Máel Muire'S TRAIL
County Meath will spoil you with its abundance of historical treasures and great experiences. Once a province of Ireland, Meath was considered a kingdom of Ireland for thousands of years, having attracted settlers during the Megalithic and Neolithic periods. In the 10th century, Queen Máel Muire would have sat as the Queen of Meath when married to Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill.
Start your travels in Meath with a trip the town of Trim in County Meath and prepare yourself to be amazed by the sight of 12th-century Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. The stunning medieval castle impressed the directors of Braveheart so much that they chose the town of Trim as a location for the movie.
Trim Castle is located near to the Tourist Information Centre and Visitor Centre, allowing you to get further information before you start exploring the castle. Take the time to explore the grounds of the castle then venture into Trim town itself and soak up the Historic Trail. Some of the historic sites you can visit along the trail include the Victorine Friary, Newtown Church, St. Mary’s Abbey and the Yellow Steeple.
Leave Trim and make your way to the Hill of Tara, the place where Máel Murie would have sat with her husband, the High King of Ireland. Find at the top of the hill an Iron Age hilltop enclosure. It is easy at this stage to imagine how the king and queen would have ruled from this central point of Ireland. As you leave Trim, consider making a venture into Westmeath and another important seat for many Irish high kings – the Hill of Uisneach. This location was where the five ancient provinces met and was the sacred centre of Ireland. While exploring this part of Meath, consider visiting the towns of Kells and Navan. The megalithic site of Loughcrew Cairns in Oldcastle is a short drive from Kells should you want to learn more about Meath’s megalithic and ancient past.
There are plenty of places to dine out at as you explore the towns of Tara, Trim, Navan and Slane.
Come morning, journey from the Hill of Tara area to the inner parts of the Boyne Valley to discover the ancient sites of Newgrange and Brú na Bóinne, both of them some 5,000 years old.
Take a morning to explore Brú na Bóinne, home of Newgrange and an area of important prehistoric standing, not just in Ireland but in the world. Brú na Bóinne (or the Palace of the Boyne as it can also be known) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is older than both the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge. The tombs of Knowth, Dowth and Newgrange dominate this landscape and are accessed via tours from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre. The tombs contain the largest collection of megalithic art in Western Europe and represent a significant part of Irish history. They are the undoubted highlight of Ireland’s Ancient East and an area that you should spend some time getting to know more about. Not only for the historical value but also stunning landscape and few hours of escapism that this area affords.
Follow up with a long lunch at Slane Castle, one of the area’s oldest castles and home to the Conyngham Family The castle looks out at over the River Boyne and some of Meath’s most spectacular countryside. After lunch, take a walk around the grounds to make the most of your surroundings and, should you be partial to a whiskey, the hotel has a fantastic distillery to check out. While visiting Slane, take time to scale the Hill of Slane and enjoy the great views over Boyne Valley.
End your journey with an experience of the Boyne Valley Food Series, an organisation offering a plethora of events that are focused on the best of local food and drink products in the area (with a few tastings thrown in for good measure). While exploring the Boyne Valley, consider visiting the towns of Navan and Drogheda, while the coastal towns of Laytown and Bettystown are both worth visiting. If you’re exploring the historic sites of Meath with kids, consider visiting the popular Tayto Park, Amusement Park.