Early 1800s Navan
Sir William Wilde writing in "The Beauties of the Boyne and Blackwater" (pub. 1849) sees no beauty in Navan.
He calls it:" a dirty, ill-built, straggling collection of houses..."
"The inhabitants," he says, "have turned their backs upon the stream, scarcely a glimpse of which can be obtained from any of its narrow streets."
Samuel Lewis, however, around 10 years earlier, had this to say of Navan in his
" the Town contains about 850 houses, many of which are well built. Altogether it has a neat, cheerful, and thriving appearance."
A little earlier, in 1809, Thomas Bell, the writer of numerous descriptive letters, observed that:
" the centre of the town is tolerably well built and furnished with well stocked shops, but the extremities are chiefly composed of a line of mud cabins, which have but mean appearance."
He noted that "in Ludlow Street on the Dublin Road, the Gaol is situated on one side and the Infirmary on the other." He enjoyed the view from the summit on the Mote, being able to see the hills of Slane, Tara, Skyrne, and County Cavan with the naked eye, and the Wicklow mountains with the aid of a telescope."
Descriptive Sketches, taken during an excursion to the Counties of Meath and Cavan, selected from an original correspondence. Trinity College Dublin Library.
Source: Ríocht na Midhe, 1963, Vol. 111, No. 1, by Rev. C.C. Ellison, M.A.