Delving into its history is a great way to begin exploring any town. An impressive Norman fort towers over Drogheda, surveying the town below and playing host to Drogheda Museum Millmount. Described as one of the finest town museums in Ireland, uncover a wealth of historical treasures including a unique collection of Guild and Trade Banners, an authentic 18th century Irish folk kitchen, dairy and laundry, and the Irish History Room which details major events from Ireland's fascinating past.
The fort, now known as the Millmount Cultural Quarter also features craft shops, art galleries, a café and artisan food centre. The stunning views of the Boyne Valley are worth the trip alone.
While you’re in Drogheda, visit the shrine of St Oliver Plunkett at St Peter’s Church. Constructed using local limestone in 1884, parts of an original church built in 1791 still form some of the impressive Gothic building. Inside you’ll find fine sculptures, a spectacular marble High Altar and more than 40 beautiful stained glass windows, but the church is most famous for housing the shrine of St Oliver Plunkett. Credited with bringing the Jesuits to Drogheda, he was hanged for treason in 1681, with Pope Paul VI later declaring him a saint and his preserved head forms the centrepiece of the shrine.
Just ten minutes from Drogheda on the banks of the Boyne, Beaulieu House and Gardens is one of the earliest examples in Ireland of an unfortified house. Constructed between 1660 and 1666, the house is a rare example of late 17th-century Irish domestic architecture and has survived with minimal alterations. Its garden and terraces remain unchanged from their early design; the historic 1.5 hectare walled garden is a tranquil haven for anyone who loves plants. Visitors can explore the garden or take the guided tour of Beaulieu House from June to September 1st.
Another short spin from Drogheda, Old Mellifont Abbey is Ireland’s first Cistercian monastery. Founded in 1142, it features a fascinating monks’ chapter house and unique octagonal lavabo, in which the monks washed their hands, dating from circa 1200. At the visitor centre learn all about the work of masons in the Middle Ages, with fine examples of their craft on display, alongside remnants of the abbey’s ancient gates and church.
Just ten minutes from Mellifont Abbey, continue your discovery of the region’s history at the monastic site of Monasterboice, with its impressive round tower and two high crosses. Founded in the 600s, the early Christian settlement was once an important religious centre captured by invading Vikings in 968 AD. Discover its old graveyard, historic churches, sundial and most famously, the spectacular high crosses.
Muiredach's High Cross is an impressive 5.5 metres high and regarded as the finest high cross in Ireland, with a replica held in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Even the crosses stand in the shadow of the magnificent round tower, however. At 35 metres high, it was once a watchtower and refuge for monks and valuables during times of Viking attack.
Whether you’re a lover of gin or just a curious mind, a visit to neighbouring Listoke Distillery & Gin School is a great way to spend a few hours. An interactive and educational experience, discover the creative process behind brewing gin and take a tour of the distillery to hear all about the botanicals used in Listoke 1777 Gin. Choose your own blend of botanicals and distil a personalised gin on a miniature copper pot still. Distillation complete, you’ll then blend, bottle, cap, seal and label your very own bespoke bottle of gin.
Just 45 minutes from Drogheda, create some amazing memories with your crew at Carlingford Adventure Centre. Ideal for groups of pals and families, pick from the list of land and water activities including kayaking, water trampolining, rock climbing, abseiling, archery, high ropes, laser quest and the Crystal Maze challenge. Book in for a day’s adventuring or make a weekend of it in one of the many accommodation options around Carlingford Lough.
While you’re in Carlingford, take the scenic Carlingford Ferry across the lough from Greenore as far as Greencastle in County Down. Departing once an hour, the car ferry takes just 15 minutes and connects the Cooley Peninsula to many breathtaking drives around beautiful county Down, taking in the magnificent Mourne Mountains and idyllic Rostrevor.
Built along an old railway line on Carlingford Lough’s southern shore, the Carlingford Lough Greenway connects Omeath and Carlingford and is ideal for walkers and cyclists of all levels, even kids. With great views across the lough to the mountains of Mourne, Slieve Foy towers over the trail on the Louth side.
The safe, mostly off-road trail travels past fields of grazing sheep, over pretty bridges and old level crossings, with only one 300 metre section of road as you approach the lakeside village of Omeath. The route is a leisurely half hour cycle, or give yourself a couple of hours to walk, with plenty of time to stop and enjoy the glorious lake views.
A short spin across the Cooley Peninsula, take a guided tour at Carlingford Brewing Company where you’ll learn about the origins of the brewery and its processes. Discover the legend of Donn Cúailnge, the Brown Bull of Cooley that graces the logo and the famous Carlingford landmarks that inspire each beer. Afterwards, a delicious Ploughman's Lunch can be added to your two-hour tour – the perfect accompaniment.
The vibrant town of Dundalk has a thriving café scene with local business owners serving up delicious coffees, tasty treats and memorable lunches. Spot the retro scooters parked outside 23 Seats to find one of the best flat whites in town.
Along with public art and water fountains spraying high into the air, Market Square also has one of Dundalk's best coffee spots, Panama Café. Enjoy imported coffee from South America and sweet desserts while relaxing in the outdoor seating area.
Coffee connoisseurs won't want to miss 3rd Place. Serving the much loved 3fe coffee as their house brew, the baristas here often have unique and delicious guest coffees available too. Grab a comfy seat by the window and treat yourself to a wonderful breakfast.
Get a deep insight into the history of County Louth from the Stone Age right through to modern-day at the County Museum Dundalk. Housed in a building that once served as a warehouse for whiskey and tobacco production, the museum tells the story of Louth with riveting displays, regular exhibitions and a 'virtual presenter' that was one of Europe's first when first installed.
As well as displaying historical artefacts, this award winning museum regularly hosts drama productions, films and much more.