The Boyne Valley is a region steeped in ancient history and natural beauty, located around an hours drive North of Dublin. This enchanting destination is known for its rich heritage and stunning landscape, making it a must-visit for anyone traveling to Ireland.
The area is home to several world-renowned historic sites, including the Hill of Tara and Newgrange, which are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Newgrange, one of the most impressive passage tombs in the world, is a true masterpiece of engineering, built over 5,000 years ago.
Newgrange is an ancient burial site located in County Meath, Ireland. The site was constructed around 3200 BC during the Neolithic period, making it older than both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza. Newgrange consists of a large circular mound, or passage tomb, with an interior chamber and a long passage that leads to the outside. The tomb is thought to have been used for the burial of important individuals and their possessions, and it is also believed to have had ritualistic significance. The site was abandoned by its builders around 2500 BC and remained largely forgotten until its rediscovery in the late 17th century.
Entrance to Newgrange
You can only enter Newgrange with an organised tour. The most common way is by purchasing a ticket at Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre. At the time of writing (March 2023) standard tickets cost €10 for adults and €5 for children. This covers a Newgrange Tour and Exhibition.
You can also find coach tours from other places like Dublin which include entrance to Newgrange as part of the package.
Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara is an ancient archaeological site dating back to the Neolithic period and was an important political and religious center in ancient Ireland. It was the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, who were said to have been crowned on the hill’s summit.
The site consists of a series of earthen mounds and structures, including a ceremonial avenue and several standing stones. The most famous of these is the Lia Fáil, or the Stone of Destiny, which was believed to have magical powers and was used to inaugurate the High Kings.
The Hill of Tara was an important site of pilgrimage and ritual activity for thousands of years, and it continued to be a significant place of cultural and historical importance through the medieval period and into modern times.
Entrance to The Hill of Tara
Entrance is free, all year round between 10am and 5pm. There’s a visitor centre with a free audio tour. Ask there for a guided tour of the site (also free). More details on the heritage Ireland website.
Arts & Culture
In addition to its historic sites, the Boyne Valley is also home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, with festivals and events taking place throughout the year. The Solstice Arts Centre in Navan hosts regular exhibitions, performances, and workshops.
Hiking & Fishing
For those looking to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the region, the Boyne Valley offers a range of outdoor activities. The area is perfect for hiking, with the Slieve na Calliagh loop walk offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Fishing is also a popular activity, with the Boyne River known for its abundance of trout and salmon.
Foodies will love the Boyne Valley, which is home to some of Ireland’s best food and drink producers. Visitors can sometimes take a tour of the Boyne Valley Cheese Company.