County Louth may be known as the Wee County but this small county is filled with great things to do.
Day one of your getaway should start at Carlingford, one of the country’s most underrated gems. There are some cosy local cafes in Carlingford and you can check out the craft and boutique shops, enjoy the pretty medieval streets, and get a closer look at the medieval King John’s Castle and the lough. If you have time, take in a guided tour of the Carlingford Brewing Company and a local beer from the Cooley Peninsula.
If you prefer an active start to your trip, head for the Carlingford Adventure Centre where you can try a range of land, sea or air activities. It offers everything from canoeing on Carlingford Lough to rock climbing and abseiling, and from an aerial adventure course to orienteering. They cater for everyone from adrenaline junkies to those who just want to embrace the outdoors and it’s a great way to get your trip off to a flying start.
The Louth coast
From Carlingford, travel down the coast to Annagassan, where you can try some of the country’s best seafood at one of the region’s oldest bars, The Glyde Inn. The award-winning restaurant is the perfect place for a spot of lunch and worth a visit for the stunning view of Dundalk Bay and the Mourne Mountains alone.
With many charming seaside villages dotted along the coast, there are plenty of interesting places to stop and explore. If you go to Clogherhead, make sure to try some delicious fish that’s fresh off the boat at The Fisherman’s Catch beside the harbour. Anyone with an interest in history or art can see the famous 5th Century round tower and its decorative high crosses at Monasterboice.
If you head for Drogheda, climb up to the top of Millmount Tower and catch the sun set over Boyne Valley. Another option is to call into Ireland’s only gin school at Listoke Distillery & Gin School. Here, you can learn about the distillery, sample a G&T, have some local meats and cheeses and – most importantly – learn how to mix the perfect gin.
It would be a shame to spend the night in Drogheda and not try some of its renowned restaurants, such as Scholar’s Restaurant. The town’s bustling nightlife means you’ve plenty of options for socialising.
Get the next day off to a good start with a visit to the 5000-year-old passage tomb of Newgrange at Brú na Bóinne. This famous burial site might be best known for the way the Winter Solstice sun illuminates its passage but it’s a spectacular sight at any time of year. Check out the carved stones that surround it and prepare to be amazed by the sheer scale of this Neolithic monument.
Slane and The Battle of The Boyne
From there, head for Slane and you can dine at the Conyngham Arms Hotel or at Hugo’s Farm Shop before exploring Slane Castle and its parkland estate. You can find Slane Distillery on the castle grounds and sample its whiskey on one of its distillery tours. Alternatively, find out the real story behind the battle with a trip to the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre just outside Drogheda.
If you visit Kells you can see arguably the most famous high crosses in Ireland. Call into the nearby Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, where you can find some of the finest Irish and European cheeses and pick up a tasty snack.
The historic Boyne Valley
Travelling on to Oldcastle, stop at the Loughcrew Cairns and get a close look at these mysterious stone structures. Take the time to walk around these distinctive stone age tombs and enjoy the beautiful drumlin landscape.
You can’t travel to this part of the world and not visit the ancient seat of power of Ireland’s High Kings at the Hill of Tara. Once believed to be the sacred dwelling place of the gods, it’s hard not to feel some magic in the air when you look down over the Royal County from this iconic hilltop.
If you have time, head for Trim and check out Ireland’s largest Norman castle. Fans of Braveheart might recognise Trim Castle, which was a major location for the film. You can find out more about the recent and distant history of this well-preserved castle on a guided tour.
After several days of activities, sightseeing and adventure, what better way to cap off your Boyne Valley adventure than with a delicious meal? One place that won’t disappoint is the award-winning Signal Restaurant at the Station House Hotel, on the outskirts of Kilmessan.
It’s a chance to treat yourself to some incredible food, look back over your trip and chat about what you would like to do on your next visit to the Boyne Valley. Have a look at our Boyne Valley destination page and find even more treasures in this ancient part of the country.