town, where the walls were finally breached at the end of the siege. Tours cost €3, but they’re a little long, so stick with the self-guided version. More information can be found at 041/983-3097. The museum is open Mon–Sat 10am–5:30pm, Sun/holidays 2–5pm.