It’s a place that’s steeped in Irish mythology, dotted with historical monuments and full of unexpected treats. Here are some of the best ways to spend a family getaway in the Boyne Valley.
The Royal County has some of Ireland’s best-preserved passage tombs so what better way to kick off the holiday than with a visit to the mystical Loughcrew Cairns?
These 5000-year-old stone structures are every bit as awe-inspiring now as they must have been millennia ago. After a walk around these mysterious cairns, you’ll be fully warmed up for the Loughcrew Adventure Course at Loughcrew Estate. You can glide along Ireland’s longest zip-line or try the climbing wall, assault course or archery. There’s even the option to rent accommodation in the house itself if you’re looking for a luxury base for your short break.
While the kids are burning off some energy, you can explore the Loughcrew Estate’s stunning gardens or enjoy a relaxing cuppa in the Limetree Coffee Shop. There’s even a Fairy Trail to fire up the young ones’ imaginations before you leave.
Get out onto the Boyne
Are you a family of water babies? If so, then head for Drogheda and take a boat tour with Boyne Boats. A guided tour is a lovely way to explore the Boyne and learn about everything from local history to the origins of the Irish currach. You could even find out what links the Boyne and Game of Thrones.
For families that love adventures on the water, Boyne Valley Activities runs white water rafting tours from Athboy, Trim or Slane. You can also try kayaking, archery or a medieval tour of Trim if you fancy a more relaxing alternative.
If your little ones prefer animals to adventure, then head to Causey Farm in Navan. It's a working farm that gives visitors educational tours and lets you try your hand at some traditional countryside activities. You can learn how to make soda bread, give turf cutting a go or just meet some of the farm’s resident animals.
Take a drive to Ashbourne to visit Ireland’s only theme park, Tayto Park. Ride one of the rollercoasters, take on the extreme climbing wall or visit the Amur tigers, meerkats and buffalo at the park’s zoo.
Enjoy a meal in Meath
After a hectic day of adventures, you’ll have worked up an appetite. Both The Bective Restaurant in Kells and its sister eatery The Central in Navan serve up delicious food with a family-friendly atmosphere and a play area for the kids.
Irish Military War Museum
The first port of call in Louth is the Irish Military War Museum in Collon. Uncover the story of Irishmen who fought in both World Wars and other major conflicts, get a closer look at its impressive collection of weapons and see some unique military artefacts.
Old Mellifont Abbey
Just up the road, Old Mellifont Abbey will transport you back to another age. Founded in 1142 by St Malachy of Armagh, this was the first Cistercian monastery in Ireland. The Visitor Centre delves into the work of Middle Age masons and contains examples of these old masters’ works.
Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre
This is also the old stomping ground of some of Ireland’s mythical heroes, according to the legends. At the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, you can find out more about the goddess Boann (who lent her name to the River Boyne), Cú Chulainn and Ferdia, and discover how Fionn MacCumhail came across the Salmon of Knowledge. No trip to the area would be complete without a visit to Newgrange. This ancient passage tomb is a striking monument to Ireland’s distant past and a real sight to behold.
If you are looking for a bite to eat in the area, call into Daly’s Inn near Drogheda or Fitzpatrick’s Bar & Restaurant in Dundalk to refuel and recharge before the afternoon activities.
Carlingford Adventure Centre
A trip to the beautiful coastal village of Carlingford is a must and the Carlingford Adventure Centre has a range of land, sea and air activities to try. You can canoe on Carlingford Lough, fly through the trees at its Skypark, or try abseiling, water trampolining, footgolf, abseiling and more. It’s the perfect way to cap off an amazing weekend and make some family memories that you can treasure forever.
With so many things to see and do, it might seem like you’ve seen everything the Boyne Valley has to offer but the good news is that you can always plan a second visit. Make sure you check out our Boyne Valley destination page to get the most from your trip.