If you’re looking for things to do in Meath today, tomorrow, next weekend, or whenever, you’ll find plenty of ideas below.
Many people have it in their head that the only places in Meath worth seeing are Newgrange and Trim Castle. Don’t fall into that same trap.
Yes, both are well worth a nosey around, but there are LOADS more worthwhile things to do in Meath and places to see that are often overlooked.
In the guide below, you’ll find everything from whiskey distilleries and ancient sites to old-world pubs and sandy beaches. G’wan! Dive on in!
Table of Contents
A clatter of things to do in Meath in 2020
Known as ‘the Royal County’, Meath is home to some of Ireland’s top archaeological sites, like Newgrange and Knowth. ‘Eh, hold on… what’s all this about a ‘Royal County’?!’
The story behind the name ‘the Royal County’ is as old as the hills. Mannnnnny centuries ago aspiring High Kings of Ireland travelled from across the land to County Meath.
Their destination? The Hill of Tara! It was here that those worthy were crowned in elaborate kingship rituals, hence the name!
Right, I’ll stop yapping away – below, you’ll find a load of worthwhile things to do in Meath at any time of the year!
1. Kick start the day with an early morning ramble along one of Meath’s many beaches
There are few things that batter away the cobwebs like an early morning ramble along a beach with a fat cup of coffee.
Luckily, Meath is home to a number of beaches that are well-worth visiting for an early-morning stroll along the sand (or a swim, if the cold doesn’t bother you!).
Four of the most popular beaches in the county can be found in Bettystown, Laytown, Mornington and Gormanstown. Kick-off yer shoes and head for a saunter.
2. Then grab a post-walk breakfast at the Donkey Shed
Yes, the name is a bit mad the first time you hear it but trust me, the food dished out here is class! You’ll find the Donkey Shed on Newbarn Farm, near Ashbourne in Meath.
Located in a tastefully converted barn that used to be called home by the farm’s donkeys, the Donkey Shed serves up a serious aul breakfast.
I was here a couple of months back and can vouch for the food (and coffee) being cracking. Get in and get fed (if you arrive on a sunny day try and nab one of the seats outside!)
3. Follow it up with a walk around Newbarn’s open farm
If you’re in search of things to do in Meath with kids, then this’ll be right up your street. After you’ve had a feed in the Donkey Shed, take the 30-second stroll over to the open farm.
You’ll meet Neddy and Danny, the farm’s donkeys, the Black Angus heifers affectionately known as the ‘Cowdashians‘ (they’re actually called Kim and Khloe), goats, 5 pigs, geese, ducks, and more.
There’s also a little shop in a barn right next to the farm where you can pick up fresh fruit and veg if you fancy!
4. Spend a day spinning along the Boyne Valley scenic drive
Those that head off on the Boyne Valley Drive will explore an area that boasts 9,000+ years of history, a whole load of scenery and a clatter of ancient sites.
There are few places in Ireland with so many attractions (that are worth visiting!) all within such close proximity.
This drive packs in a crazy amount of places to visit. If you follow this route you’ll visit a ridiculous amount of attractions, like:
- Bru Na Boinne
- The Hill of Tara
- Trim Castle
- Loughcrew Cairns
- Kells High Crosses
- Mellifont Abbey
- Slane Castle
- A load of historical sites in Drogheda (see them in our guide to the best things to do in Louth)
5. Head on an ice cream (yes, ice cream) adventure at Causey Farm
This is another one for those of you looking for things to do in Meath with kids. Yes, the folks at Causey Farm are launching an Ice Cream Trail this summer!
Those that visit will get the chance to meet farm animals, play plenty of games and puzzles and, of course, enjoy a bit of homemade ice cream.
6. Take a walk up the highest hill in the county
There’s no end to the number of places in Meath where you can head for a ramble. One of the best, in my opinion, is Loughcrew Cairns.
Interestingly enough, 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.
Now, although this is the highest hill in the county, it’s just 276 meters high, which means you’ll reach the top after around 10 to 15 minutes.
Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be treated to fantastic views of the lush green countryside that surrounds the hill.
7. Chill on the grass across from Trim Castle and soak up the view
You’ll often see Trim Castle tipped in tourist guides as one of the best things to do in Meath, and it’s not hard to see why.
The mighty Trim Castle is arguably the best-preserved of the many castles in Ireland. It was built in 1172 and has sat on the banks of the River Boyne for over 800 years.
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.
Tip: 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.
8. Give glamping at Rock Farm Slane a bash
If you fancy staying somewhere a little bit quirky during your visit to Meath, then this place should tickle your fancy!
The lads at Rock Farm Slane offer luxury eco camping on the River Boyne between April and November each year.
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: Check out our guide to 27 of the most unique places to go glamping in Ireland in 2020.
9. Then tantalise your tastebuds on the Slane Distillery Tour
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.
Naturally enough you’ll want to ensure that you’ve a designated driver if you fancy sipping a bit of whiskey during your visit.
10. Or go for a ramble around the iconic Slane Castle
Up until recently, the only time that I was in the grounds of Slane Castle was for an Eminem gig about 10 years ago.
Then we took a spin out to the grounds a couple of weeks back while on the way back from visiting Armagh. The castle here is insanely impressive.
You can head off on a guided historical tour here that’ll immerse you in the history of the building, which was built in 1785.
You’ll also learn about the family that lives there along with the many concerts that have been held at the venue over the years.
