If you’re looking for things to do in Meath today, this weekend or… whenever, you’ve landed in the right spot.
Meath is one of those counties that’s often overshadowed by one main attraction – in this case, Newgrange.
This can often lead people, myself included, to think that there’s little else on offer, but that just couldn’t be any further from the case.
There’s endless places to visit in Meath, from forests and quirky attractions to tourist favourites and more. Dive on in!
The best things to do in Meath (a quick overview)
The first section of this guide will give you a nice, quick overview of the most popular places to visit in Meath, with everything from towns and villages to walks and beaches.
The second section of the guide goes into the specific places to visit in Meath, like the Hill of Tara and Loughcrew to the Brú na Bóinne complex.
1. Ancient towns and lively villages
Before you decide on what to do in Meath, it’s worth taking a bit of time to have a think about where you’d like to stay during your visit.
County Meath is home to a mix of quiet, rural villages, lively county towns and a good mix of ancient settlements to explore from. Here are our favourites:
2. Brilliant walks in Meath (and close by)
Arguably some of the best things to do in Meath involve lashing on a pair of walking boots and heading off along one of the county’s many trails.
There’s some excellent walks in Meath to tackle, with something to suit most fitness levels! Here’s some of our favourites (along with a couple a short drive away):
- The Girley Bog
- Balrath Woods
- The Boyne Ramparts Walk
- Mullaghmeen Forest
- Townley Hall Woods
- Ravensdale Forest
- The Clogherhead Cliff Walk
3. Historic attractions
Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland are located within the boundaries of Meath. The Royal County is bursting at the seams with historical sites, many of which are a stone’s throw from each other.
And, while it’s Newgrange that tends to attract most of the attention both on-and-offline, there’s plenty of other incredible places to visit in Meath, such as:
- Trim Castle
- Brú na Bóinne
- Hill of Tara
- Slane Castle
- Bective Abbey
- Kells Round Tower
- Spire of Lloyd
- Hill of Slane
There’s a handful of mighty beaches in Meath and there’s countless sandy stretches in Louth that are a short drive away, too.
And, while it’s Bettystown that tends to attract much of the footfall, there’s a handful of other beaches worth a saunter along. Here are our favourites in Meath and nearby:
- Laytown Beach
- Mornington Beach
- Bettystown Beach
- Gormanstown Beach
- Port Beach (Louth)
- Clogherhead Beach (Louth)
What to do in Meath if you fancy an active break
If you’re wondering what to do in Meath that’ll give your legs a big aul stretch, you’re in luck – there’s some lovely walks in Meath to head off on.
From some of the county’s most breath-taking coastline to some lesser known hills and peaks, there’s a walk to suit every level of fitness in the section below.
1. The Girley Bog Walk
The Girley Bog Walk is a ramble that shot up in popularity over the last couple of years, and for good reason. This is a peach of a walk, especially if you can do it mid-week, when it’s quieter.
Although the walk uses wooden sleepers for a good chunk of the trail, it can be very muddy in places, so bring walking boots!
If you’re on the lookout for things to do in Meath this weekend, set the alarm and head up to Loughcrew Cairns (the highest hill in Meath) for sunrise.
You park at the bottom of the hill and then have to make a 20-or-so-minute climb to the top (it’s very steep!). The cairns at Loughcrew are much older than Newgrange, dating back to around 4000 bc.
The walk here immerses those that visit in an area that boasts thousands of years of history. Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be treated to fantastic views of the lush green countryside that surrounds the hill.
3. Balrath Woods
Balrath Woods is another fine spot for a stroll. Now, a warning – parking here can be hard to come by at the weekends, so arrive early (and never block the road outside the car park!).
Often referred to as ‘Knockcomra‘, Balrath Woods is a lovely little forest for a ramble. There are a couple of walks that you can do here, that longest of which takes around 30-35 minutes.
There are also several play areas for those of you looking for things to do in Meath with kids. As was the case with the Girley Bog, it gets muddy here, so bring the boots!
4. The Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara was once the ancient seat of power in Ireland, and it was here that 142 kings are said to have reigned.
It’s believed that a quarter of the landscape of Ireland can be seen from the hill. That’s fairly mental when you think about it!
It was at the Hill of Tara, in 1843, that an estimated one million people gathered to hear Daniel ‘The Liberator’ O’Connell speak against the union of Great Britain and Ireland
Grab an ice cream from the little shop next to the car park and head for a ramble. The walk here is handy (25 – 30 minutes) and you’ll have a fine view to enjoy as you walk.
5. The Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre
You’ll find the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre located in the recently restored 18th century Oldbridge House in Meath.
Now, you can always take a tour of the Battle of the Boyne museum first, if you like, or you could head off on one of their numerous walking trails.
The Greenhills Walk (2.6km) and the Crab Apple Walk (1km) meet and continue through fields to Groggin’s Field along the way marked Groggin’s Filed Walk (1.7km).
