1st of April everyone enjoys a good practical joke and the Irish are particularly good at them, but did you know that Drogheda was the subject of one of the largest and craziest ever performed?
The Railway Station here in Drogheda was not officially opened until 25 May 1844, although a trip was taken by the Lord Lieutenant and over 500 passengers from the Royal Canal to Drogheda, two months earlier that same year.
Then in late March some flyers began appearing around Dublin that would spark one of the most spectacular stories on record and was even reported in “The London Times”.
The flyers advertised a free train trip to Drogheda and back on the April 1st to everyone who would like one.
Early on the first of April a large crowd gathered at the station eager to secure their free seats. The conductors and overseers were alarmed and informed the crowd that there was no such offer. The people grew displeased and a riot broke out.
“The labourers on the road supported the overseers—the victims fought for their places, and the melee was tremendous.”
The next day some of the disgruntled people went to the police to lodge an official complaint, who dismissed them all “in honour of the day.” [The London Times, Apr 6, 1844].
(Millmount Museum, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Facebook page)