With beautiful beaches and legends galore, there’s plenty to explore in the Royal County.
Start discovering Meath at one of its most famous, magical and historical spots: the Boyne Valley.
Brú na Bóinne
Introduce the kids to Ireland’s ancient heritage at Brú na Bóinne. Start with the Interpretive Visitor Centre, where you meet the Neolithic people and see their homes, weapons, culture, and of course, tombs. A colourful audio-visual show of the fabled solar alignments is sure to enchant kids before they visit the real deal at Newgrange and Knowth. Buses run from the centre to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, where excellent guides bring the magic of the tombs to life.
The nearby Newgrange Farm is a great next stop on your trip to Co Meath. Little ones can hold a chick, pet a rabbit, milk a cow and feed the ducks, and if they’re lucky, bottle feed a little lamb or calf. It’s a chance to explore life on the family-run working farm, complete with a barn full of climb-on kiddies’ tractors, and sandpits. Book ahead and you can enjoy the farm tour on a traditional tractor-trailer.
Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre
A visit to The Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre puts you at the site of the famous battle in the 17th century between rival monarchs King James II and his son-in-law William III. The cannons and historical war machines are sure to attract your kids’ attention and there’s a cool laser battle site model too.
Stroll along with one of the child-friendly trails or explore the Victorian Garden followed by treats in the Tearoom Pavilion. There are loads of events on throughout the summer from outdoor theatre to children’s history workshops, so check in advance of your trip.
Irish Military War Museum
Just 15 minutes further down the road explore what it was like in the mud-sodden trenches of the World Wars at the Irish Military War Museum. The ‘hands-on’ museum is home to one of the largest collections of military vehicles and deactivated weapons, and the knowledgeable guides bring the war to life. For an unforgettable trip, book a spin on a military tank – the kids will be talking about it for years. Let them explore the petting farm and run the legs off themselves in the family-friendly park afterwards.
A quick 35-minute spin out the road is the beautiful village of Trim, which mixes history to enthral kids and adventure to excite them, without skipping a beat.
Jump back into the 1100s at Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Virtually still intact, it stands tall and imposing among Irish fortresses. Book a tour to access the Castle’s three-storeyed keep – climb the steep stone spiral staircase right up to the battlements for views of the Hill of Slane and Hill of Tara, and wonder about what once went on at the home of the Lordship of Meath. The tour guides capture kids’ imaginations with tales of castle life and welcome questions from curious little ones.
Kayaking in the Boyne Valley
While the Boyne Valley has much historical value, there’s plenty of fun to be had outside of that. Boyne Valley Activities has loads of options for adventurous families. Hop in a kayak through the medieval town of Trim or get wet while white-water rafting on the Boyne. Not into water? Head for the treetops and test your nerves with the High Ropes Challenge and exit the course by zipline. If you want to take it easy, hire fishing rods or pitch and putt clubs and just hang with the kids in Trim.
Close to Kells
Hop back in the car for a 40-minute countryside drive to explore the attractions around the quaint town of Kells. Stop for a spot of lunch or stretch your legs on the Kells Historic Walk before revving up for some more family fun.
For families with younger kids, The Causey Farm in nearby Navan is an ideal next stop. It’s a real working farm that gives educational tours and lets them get stuck in, with bread-making classes, turf-cutting, and Bodhran lessons or watch the cow milking demonstrations. The farm runs seasonal events like the live lambing at Easter, or scare attraction Farmophobia at Hallowe’en, so there’s plenty to do all year round.
While Newgrange gets all the passage tomb glory, if you’re looking for a quieter spot for the kids, without the queues, 5000-year-old Loughcrew Cairns should be top of your list. It does involve a steep climb so may not be suitable for smaller kids, but it’s worth it to discover the unique burial ground and for the views across three hilltops. It’s magical, which is fitting for a site rumoured to have been created by a witch.
Five minutes away you’ll find Loughcrew Estate, where little ones can explore the fairy trails in its gorgeous gardens. Older children will love the zip-line (it’s Ireland’s longest!) at Loughcrew Adventure Course, while kids old and young will enjoy the climbing wall, assault course and archery.
While you’re in Meath...
You can’t say more Irish than a theme park dedicated to potatoes. Thrill-seekers flock to Tayto Park in Ashbourne for its rides and attractions, including the extreme climbing wall, the Rotator, and Cú Chulainn Coaster – Europe’s largest wooden rollercoaster with an inversion. The Zoo features Amur tigers, meerkats and buffalo to name just a few; the playgrounds will keep the smallies entertained, and you can’t miss the tour of the Tayto Factory, and meeting Mr Tayto himself.
If you have more time in Meath…
If you get the weather, you’d never believe you were still in Ireland on the beaches at Laytown, Bettystown and Gormanstown. The Royal County may not be known for its coastal towns, but you’ll feel a world away as the kids go for a paddle in the Irish sea.
A gorgeous 5km walk full of natural beauty parallel to the beach, leads you from Laytown, through Bettystown and onto Mornington. Keep your eyes peeled for the 80ft watchtower, Maiden Tower, along the way.
With precious family memories to be made at every turn, the only question is where you’re going to begin your Meath adventure.