There’s also a 500m circular loop walk from the car park that’ll take you around Oldbridge Village.
6. Endless nearby walks
One of the reasons that we recommend people stay in Meath while exploring Ireland is due to it’s proximity to endless things to see and do.
For those of you that fancy a hike, you’re in luck – there’s plenty nearby. Here are some of our favourites:
- Ravensdale Forest Walk (Louth)
- Slieve Foye (Louth)
- The Annaloughan Loop Walk (Louth)
- Mullaghmeen Forest (Westmeath)
- The Carlingford Greenway (Louth)
- The Clogherhead Cliff Walk (Louth)
The most popular things to see in Meath amongst visiting tourists
Right – lets get the most popular places to visit in Meath out of the way, next, as there’s plenty of them to get through.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from the Brú na Bóinne complex and Trim Castle to several things to do in Meath that have racked up rave reviews online.
Newgrange is an ancient passage tomb that was built over 5,200 years ago by Stone Age farmers. That makes it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza.
Newgrange is a large circular mound that measures around 85 meters in diameter and 13.5 meters high. It’s surrounded by 97 stones (known as kerbstones) some of which are engraved with megalithic art.
The tour of Newgrange packs a punch and it’s guaranteed to impress young and old alike! Just make sure to book your ticket in advance.
2. The Boyne Valley Drive
The drive immerses you in over 5,000 years of rich history, mythology and folklore, and is home to heavyweights like Newgrange, the Hill of Tara and Loughcrew.
However, it’s also home to several places to go in Meath that are often overlooked, like the Hill of Skryne and Bective Abbey.
The drive is relatively easy to follow, once you have an itinerary at the ready (find our Boyne Valley Drive itinerary here).
3. Trim Castle
The mighty Trim Castle is arguably the best-preserved of the many castles in Ireland. Trim is Ireland’s largest Norman castle and it was built over a lengthy thirty-year period by Hugh de Lacy.
If you’re staring at the picture above and thinking to yourself that it looks like something from a movie, you’re spot on. Trim Castle was used during the filming of Braveheart starring Mel Gibson.
You can either head into Trim Castle for a nosey around (you have to pay) or you can head for a ramble around it and admire it from the outside.
4. Bective Abbey
Although many of the remaining ruins of Bective Abbey date back to the 15th century, an Abbey was originally founded here much earlier, in 1147.
Bective Abbey was Ireland’s second Cistercian abbey and it was established after the success of nearby Mellifont Abbey, in Louth.
Although there’s no official tour here, it’s well worth carving out some time during your visit to Meath to check it out.
The Braveheart link: Due to its medieval qualities, Bective, like Trim Castle, was used during the filming of Braveheart.
5. Slane Castle
You could easily spend a day exploring Slane Castle and its extensive grounds. If you have a bit of time, tackle the castle tour, first, and then nab a bite to eat from the food truck.
When your belly’s happy, you can tackle the walking trail that’ll take you through the grounds that have hosted everyone from Eminem to Bon Jovi.
6. Knowth and Dowth
It consists of a large 12-metre high mound and 17 smaller satellite tombs. As is the case with Newgrange, the structure here is incredibly old.
It has been estimated that the large mound here dates from c. 3,200 BC. You can get to Knowth via a guided tour from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, but you can visit Dowth directly, free of charge.
7. Kells Round Tower
You’ll find the 26 metre high Kells Round Tower in the lively little town of Kells. The doorway to the round tower was originally 12 feet above the ground, and those that wished to enter would have to do so via a ladder.
Traditionally, many round towers have 4 windows, however, Kells Round Tower has five, with each window facing each road and gateway that enters the town.
You’ll also find five high crosses near the tower. The earliest of these crosses dates way back to the 9th century.
8. The Hill of Slane
You’ll find the often-missed Hill of Slane not far from the buzzy little Slane Village where it stands at around 158 metres above the surrounding countryside.
Those that visit will discover a Franciscan Monastery (including a finely preserved tower!) that dates from around 1512. The hill boasts several other historical sites. Interestingly enough, it’s believed that an ancient king (one of the Fir Bolg) is buried here.
The story also goes that St. Patrick lit a fire on the hill as an act of defiance against a local king who forbid any fires being lit while there was a festival fire burning on the nearby Hill of Tara.
Even if you’ve no real interest in the history of the area, the Hill of Slane is worth a visit to soak up the view alone.
Unique things to do in Meath
There are a handful of unique places to visit in Meath, many of which never make it into shiny tourist guidebooks.
Below, you’ll find some quirky attractions along with things to do in Meath that should pique the interest of hard-to-amuse kids.
1. The Irish Military War Museum
Yes, a tank driving lesson (it costs €199.99, though!) The Irish Military War Museum offers a fascinating insight into Irish participants’ involvement in both World Wars.
