48 Hours in the Boyne Valley

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Maybe you’ve always wanted to admire the ancient stone carvings at Brú na Bóinne or survey the Royal County from atop the historic Hill of Tara; perhaps you’ve longed to stroll around picturesque Slane, or stare in wonder at the stone circle at Loughcrew Cairns… well here’s your chance.
 
And even if you’ve already ticked those boxes, it’s time to revisit: there’s so much more to explore in the Boyne Valley region.
Couple enjoying a picnic in the Boyne Valley

Exploring the Boyne Valley

Exploring the Boyne Valley

Lovely Louth

Why not start an epic mini-break by exploring Louth and discovering its historic sights, amazing food and stunning coastline? Begin in one of Ireland’s hidden gems, Carlingford. Get off on the right foot with a hearty breakfast in one of the many little local cafés, before filling your lungs with fresh sea air as you appreciate the views over the Lough and King John’s Castle. Stroll along the medieval streets and browse the antique and craft shops. Having worked up a thirst, a guided tour of the Carlingford Brewing Company will give you a real taste of the Cooley Peninsula.

For an energetic start to your break, visit Carlingford Adventure Centre where you’ll have your choice of land, sea or sky activities. Canoe on Carlingford Lough; challenge yourself with rock climbing, abseiling or archery; or test your nerve on the Aerial Adventure Course (with over 30 challenges including cargo nets, skateboards, giant log swings, and zip wires) – and there’s much more to choose from.

Continue on a coastal route, travelling from Carlingford to Annagassan. On arrival, treat yourself to some of the best seafood in Ireland – topped off with a stunning vista of Dundalk Bay and the Mourne Mountains – at The Glyde Inn. One of the oldest bars in the area (established in 1770), it’s also home to an award-winning restaurant, perfect for a sumptuous lunch.

You might choose to stick with following the coast, taking in small villages full of character (such as Clogherhead, where the freshest possible just-caught fish awaits by the Harbour at Fisherman’s Catch). Alternatively, check out the 5th century Round Tower and elaborately decorated High Crosses at Monasterboice. As the evening draws in, drive towards Drogheda and climb to the top of Millmount Tower to catch the sunset over the Boyne Valley, or stop off at Listoke Distillery & Gin School to make your own gin for an evening tipple.

Before turning in for the night visit one of Drogheda’s many renowned restaurants such as Scholar’s Restaurant or Eastern Seaboard to ensure you go to bed well-fed and content.
The zipline at Carlingford Adventure Centre
Seafood from the Glyde Inn
Drogheda view from the Millmount cannons
Left: The zipline at Carlingford Adventure Centre | Middle: Seafood from the Glyde Inn | Right: Drogheda view from the Millmount cannons

Magical Meath

Having arisen from blissful slumber, the day stretches ahead full of adventure and mystery – hit the ground running with a morning visit to Newgrange at Brú na Bóinne. Continue over to Slane and have breakfast in the 18th century Conyngham Arms Hotel or at Hugo’s Farm Shop before exploring Slane Castle and its environs. If it's not too early for alcohol, take a tour of The Slane Distillery (conveniently located on the Castle grounds) and sample some of their whiskey. Or delve deeper into the Battle of the Boyne with a trip to the visitor centre just outside Drogheda.

Drive through the scenic countryside to Kells to visit the High Crosses, then stop off at the nearby Sheridan’s Cheesemongers to pick up a delectable selection of Ireland and Europe’s finest cheeses to nibble on for lunch. Continue towards Oldcastle to find the Loughcrew Cairns waiting for you to examine them. Peep at the 5000-year old passage tombs while appreciating the beautiful drumlin landscape.

As you head back towards the Hill of Tara, take a detour to Trim and visit the largest Norman castle in Ireland. This fairy-tale castle is perched on the banks of the Boyne River and guided tours of the grounds are available for you to enjoy.

Cap off your adventure with a delicious dinner at The Signal Restaurant at the Station House Hotel on the outskirts of Kilmessan. While you relax and unwind after a busy day, start planning your next trip – knowing that there’s still more to explore in the Boyne Valley. 
Slane Castle, County Meath
A Battle of the Boyne re-enactment
An aeriel view of the Hill of Tara
Left: Slane Castle, County Meath | Middle: A Battle of the Boyne re-enactment | Right: An aeriel view of the Hill of Tara

EVEN MORE TO EXPLORE...


There’s so much to do in and around the Boyne Valley, why wait to start planning your visit?
Enjoy your escape in Ireland's Ancient East!

For more attractions and activities
check out the See & Do section