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The Dublin To Meath 1-Day Road Trip: Coffee, Castles, Newgrange And A Whole Lot More

The Dublin To Meath 1-Day Road Trip: Coffee, Castles, Newgrange And A Whole Lot More

Howaya! So, you’re living in Dublin and you’ve a pain in your arse spending every weekend doing same things over and over.

Then Monday rolls around again…

And you regret not doing anything different during your hard-earned weekend off! I know the feeling…

Enter our ‘There-and-back-in-a-day road trip series‘!

These guides are:

  • Easy to follow itineraries aimed at getting Dubliners (or people visiting Dublin) to explore more of Ireland at the weekend
  • Made to obliterate the notion that you need loads of time off to see Ireland
  • 1-day hour-by-hour guides that tell you what to see, where to eat and how to get around

Today, we’re heading to Meath

knowth county meath

Photo by Tony Pleavin

It’s a grand aul spin from Dublin and there’s an absolute heap of stuff to do across the county, which makes it the perfect spot for a day trip.

We’ll kick the day off with coffee in Trim, before working our way around some of the best the county has to offer.


Here’s a map of where you’ll be visiting 

Now, you can change this up if needed, but this is the route the Dublin to Meath 1-day guide follows.

The morning of your trip

Get up at 7:45, grab a bit of breakfast and get into the car and on the road for 8:20.

Our first stop is a handy 40 minute spin from Dublin.

Stop 1 – Pre Adventure Coffee

// Leave Dublin at 8:20, arrive at Harvest Home Bakery and Cafe in Trim for 9:00 //

Coffee and cake from Perry Street Cafe

We’re going to kick off our trip from Dublin with a fat cup of coffee from the Harvest Home Bakery and Cafe.

Get it to go as you’ll be sippin’ and rambling.

Stop 2 – A ramble around Trim Castle

// Leave Harvest Home Bakery and Cafe at 9:10, walk to Trim Castle for 9:15 //

trim castle county meath

Photo by Tony Pleavin

Our second stop of the day is Trim Castle, which is a handy 2-minute walk from where you grabbed your coffee.

If you’re looking at the picture above and thinking that the castle looks like something from a fairytale movie then you’re neeeeearly right.

The castle was used during the filming of Braveheart staring Mel Gibson. So, less fairies and wands and more blokes milling each other out of it with swords.

Some good-to-know stuff about Trim Castle

  • Trim Castle was built In 1172, shortly after the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in Ireland
  • It’s the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland
  • It was built over a 30-year period by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter
  • Trim Castle was used to depict York Castle in the filming of the 1990’s Mel Gibson movie Braveheart

Have a little stroll around the outside of the castle with your coffee and then head back to the car.

Stop 3 – The Hill of Tara

// Leave Trim Castle at 10, arrive at the Hill of Tara for 10:20 //

the hill of tara

Photo via Tourism Ireland

Our third stop of the day takes us 18 minutes down the road from Trim to a place rich with history.

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.

Quick facts about the Hill of Tara

  • The Hill of Tara was once the ancient seat of power in Ireland
  • 142 kings are said to have reigned there in prehistoric and historic times
  • It’s said that a quarter of the landscape of Ireland can be seen from the hill
  • In 1843 an estimated one million people gathered there to hear Daniel ‘The Liberator’ O’Connell speak against the Union of Great Britain and Ireland

In ancient Irish mythology, the Hill of Tara was said to be the sacred place of dwelling for the gods, and was known as the entrance to the otherworld.

Saint Patrick is said to have travelled to Tara to confront the religion of the pagans at its most powerful site.

Stop 4 – Rocking around Newgrange and Knowth

// Leave the Hill of Tara at 11:10, arrive at Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre for 11:35 //

Our next stop takes us to Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, which is where we’ll be accessing Newgrange and Knowth.

Things to know about the tour

  • It takes 3 hours
  • All groups of 15 or more must be pre-booked
  • Knowth is open from 30th March to 7th November
  • Adult admission is €13.00

A bit about Newgrange 

Newgrange is one of those places that blows my mind over and over again.

Built over 5,200 years ago by Stone Age farmers, Newgrange is an old passage tomb that has a clear astronomical alignment.

Newgrange is known globally for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun. An event that is so sought after that a yearly lottery takes place for tickets.

For those of you take the tour, you’ll be given an in-depth insight into its history.

A bit about Knowth

Knowth was also constructed over 5,000 years ago – likely after the construction of Newgrange and before the construction of nearby Dowth.

The Great Mound at Knowth is a similar size to Newgrange and is surrounded by 18 smaller satellite mounds.

The Great Mound has two passages, one of which ends with a cruciform chamber.

Take your time and enjoy the tour. We’ll be heading for a feed next.

Stop 5 – Food at the Snailbox

// Leave the Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre at around 15:00, arrive at the Snailbox in Ashbourne for 15:20 //

the snailbox meath

Photo via the Snailbox on Facebook

I first heard mention of the Snailbox from a friend who’s family is from Meath.

At the time I remember thinking ‘what kind of a mental name is that’, but by all accounts, the food is out of this world.

The Snailbox is also home to the largest display of baseball caps in Ireland. There’s currently over 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.

Eat up and get ready for our final stop of the day.

Stop 6 – Walking off the food in Balrath Woods

// Leave the Snailbox at 16:10, arrive to Balrath Woods for 16:20 //


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This magnificent ancient tree ? — ? #BalrathWoods — ? @ihaveadarksoul — #voyaged #travel #adventure

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We’re going to round the day off with a stroll in Balrath Woods (also known locally as Knockcomra) which is a short 8-minute drive from the Snailbox.

There are a couple of walks that you can do here, so take your pick and round off your day with a lungful of fresh air.

Anything you’d like to add?

I’ve left the comments open below if there’s something you think needs to be added.

Whether it’s something deadly worth doing, or a cafe, restaurant or bar, pop it in below.

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Mark Twomey

Saturday 30th of March 2019

Just two kilometres outside of Athboy in Co Meath you can find one of the possibly most important, yet largely unheralded, archaeological sites in Ireland. This is Tlachtga, known now as the Hill of Ward, and it was here that the origins of Halloween began.

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