County Meath Information
Meath is located in the province of Leinster, on the doorstep of Dublin. However it stands proudly on its own merits due to an impressive historical legacy, its cultural heritage and strong sporting traditions.
Meath is bordered by Cavan, Monaghan and Louth to the north, Westmeath to the west, Kildare to the south and Dublin to the east. It is easily accessible by air as Dublin airport is situated just a few miles from the county boundary, and it is convenient to the two ferry terminals at Dublin and Dun Laoghaire.
As Meath is part of the commuter belt of Dublin, the county is well served by the road and bus networks. The M3 motorway passes through the centre of the county past Dunshoughlin, Navan (which has plenty of accommodation and nightlife options) and on towards Kells.
Meath is known as the Royal County, as it was the seat of the ancient High Kings of Ireland. The county’s historic attractions include its royal heritage, bronze age tombs, castles, battle sites & ancient treasures. The town of Kells lends its name to the famous 9th Century manuscript, The Book of Kells, which resided at the Abbey of Kells until the 17th century, when it was moved to protect it from invaders (now displayed in Trinity College, Dublin).
The county is bisected by the river Boyne, whose southern banks carry great historical significance as a battle site, and now contain a visitor’s centre commemorating the Battle of the Boyne. The river is also the location of one of Ireland’s most famous myths, Fionn MacCumhaill and the Salmon of Knowledge.
One of Meath’s top family friendly attractions is Tayto Park, a theme park based around Mr Tayto, a large jacket potato (wearing a trademark red jacket) who adorns the front of the most famous brand of crisps in Ireland! The theme park has lots of outdoor activities, obstacle courses & is a great family day out.
Meath’s Top Five
Brú na Bóinne - The Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre opens a portal into ancient Ireland, with the Brú na Bóinne site encompassing Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. These three Neolithic passage tombs have been expertly excavated and restored. All three predate the great pyramids of Egypt, at around 5,000 years old and are worth at least a half-day of exploration. The most famous of the three mounds is Newgrange, whose inner burial chamber is lit by the rising sun on the morning of December 21st (the winter solstice), via a roof-box precisely located to welcome the dawn rays. Guided tours of the sites are excellent and highly recommended.
TrimCastle – The largest Anglo Norman Castle in Ireland, Trim Castle is located in the heart of pretty and historic Trim, one of Meath’s most picturesque towns. It was built by Hugh De Lacy and his son Walter in the 12th Century. The castle starred in the Oscar winning movie Braveheart, as numerous scenes were filmed there.
Hill of Tara – The Hill of Tara is one of Ireland’s most historic, ancient sites, and it has been at the heart of Ireland’s story since the Stone Ages. The views from the hill are great, and it is reputed that almost half the counties of Ireland are visible from it. It is probably most famous as the seat of the High Kings Of Ireland, but it is central to numerous myths, legends & ancient history. The Mound of The Hostages (a megalithic tomb) and The Stone of Destiny are two of its most well-known attractions. There is a visitor centre on-site with a great audio visual display, which gives an overview of the extensive site, and it is advised to begin a visit there.
Outdoor Pursuits- County Meath boasts a number of great golf courses and hosted the biggest event in women's world golf, The Solheim Cup, at Killeen Castle in September 2011. It was won by the Europeans in a thrilling finale. Meath is also a centre of equestrian sports, and Fairyhouse race track hosts the Irish Grand National while Laytown beach hosts horse racing on the beach (Meath’s coastline is only 6 miles long). Meath has a proud sporting tradition in Gaelic football having won the All-Ireland football championship a total of seven times.
Slane - The small town of Slane in County Meath has played host to the biggest musical acts of the day since 1981. Slane Castle dates from the 18th Century and hosts large concerts most summers. The grounds of the castle act as an amphitheatre around the stage. The beautiful backdrop of the River Boyne and Slane Castle itself provide an atmospheric location. Headliners during the thirty year history of Slane concerts have included The Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy, Bob Dylan, Queen, David Bowie, REM, Robbie Williams, U2, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Oasis and The Kings of Leon.
A Taste of Meath’s Festivals
The Bord na Mona Navan Choral Festival takes place in May and its highlight is the national choir of the year competition. The festival has been running over thirty years, and is hosted in Navan. Loughcrew Garden Opera is held at Loughcrew House, in June, and the beautiful gardens are the perfect setting to enjoy a picnic and the opera which is held in a spectacular marquee – period fancy dress is encouraged, giving the evening a glamorous old world feeling.
The Trim Swift Festival celebrates the great satirist Jonathan Swift, who lived in Trim, during the 1700s. Highlights of the festival, which takes place during July, include a satire circus, comedy gigs & it attracts numerous celebrities & comics.
The Moynalty Steam Threshing festival celebrated its 36th year in 2011. It takes place in August, celebrating rural Ireland and features displays of vintage tractors, steam engines, horse drawn machinery, arts & crafts & exhitbits, all in a family friendly atmosphere.
The Blue Jean Country Queen Festival is organised by Macra na Feirme and takes place in Athboy at the start of the summer, featuring fun family entertainment by day and music and craic by night. Highlights include the ever popular ‘fancy dress football’, a street parade and it culminates in the crowning of the queen.
The Kells Road Race,is a motorcycle race which takes place in July, and celebrated its 17th year in 2011, drawing enthusiasts from all over Ireland. Fairyhouse Racecourse is the location of the Irish Grand National, which takes place in March or April. Slane Castle plays host to a major concert during the summer months, which was headlined by Kings of Leon in May 2011.
The Scurlogstown Olympiad Traditional Haymaking Festival takes place at the end of June, and features hay-making demonstrations, vintage machinery, donkey derby, crafts & an animal parade. The Kells Heritage Festival is hosted in Kells every summer and is a family friendly week of music, entertainment & workshops. Le Chéile Arts & Music Festival takes place in Oldcastle in the north-west of Meath, and attracts top musicians from Ireland and abroad during the August holiday weekend.
Meath is reputed as the birthplace of the ancient Samhain festival, now known around the world as Halloween, and the county hosts a variety of festivals at the end of October to celebrate.
Kilaloe from the Bridge
Horses on Donabate Beach, Co D...
Bruree Co. Limerick
A Wicklow evening
Molly Malone Dublin
Kilmallock Co. Limerick
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