Escape to the Country- Rural Ireland

It's a bank holiday weekend again here in Ireland. Have you any nice plans for the weekend? Thinking of going anywhere nice with your family and friends? How about getting out in the fresh air and experiencing rural Ireland- the sites and the scenery...

I know that when the weekend comes, myself and my husband always like to go somewhere to spend some time together. I am guilty of saying 'oh there is the nowhere to go' which I must admit is totally wrong! I just say it because I can't make up my mind where to go and don't want to go too far away as my husband has to be home to do the farm work for 6 o' clock. So I thought I'd introduce a new column on my blog entitled 'Escape to the Country- Rural Ireland' for those of you interested in rural Ireland or indeed for those of you who are indecisive about where to go for a day/evening out- I hope this is of some use to you!

So today I will introduce to you the first in the series of Escaping to the County- Rural Ireland........
and the chosen location is County Meath, Ireland. Please bear in mind I cannot cover everything but the sites I focus on tend to be a bit off the beaten track rather than the very commercial large scale tourist sites.

So here are a few of the sites on our trip around County Meath. Bear in mind that there are lots of other amazing sites in County Meath but for this post we are focusing on the above pin points on the map- Kells, The Hill of Tara, Skryne and Slane.

Kells- as you all probably know, Kells is famous for its book- The Book of Kells (which is now housed in Trinity College, Dublin). For anyone coming from Dublin, Kells is just off the new M3 Motorway about 65km from Dublin. You can visit the Abbey of Kells with its Round Tower, Celtic Crosses and a unique Monk's Oratory. Kells is a lovely historic town with plenty of historical sites. To the northern end of the town is the Hill of Lloyd with its large Tower- Lloyd's Tower (around 100ft tall) built as a folly. It is almost like a lighthouse but obviously not for looking out over the sea as Kells is inland. At the tower there is a really nice park known as the People's Park. Kells also has the Headfort Estate and it's many historical buildings and grounds. There is a Victorian Waterworks to the north of the Town which is very unique. In terms of stopping off for something to eat, perhaps you could take a picnic if you have the kids and have it in the People's Park at Lloyd's Tower or visit The Headfort Arms Hotel or The Round Tower Pub for some lunch or snacks. For more information on Kells you can visit the website Visiting Kells.

Just off the M3 south of Navan is The Hill of Tara. This is a large archaeological site with a number of ancient monuments. There is a wealth of ancient Celtic mythology associated with it. It is signposted off the M3 motorway. It is said to be the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. There is an abundance of archaeological remains in the form of earthworths and enclosures along with a standing stone and passage tomb. If you are into archaeology you will love it here! Bring your camera as the views are lovely too. All ages will like the quirky Fairy or Wishing Tree. The idea is that if you leave a gift for the fairies on the tree along with your wishes or your blessings. There is ample car parking at the Hill of Tara, along with a lovely coffee shop - Maguire's, gift shop and an old world book shop- for those book worms out there! I would advise to bring sturdy footwear and warm clothes.

The Fairy Tree full of wishes....

The Hill of Skryne is situated on the far side of the valley to the Hill of Tara. You will be able to spot the ruins of the church at Skryne from the Hill of Tara. The Hill of Skryne is higher than the Hill of Tara. If you are like me and love exploring ruins of old buildings, there are the remains of a 15th Century church with tower on top of the Hill. When your at the Hill of Skryne, notice the pub- O'Connell's as this is the pub that featured in a Guinness Christmas advert. It is an authentic Irish pub and well worth a visit.
{Image courtesy of my sister in law}

Slane is a quaint town overlooking the River Boyle- it has some of the most wonderful architecture and so much to see! Don't miss the four large Georgian townhouses in the centre which were said to be built for four sisters. While in Slane, visit the Hill of Slane for spectacular views and a look around its many historic sites. Just on the edge of the village, you can visit the Francis Ledwidge Museum for an insight into the poetry and life of this famous poet. Take a walk down to the bridge at the River Boyne and make sure you stop by Slane Castle. Today, Slane Castle is not only famous for its rock concerts but also its own whiskey. For those of you into the great outdoors you could stay overnight in Rock Farm Slane which offers boutique camping or nearby Slane Farm Hostel. There is also the Conyngham Arms Hotel in the town which has been totally renovated in the last few years and reopened.

I know that when you are in Slane you are only a few miles for Newgrange Bru na Boinne and the Battle of the Boyne Site at Oldbridge House- both have large visitor centres and for this reason Slane is a great place to base yourself for a short holiday to experience Rural Ireland. 

*If you are in Slane, I would also recommend that you visit Tankardstown House and Gardens-the house is a 18th century manor house with orangery, courtyards and a beautiful restaurant- Brabazon Restaurant. Tankardstown House is listed in the Blue Book Ireland.

{All images my own unless otherwise stated}


  1. Oh my goodness Ashling!

    Your new site and this post is amazing!! Just love it!! Did you do this set-up; it is incredible!!

    My name says "Yes" for some reason on the blogs; but this is Denise from class!! Love this!!

    Great, great job!!!!!!

  2. We spent 2 days and a night in Meath about two summers ago, the kids loved visiting Trim Castle and the Hill of Tara, there was a lovely old second hand bookshop there too, full to the brim and I spent a very happy half hour there. I'm going to be judging the Blue Jeans Country Queen contest over the June weekend so will be up in Athboy, looking forward to seeing more of it. Do you ever go to it?

  3. Oh I have heard of that Festival alright, no I live over an hour away from it, I used to work in that neck of the woods a few years back so know the area. Hope your having a nice weekend, I'm finished the good- excellent read :) We blog about it later in the week :)

    All things nice...

  4. Sorry for the typos there, I'm watching tv too

    All things nice...

  5. Thanks for reminding me of all the interesting places which are almost on my doorstep. I usually look north, forgetting the treasures in Meath. Really want to visit Loughcrew some time.
    Have just discovered your blog and am really enjoying it.

  6. Great post, really nice to see some of the less commercial yet no less interesting places Ireland has to offer. Looking forward to the next instalment!


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