Next stop is Kells. Flame and steel accompanied the roaming Norsemen who visited Kells in Meath. Despite the best efforts of those fierce raiders, however, the monks created and safeguarded some of the country's most renowned artefacts, including the illuminated manuscript of the Book of Kells and the Kells Crozier. At the centre of this historic town, stop for some lunch and literature at The Book Market – a second-hand bookshop and café – before stretching your legs on the Kells Historic Trail, where the legacy of 6th century St Colmcille and his followers is revealed.
Make time for the Kells High Crosses, too – in particular the Market Cross, as its presence signified that a fugitive could claim sanctuary once inside the boundary of the monastic area. Keep on your sacred trail to Louth's Monasterboice, founded in the late 5th century by St Buithe. The big draw here has to be the 5.8 metre tall Muiredach’s High Cross, which is richly carved with scenes from the New Testament. There are 124 figures on the cross, but only one appears in headgear – look closely to spot Goliath in his conical hat. Height obviously mattered in Monasterboice, as this cross is also next to one of the tallest round towers in Ireland, too.
If you have more time:
Head to Drogheda and the the shrine of St Oliver Plunkett, whose preserved head can be found in St Peter’s Church.