The Boyne Valley, Birthplace of Ireland’s Ancient East

Sunrise over Newgrange

I can’t imagine what a difficult job it must be to know where to start when marketing somewhere like the Boyne Valley. It’s chock full of enticements from Dundalk to Kells, Carlingford to Clogher Head, and all in Ireland’s ancient east.

The mention of a fascinating history and heritage, that is older than the pyramids, will make some people’s eye glaze over. The hint of exercise and the great outdoors is enough to send less active folk scurrying off in search of spas and relaxing pampering, while hill walking, greenways and bike trails will seem like Valhalla to others. There are those for whom food and drink form the most important part of any break, no matter whether that’s an overnighter or a week-long vacation.

And then there are the kids. There are always the kids and what to do with them in hail, rain or shine.

With interests as diverse as these, and a nation chomping at the bit to be liberated from home schooling, home working and home baking, how do you begin to target your potential visitors?

Well, it seems as though Boyne Valley Tourism has stuck several correct chords. True some regions are richer than others in the country and it’s such cliché to say somewhere has everything, but in this case it’s pretty accurate. Neolithic tombs and passage burial grounds; the sacred Hill of Tara, seat of the high kings of Ireland; ring forts and castles; visitor centres and stately homes, there’s plenty about these parts to keep the heritage lovers and history buffs happy.

There’s a vast programme of options for the active outdoor lover. The choice goes from kayaking and electric biking, trail walking to hill climbing and all this has just been augmented by the new Royal Canal Greenway.

It’s no secret that Irish people love, and are missing, the Camino de Santiago, but not too many are familiar with the 25km Boyne Valley section that takes in Mellifont Abbey. Pilgrims can apply in advance to have their official Camino passports stamped before continuing on an old pilgrim route from Coruña to Santiago de Compostela, making up the additional 75Km needed for the final stamp.

Mellifont Abbey (photo by Dimitry Anikin)

Families are the focus of so many activities in the Boyne Valley. No matter what your age the Ice Cream Adventure sounds irresistible. The Navan Adventure Centre, and Tayto Park with its Brian Boru rollercoaster and zoo, are great ways of  burning off steam, and especially attractive to the three to twelve year olds, whereas white water kayaking will appeal to the older age group.

Tayto Park

Garden lovers can indulge in a spot of green-fingered envy as they meander around any or many of the splendid ones on Garden Trail. From fertile plains to fishing villages, this region has an enormous variety of fresh fish and food to please any palate. Its claim of ‘one river, two counties and many flavours’ is true. It even has a gin school in Monasterboice, where you can try your hand at making your own batch, naming it as well.

Need I say any more?

Check out their new website for all of the above and a lot more.


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