Boyne Valley Scenic Drive, Route Map and Guide, Co. Meath, Irelands Ancient East

  • Author:ActiveME
  • Created: November 6, 2016
  • Updated: December 12, 2017
Location: Louth
  • Distance173 miles
  • Time0 s
  • Speed0 mph
  • Min altitude10 ft
  • Peak669 ft
  • Climb3,606 ft
  • Descent3,570 ft

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Follow in the footsteps of Irelands ancient High Kings and wander through 9,000 years of rich Irish history on the 190km or 120mile Boyne Valley Scenic Drive, County Meath. The epicentre of Irelands Ancient East, county Meath is still known as the Royal County as High Kings have sat here since the second century AD. You can start at any point along the route but for now we will start in the historic town of Drogheda, in which a St. Peters church actually contains the real head of Oliver Plunket, an Irish saint from the 1600's. Take the Boyne Valley driving route with you on our free App for iPhone and Android and share your photos on the ActiveMe facebook page.

Newgrange-Tomb-Boyne-Valley-Scenic-Drive-Co-Meath-Irelands-Ancient-East-by-Brian-Morisson
Newgrange Tomb, Co. Meath, Irelands Ancient East by Brian Morrison

This road trip will let you experience the magic of Irelands ancient landscape and some of Ireland’s greatest heritage sites.  The pure number of historic monuments show how important this area is now and and for the ancient people of Ireland.  Leaving Drogheda, the tour starts with a bang, visiting the 1690 Battle of The Boyne site and nearby the prehistoric passage tombs at the UNESCO World heritage site at Brú na Boinne. Here you visit some of the oldest man made structures in the world, the Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth burial mounds were built over 5,000 years ago. Arrive early at the Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre to avoid queues and get the best views.

Boyne-Valley-Scenic-Driving-Route-Map-and-Touriing-Guide

Commanding sweeping views across the green plains of Meath, the Hill of Tara has been one of the most important sites of ancient Ireland and Irish Mythology for nearly 7,000 years. The Hill of Tara was considered the political and religious centre of Ireland where the High Kings of Ireland held court from the 2nd Century AD and is also associated with the pagan celebrations, the pagan goddess Maeverom and the mythological people of Fir Bolg and Tuatha Dé Danann. Also on the northern side of the Boyne valley is the Hill of Slane, where major pagan festivals were held and a legendary feast by St Patrick is said to have took place.

Hill of Tara, Meath, Ireland by ericksens
Hill of Tara, Meath, Ireland by ericksens

Mixing ancient history with hollywood history, next on the tour is the impressive Trim Castle. Built in 1172, Trim Castle is the largest and best preserved Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland and was used in the movie ‘Braveheart’ by Mel Gibson where it was filmed as the fortified town of York among other locations.

Trim Castle County Meath River Boyne, Ireland Ancient East
Trim Castle County Meath River Boyne, Ireland Ancient East

Considered slightly older than Newgrange, the impressive Loughcrew Cairns and passage tombs are said to have been built nearly 6,000 years ago and are the hidden gems of Ireland's Neolithic era. Visit and experience the amazing ancient artwork representing astronomical changes, the Hag's Chair and more.

Loughcrew Cairns and Passage Tombs, Boyne Valley Scenic Drive, Co. Meath, Irelands Ancient East
Loughcrew Cairns and Passage Tombs, Boyne Valley Scenic Drive, Co. Meath, Irelands Ancient East

Visit the glorious monastic age of Ireland in the village of Kells. Now housed in Trinity College Dublin, the world famous Book of Kells, one of the oldest books in the world at over 1200 years old was here in Kells village. Nobody knows for sure where it was first written but one theory is that is was written around 800 AD in a monastery founded by St Colum Cille around 561 on the island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland. Following a Viking raid on the island In 806, which left 68 of the community dead, the Columban monks took refuge in a new monastery at Kells, County Meath where you can also visit the High Crosses of Kells built in the 9th century by the same monks of St Colmcille.

The Unfinished Cross, Kells, Boyne Valley, Co. Meath
The Unfinished Cross, Kells, Boyne Valley, Co. Meath

Older but keeping the monastic theme going, we next visit Monasterboice monastery, founded in the late 5th century by Saint Buithe and admire in awe the magnificent Muiredach's High Cross. The cross has 124 figures and is divided into decorated panels with lively scenes.

Monasterboice Cross and Round Tower, Boyne Valley, Co. Meath, Irelands Ancient East by Anthony Murphy www.mythicalireland.com
Monasterboice Cross and Round Tower by Anthony Murphy www.mythicalireland.com

Take our scenic driving route with you on our free App for iPhone and Android and share your photos on the ActiveMe facebook page.