Inside this 5,000 sq ft ‘hands-on’ museum, you’ll find one of the finest collections of WW2 Allied and Axis vehicles and deactivated weapons in Ireland. There’s also:
- A family Park
- Petting zoo
- Guided tour packages
- Tailored talks/Workshops
Our favourite from the bunch is the brilliant Rock Farm Slane, where they offer luxury eco camping on the River Boyne.
Based on an organic farm on the Slane Castle estate, the campsite is situated on a hillside overlooking Slane Castle, so you can soak up some fine views while you camp.
Related read: Fancy seeing what other funky accommodation Ireland has to offer? Check out our guide to 27 of the most unique places to go glamping in Ireland in 2022.
3. The Slane Distillery
If you’re looking for things to do in Meath with a group of friends, get yourselves to the Slane Distillery! This is one of the more popular whiskey distilleries in Ireland for good reason!
WHISKEY TIME. So, I’d never heard of the Slane Distillery until a friend, who hates whiskey, visited recently. He loved it. Which was a sure sign that this tour is well worth doing.
You’ll find the distillery within the 250-year-old stables of Slane Castle Estate. Those that visit will be taken on an interactive, immersive guided tour with a tutored whiskey tasting.
4. The largest wooden rollercoaster in Europe
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Meath with kids, cave out some time to visit Ireland’s only Theme Park. Tayto Park is another one that’s perfect for parents with kids, large groups, or thrill-seekers in search of things to do in Meath that’ll get the adrenaline flowing.
The park, which opened in November 2010, sprawls across 22 hectares of farmland and is home to Cu Chulainn Coaster, the largest wooden roller coaster in Europe. Now, if you’re not into big rides, don’t worry – there’s plenty of other things to do here that’ll keep you occupied.
There’s a solid selection of smaller rides, a zoo that’s home to an Amur Tiger, Squirrel Monkeys, and lots more, a 5-D cinema, and plenty more. If you want to stay nearby, see our guide to the best hotels near Tayto Park.
5. Babes Bridge
Babes Bridge in Navan is pretty damn old. It’s so old, in fact, that it was mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters.
If you’re not familiar with the Annals, they are chronicles of medieval Irish history that record from way back to 2,242 years after creation right the way up to AD 1616.
Babes Bridge (what a name!) was the only bridge in Meath that survived an enormous flood in 1330 that collapsed every bridge between Trim and Drogheda.
The bridge dates to the 12th century and you can find it if you head off on the Boyne Ramparts Walk. You’ll find the bridge just past Rowley’s Lock along the canal between Navan and Stackallen.
6. The pub from the Guinness Christmas ad
Just looking at the photo above gives me a Christmassy buzz! If you don’t recognise the scene in the photo above, it’s from the now-iconic Guinness ad that hits television each Christmas.
The little pub pictured is O’Connell’s pub in Skryne and it has been in the O’Connell family since at least the 1850s. This is a lovely old-world pub that boasts wooden ceilings, old floors, even older antiques, and a fine drop of Guinness.
It also treats those that visit to excellent views, thanks to its position on the Hill of Skryne.
7. The Spire of Lloyd
The Spire of Lloyd is actually an inland lighthouse. Now, up until around 5 minutes ago, I didn’t even know inland lighthouses were a thing…
Designed by Henry Aaron Baker for the First Earl of Bective, this 30m (100ft) high spire can be found on the summit of the Commons of Lloyd.
It’s said that the spire was used to view horse racing and hunting back in the 19th century. Inside the Spire, you’ll find a 164-step spiral staircase that leads to the top.
On a clear day, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the surrounding countryside out as far as the Mountains of Mourne in Down. Definitely one of the more unusual places to visit in Meath.
Traveller Tip: The Spire opens to the public on every Bank Holiday Monday and it’s free of charge to enter.
9. Farmaphobia at Causey Farm
Causey Farm run numerous events throughout the year, but it’s Farmaphobia that’s arguably one of the most unique things to do in Meath.
Farmaphobia is Ireland’s largest Halloween event and it’s here that you’ll pay to have the sh*te frightened out of you!
The event runs for several weeks around Halloween and you can expect everything from zombies and evil clowns to chainsaw-wielding monsters.
What Meath tourist attractions have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant things to see in Meath from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about what to do in Meath
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What Meath tourists attractions are the most impressive?’ to ‘I’m wondering what to do in Meath with kids this weekend?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best things to do in Meath today?
In my opinion, the best places to visit in Meath are Loughcrew (the views are mighty), Trim Castle, the Hill of Tara and Bru na Bonnie.
What are some unique places to visit in Meath?
The Spire of Lloyd, Europe’s largest roller coaster at Tayto Park and Babes Bridge are some of the more unique Meath tourist attractions.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.