Best places to visit in the Boyne Valley
A couple of weeks ago we went on a short two day trip to the Boyne valley, a place most well-known for Newgrange. There is a lot to be seen in the area that can be traced back to Ireland’s ancient past. The Newgrange tomb is 400 years older than the oldest Pyramids and even a 100 years older than Stonehenge. But enough about the history, if you go to Newgrange you will hear all this information and get to see the actual site too! Of course we stayed in the Newgrange Lodge Hostel while we were there.
The official Boyne Valley website has a lot of useful information on all the different sights that you can visit around the Valley and an interactive map where you can get information on each attraction.
This is pretty useful, especially with the route planned out. For our trip we rented a car for two days and managed to visit almost all the sites around the valley. If you are unable to rent a car it is good to know that there are a lot of day-tours going from Dublin as well (Just check in with the local tourism offices or at the hostel!). A day-tour is a nice solution, but if you have the time and ability to rent a car definitely go for that! Even if it’s just for a day it allows you to go to all the places you are interested in.
As for the best sights to see, here are the ones that we enjoyed most:
So let’s start with the obvious one and get that out of the way. Newgrange and Knowth. You can do a tour of either one separate, or both together. Keep in mind that these will take up a lot of your time (we spend the entire morning and beginning of the afternoon at and around Newgrange).
The tours are guided but you are allowed to wander around. I’d recommend you to do this at Knowth (but be sure to keep an eye on the group so you can join them again when they go inside the tomb) but I wouldn’t recommend this with Newgrange itself. The talk there is a lot shorter and believe me, you really don’t want to miss part of the tour! We were lucky and managed to get back to the group just in time, but we had almost missed the most spectacular part of the tour! I will keep it a secret, just go and see for yourself, but it is definitely worth your time! Tickets are available at the visitors centre. Be sure to come early so you don’t miss out! Visits to Newgrange and Knowth are €13 for adults with discounts for students, children and seniors available.
This was my favourite of all the places we visited. Yes Newgrange might be a lot bigger and imposing but Loughcrew Cairns had that authentic feel about it. Firstly, you don’t have to pay to see it. You just park your car in a small carpark ontop of a hill, and then you have to walk up an even bigger hill. The views from the top are amazing (maybe it’s more like a mountain but oh well, let’s just stick to a hill). There’s not much else to do than walk around the site, have a look at some of the smaller tombs that have caved in so you can see the bare insides, or wave at the many sheep loitering about. But it is cool.
Trim was a nice town that we visited on our way back towards Dublin. The castle might not look as much because it is so old but it’s a lot more interesting inside than outside! Imke was skeptical whereas I really wanted to go. Turns out that it was a really good decision we made! The tour guide we had was amazing. The way he spoke anyone would listen. Even the smaller kids got curious. He knew a lot about everything and even pointed out things he knew about Trim’s history that were not even directly related to the castle (or it’s interior at least). Guided tours costs €5 for adults with discounts available.
This was a must-see on my list because of the animated movie I had seen many years ago when I first came to Dublin; The Secret of Kells. It’s about the world famous illuminated script The book of Kells which you probably already guessed was associated with Kells. I was incredibly interested in walking around the village and relating to it through the movie. If you have never seen it and you claim you don’t like animation: give it a chance! It’s really worth the watch.
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