Boyne Valley

Overview

Introduction

Some of Ireland's most venerable historic sites lie along the River Boyne, north of Dublin. Bru na Boinne contains a series of fascinating neolithic-passage graves more than 5,000 years old. Though it is often called Newgrange, the name of its most famous tomb, it also encompasses sites at Knowth, Dowth and 50 other surrounding monuments. The sites are accessible by guided tour only. Book ahead or arrive early at the visitors center, as numbers are strictly limited.

The Hill of Tara (south of Navan) was once the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. Until the 11th century, great feasts were held there as tribal leaders gathered to conduct business. Little remains today, but the good interpretative center helps explain Tara's former glory.

Early Christian sites are also in abundance in the Boyne Valley, including the ruins of Mellifont Abbey, the fine high crosses at Monasterboice and the Hill of Slane, where St. Patrick is said to have lit the paschal fire to announce the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.

Kells has a fine churchyard with a round tower and carved high crosses, and west of town are the ruins of the monastery founded by St. Columba. Also worth a visit are the medieval towns of Drogheda and Trim, the latter with the remains of King John's Castle from the Norman era (http://www.discoverboynevalley.ie).

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