11. Nip into the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre (top of Tripadvisor’s list of things to do in Meath)
A visit to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre tends to be one of the go-to places to visit in Meath for many of those exploring the county for the first time.
The centre is an information hub that’ll help you learn arbout Newgrange and Knowth before you visit the attractions themselves.
You’ll find an extensive exhibition here that includes a full-scale replica of the chamber at Newgrange, along with a model of one of the smaller tombs at Knowth.
Take some time here to uncover the history of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth before you take the shuttle bus to the monuments.
12. Then head for a ramble around Newgrange
A visit to the ancient site of Newgrange is often said to be one of the best things to do in Ireland. It’s definitely one of the most impressive, anyway!
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.
13. Followed by another ramble around Knowth
Next on our list is Knowth. Although Newgrange tends to get a good chunk of the fame, Knowth boasts the largest passage grave of the Brú na Bóinne complex.
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. Now, keep in mind that there’s no direct access to Knowth.
You can only get to it, and Newgrange, via a guided tour from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre.
14. Get a big aul feed at the Snailbox and check out the largest collection of caps in Ireland
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Meath, pop a visit to the Snailbox onto your to-visit-sharpish list.
Randomly enough, the Snailbox is home to the largest display of caps in Ireland. There are currently a whopping 5,000+ hanging about the place.
The collection was started when a customer (and previous owner) known as ‘Smithy’ left his cap there one night and never got it back.
The food here is also tasty-out! So, get in, get fed, have a gander at the caps and then head off on your merry way.
15. Check out Bective Abbey (another one from Braveheart)
Although many of the remaining ruins at Bective date back to the 15th century, the 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.
16. Soak up some more history at Kells Round Tower
You’ll find the 26 metre high Kells Round Tower in, unsurprisingly enough, the little town of Kells in Meath.
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.
17. Grab a view and a half from the Hill of Slane at sunset
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.
18. Ride the largest wooden rollercoaster in Europe at Tayto Park
Next up is a visit to 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.
19. Visit the pub from the Guinness Christmas ad (and grab a cracking view as you nurse a pint)
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, Meath, and it has been in the O’Connell family since at least the 1850s.
This is a lovely old-world type 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.
20. Dive into history at the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre
You’ll find the fantastic Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre located in the recently restored 18th century Oldbridge House in Meath.
The Battle of the Boyne took place in 1690 between the forces of King James VII and II of Scotland, England, and Ireland and those loyal to the Dutch Prince William of Orange.
William brought 36,000 troops to the battle while James had just 25,000. What was at stake?
- The British throne
- French dominance across Europe
- Religious power in Ireland
To cut a long story short, the battle, which took place across the River Boyne, was won by William.
Those of you that take the time to visit the Battle of the Boyne Centre will be immersed in the story of the infamous battle that took place.
21. Hop into a kayak and go flying along the River Boyne
If gulping down lungfuls of fresh air while meandering through the Boyne Valley tickles your fancy, then a visit to the lads at Boyne Valley Activities is a must.
Over the course of a 2-hour tour, you’ll paddle your kayak through an abundance of flora and fauna, past Medieval Castles, and along beautiful banks.
You’ll learn how to use the kayak first before hitting the water with qualified instructors. A nice and unique way to experience the valley.
This is the perfect activity for those of you looking for things to do in Meath with a large group of friends on a weekend away.
UPDATE: Due to the current pain-in-the-hole of a situation, the lads at Boyne Valley Activities have had to postpone activities until 2021. I’ve heard nothing but brilliant reviews about this company over the years. If you can, try and visit them in 2021!
22. Kick back to some live music in a traditional Irish pub
The James Griffin Pub is a traditional Irish pub that’s been on Trim High Street (sounds very American altogether, I know!) since way back in the 1800s.
If you nip in here on a Thursday, you’ll have a trad Session to accompany your finely poured pint.
Acoustic sessions also take place on Fridays and Saturdays. A grand aul spot for a post-adventure pint or 3.
23. Grab an ice cream and head for a stroll at 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 and short and you’ll have a fine view to enjoy as you stroll.
24. Take your dog on holiday to Tankardstown House
If you read our guide to dog friendly hotels in Ireland, you’ll know that the very fancy Tankardstown House welcomes pets.
This is an 18th-century manor house that’s an ideal base to explore the Boyne Valley (Trim and Slane Castle are both right on its doorstep).
There’s a generous 80 acres of woodland and parkland here that you and your pooch can explore and there are dedicated stylish courtyard suites for you to kick-back in.
25. Visit an inland lighthouse… yes, lighthouse!
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.
26. Head for a wander and see the ancient Babes Bridge in Navan
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.
26. Take a tank driving lesson at 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
28. Head for a saunter around Balrath Woods
We’ve reached (finally, says you!) the end of our guide to Meath! Well, nearly. Our final stop takes us out to the gorgeous Balrath Woods for a ramble.
Often referred to as ‘Knockcomra‘, Balrath Woods is a lovely little spot for a stroll. There are a couple of walks that you can do here, that vary in length.
There are also four play areas for those of you visiting with kids. As you can see above, I can’t for the life of me find a good picture of Balrath woods.
If you have one that you’d allow us to use, let me know in the comments below and I’ll give you a shout! Cheers!
What places in Meath have we missed?
The guides on this site rarely sit still. They grow based on feedback and recommendations from readers and locals that visit and comment.
I’m sure there are plenty of things to do in Meath that we (unintentionally!) left out of the guide above.
Have something to recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!