Fire fighters are continuing to tackle a blaze that has destroyed Donaghy's Mill in Drogheda. The fire broke out earlier this evening in the historic derelict building. There were no reports of casualties.
Trinity Street has been closed to outbound traffic between George’s Street and Ashfield Green due to the fire. AA Roadwatch said inbound traffic on the route was heavy and advised motorists to exercise caution as smoke may affect visibility.
Donaghy's Mill, beside the Boyne river, was a detached multiple-bay four-storey former mill built around 1820, later used as shoe factory and then used as offices and gymnasium. It was a protected structure with Louth County Council.
According to the An Taisce website the building has been vacant for a number of years and wasn't maintained. It said the structure was poor with the risk "high".
"Most of the external fabric remains, but there are obvious signs of deterioration, particularly water penetration, slipped slates, vegetation growth, broken windows and vandalism. There is no immediate danger of collapse but the condition is such that unless urgent remedial works are carried out the building will sharply deteriorate.
Fire crews are bringing the blaze at Donaghy's Mill in Drogheda under control tonight but the building has been gutted. pic.twitter.com/oCXb2JXTU6— LMFM RADIO (@LMFMRADIO) March 15, 2019
"The late 19th century, five storey factory building is prominently sited on the River Boyne to the west of the town centre. There have been proposals for development at this site, however, none have proceeded. There is inadequate information on the current status of proposals for the site and ongoing maintenance of the building. This building urgently requires new uses to be identified to prevent further deterioration of its character.
The devastating fire of an inconic building in Drogheda comes less than a year after fire destroyed a large section of the boardwalk along the Boyne Canal near the M1 Mary McAleese Boyne valley Bridge.
The fire caused extensive damage to the wooden structure but also to kerbing and phone lines which serve the nearby visitor centre at Oldbridge.
According to a report in the Irish INdependent in 2009, developers were given the go-ahead for an ambitious office scheme on the site of Donaghy's Mill subject to a number of conditions.
The application, which was submitted by a consortium called the Donaghy's Mill Co-ownership, had originally included up to 80 apartments, which were refused permission at various times in the past. This proposal was for a suite of six blocks of offices was granted upon appeal.
The proposed scheme included cafe facility and basement parking, giving a total of 101,000 sq ft on the almost 2 acre site.
Included in the proposed development was: refurbishment of three protected structures on the site, namely Donaghy's Mill, the lesser mill building to the rear and the chimney.
A lengthy list of conditions prior to commencement included the council's approval of the 'Riverside Walk' and strict adherence to conservation guidelines to preserve the authenticity of the architecture. Archaeologists were also to carry-out detailed examination of the site.
The development never proceeded.