North of Dublin’s conurbation, the River Boyne rolls through the rich, fertile countryside of counties Meath and Louth. The Boyne is more than a river—it’s an essential part of Irish lore, linking Ireland’s ancient past (the prehistoric passage tombs of Newgrange, the storied Hill of Tara) with more modern history (the infamous 1690 Battle of the Boyne, when the Protestant King William III defeated the exiled Catholic King James II for the crown of England). Today the Boyne Valley is a much more peaceful place, but it offers visitors a wealth of historic treasures tucked away among miles of farmland and smooth, rolling hills.
The Dundalk Tourist Office is on Market Square, Dundalk, Co. Louth (042/935-2111). It’s open Monday to Saturday from 9:30am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. The Drogheda Tourist Office (West Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth; 041/987-2843) is open Monday to Saturday from 9:30am to 5:30pm (closed Sun Dec–April). The Bru na Boinne Visitor Center, the center for Newgrange and Knowth, is at Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath (041/988-0300) and keeps the same hours as those ancient sites.
Exploring North of Dublin
On the surface, County Meath looks like placid farm country—little but rolling hills covered in emerald green grass. But don’t be fooled—its most breathtaking historical sights lie underground. Meath’s fertile soil and rich riverland has attracted settlers for more than 8,000 years, and much of what they left behind has yet to be found. Archaeologists believe they have uncovered only a fraction of the archaeological wealth of this region; new discoveries are made constantly.
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