BESPOKE BOYNE VALLEY TOUR
The Boyne Valley has many wonderful historical sites. We want to let you choose which sites interest you the most. Choose four sites to visit from our list below.
Our Bespoke Boyne Valley Tour includes a visit to four fascinating sites of your choice. Please choose from the list below the four sites you would like to visit.
1 - Bective Abbey – Ireland’s second Cistercian Abbey
The rich medieval landscape of the Boyne valley is home to Ireland’s second Cistercian Abbey, the Bective Abbey, which is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This daughter church of the stunning Mellifont Abbey, was founded in 1147 for the King of Meath, and it quickly became a very important monastic settlement. The Cistercian order was founded with a goal of recapturing the simplicity of monastic life, and the restrained yet elegant design can still be explored within the remains of the church, cloister, and chapter house. A trip to Bective Abbey will provide the chance to explore the maze of passageways, marvel at the gothic architecture and soak up the atmosphere of this amazing place.
2 - Trim Castle
Few places in Ireland contain more medieval buildings than the heritage town of Trim, once the medieval capital of Ireland. Trim Castle is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, and with its monumental three-story keep and 20-sided tower, it is a truly impressive symbol of Norman glory. Hugh de Lacy and his successors took 30 years to build it.
The castle is also known as King John’s Castle. When he visited the town he preferred to stay in his tent on the other side of the river. Today, visitors are able to look down into the interior of the keep via modern walkways which weave their way through this vast castle. Other medieval sites in Trim include St. Mary`s Abbey - a Franciscan abbey built in 1368 -, and Ireland`s oldest bridge, standing strong since the early 13th Century.
3 - Four Knocks – A Megalithic Passage Tomb
This passage chamber tomb lies just 10 miles from Newgrange, and is famous for being the site of the first depiction of a human face in Irish prehistoric art. The 5000-year-old site includes three earthen mounds, with decorated stones that largely resemble the mysterious Newgrange designs. The interesting site was first excavated in 1950, and the intact tomb was found to be one of the most important discoveries of the megalithic period in Ireland. With human remains, grave offerings and a network of side chambers, this is one of the most interesting ancient burial sites to explore in Ireland.
5 - Monasterboice – The Round Tower and High Crosses
This fascinating monastic site in County Louth was founded in the 5th century by Saint Buite, and the historic ruins were once an important religious centre. Monasterboice has a rich and colourful history and was once captured by invading Vikings, who were then pushed out of the area by the High King of Tara. Although the original monastery is no longer standing, the 3 Celtic High Crosses, are widely regarded as some of the finest examples of early Christian crosses, with scenes depicted of the Old Testament and unusual crucifixions.
6 - Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara was once the ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland, and today the series of Neolithic burial mounds and tombs offer stunning views across County Meath. As one of the most historic and mythical places in Ireland, a trip to this beautiful area is sure to be an eye-opening experience. This is your chance to explore the archaeological sites, take in the breathtaking views of the mountains of Mourne and learn about the Celtic rituals which stretch back into early Christianity.
7 - Hill of Slane
A place of significant importance for Christianity, the Hill of Slane is the site where, according to the legend, in 433 AD Saint Patrick lit the first paschal fire in direct defiance of the pagan king Laoghaire who was celebrating the feast day on the nearby Hill of Tara, then the seat of the High King of Ireland. Back then, it was forbidden to light any other fire until a ceremonial lighting of a great fire on the Hill of Tara was over. Nowadays, the Hill of Slane is an enjoyable sightseeing where visitors can contemplate an amazing view of the green fields of Ireland and find a well-preserved tower among the ruins of a Franciscan Monastery from 1512.
8 - Old Mellifont Abbey
As the first Cistercian monastery in Ireland, Old Mellifont Abbey dates to 1142, when it was built by St Malachy of Armagh and a team of French monks sent by St Bernard from Clairvaux. The abbey is known for its architectural beauty, with extraordinary features such as the octagonal lavabo. However, it is also historically important as William of Orange himself used the abbey during the Battle of the Boyne.
9 - Drogheda Town - A medieval town within the Boyne Valley
The Medieval town of Drogheda is situated at the gateway to the world-famous Boyne Valley, an area which is steeped in thousands of years of rich history. Despite being the largest town in Ireland, Drogheda still has a vibrant village feel and there are a wealth of attractions to explore when you visit this historic town. Start the day with a stroll along the mighty River Boyne, which St Patrick himself sailed along to light the Paschal Fire, next we can head to the stunning St. Peters Church before exploring Martello Tower and Millmount Museum.
10 - Oldbridge/Battle of the Boyne
Oldbrige is famous for a battle that took place there in 1690 between two kings: James and William. James had been the king of England but had been replaced by his Protestant son-in-law William of Orange. This battle would determine the British Throne, French Dominance in Europe, and religious power in Ireland. William had 36,000 men and James 25,000. This was the largest number of troops ever deployed on an Irish battlefield. William`s army won the battle, 1,500 soldiers were killed and James retreated to Dublin and then to France. To this day, Orange men in Northern Ireland celebrate William`s victory and hold parades every 12th of July. Oldbridge`s importance is that it shows that people from north and south of the boarded can respect each other`s history and traditions.