Although it’s Ireland’s smallest county, there’s loads of things to do in Louth, regardless of the time of year.
However, for one reason or another, many people tend to overlook Louth as a spot for a weekend away.
Which is a shame, as there’s heaps of hikes and walks in Louth, plenty of beaches and lots of lively towns and villages.
In the guide below, you’ll find a load of things to do in Louth, with something to tickle most fancies. Dive on in!
The best things to do in Louth (a quick overview)
The first section of this guide will give you a nice, quick overview of the most popular places to visit in Louth, with everything from towns and villages to walks and beaches.
The second section of the guide goes into the specific things to do in Louth, like the Cooley Peninsula, the various hikes and walks and plenty more.
1. Medieval towns and charming villages
Before you decide on what to do in Louth, it’s worth spending some time to think about where you’d like to stay during your visit.
County Louth 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. Mighty walks in Louth
Arguably some of the best things to do in Louth involve sticking on some walking shoes and heading off along one of the county’s trails.
There’s some gorgeous walks in Louth to tackle, with a trail for most fitness levels. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Slieve Foye Loop
- Clogherhead Cliff Walk
- Annaloughan Loop
- Ravensdale Forest Walk
- Carlingford Greenway
- Townley Hall Woods
3. Beaches galore
There’s a handful of beautiful beaches in Louth dotted right the way around its coastline and, while the likes of Blackrock Beach tends to get a lot of the attention, there’s plenty to choose from.
Below, you’ll find a mix of popular and very quiet beaches that are well worth rambling along:
4. Ancient sites
Although Louth isn’t as packed with ancient sites as neighbouring Meath, there’s still plenty of places to step back in time in the ‘Wee County’.
Below, you’ll find a handful of ancient sites to visit, many of which are steeped in myth and legend:
- Cú Chulainn’s Castle
- Mellifont Abbey
- Laurence’s Gate (Drogheda)
- Proleek Dolmen
- Hill of Faughart
- Castle Roche
- Magdalene Tower (Drogheda)
- Carlingford Castle
- Termonfeckin High Cross
- Millmount Museum (Drogheda)
5. The Boyne Valley Drive
The Boyne Valley Drive is a fine way to spend a day or two exploring the best things to do in Louth and Meath.
The drive is relatively easy to follow, once you have an itinerary at the ready (find our Boyne Valley Drive itinerary here).
What to do in Louth if you want to stretch the legs
If you’re wondering what to do in Louth that’ll give your legs a big aul stretch, you’re in luck – there’s some lovely active things to do in Louth to get the heat rate up.
From glorious coastline to mountains overlooking the sea, Louth is home to some fine rambles.
1. The Clogherhead Cliff Walk
The Clogherhead Cliff Walk is a relatively handy stroll that treats you magnificent views of the Mournes and the sea as you stroll.
There are several trails here, ranging from 30 minutes in length to 1.5 hours, if you extend your walk down onto Clogherhead Beach (you can grab fish and chips here!).
The trail kicks-off in the big car park near the harbour and takes you along the grass near the cliff. This is a handy walk but it gets extremely muddy after heavy rain.
2. The Annaloughan Loop
If you’re looking for things to do in Louth this weekend, head to the car park of Fitzpatrick’s Bar & Restaurant early and tackle the Annaloughan Loop.
This is a moderately difficult 8km trail that’ll take you around 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete and offers mighty views throughout.
The added bonus is that you can nip into Fitzpatrick’s on the way back and grab a post-hike breakfast.
3. The Carlingford Greenway
The greenway, which opened in 2014, connects Carlingford to Omeath, is 7km long and takes around 1 hour to cycle and 2 hours to walk (depending on pace and stop-offs).
Over the course of your spin, you’ll encounter fields packed with grazing sheep, old railway crossings and a couple of bridges along with plenty of views of the stunning scenery that surrounds the area.
4. The Slieve Foye Loop
Slieve Foye is the highest peak in the Cooley Mountains and it’s the perfect place to spend an active morning or afternoon.
As you get stuck into the belly of the climb you’ll be treated to a gorgeous panoramic view out over Carlingford Lough.
The Slieve Foye Loop takes around 2 and a half hours and it’s a tough enough aul slog, especially after heavy rain. When you’re finished, you can nip into one of the many restaurants in Carlingford for a feed.
5. The Boyne Greenway
So, a chunk of this trail will take you into Meath, but it starts in Drogheda, which is why I’ve popped it in.
Kicking off at Dominic’s Park on the south bank of the River Boyne, the Boyne Greenway follows the river (near the Mary McAleese Bridge), past the Boyne Canal, and then on to the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre at Oldbridge.
This is another solid option for those of you looking for things to do in Louth this weekend, as you can start of finish with breakfast in Drogheda.
6. Ravensdale Forest
The Ravensdale Forest Walk is another great spot for an early morning wander. There are several trails here, varying from 1 hour to 6 hours +.
The Ravensdale Forest Circular is a solid option if you want something in between – it takes roughly 3 hours and it takes you around a good chunk of the forest.
For a post-walk feed, you’ve Lumpers Bar and Fitzpatrick’s, both of which are under a 15-minute spin away.
The more popular tourist attractions in Louth
The next section of our guide looks Louth tourist attractions that tend to pique the interest of tourists.
Below, you’ll find a mix of castles and medieval structures to tours, trails and more.
1. Magdalene Tower and Laurence’s Gate
Drogheda’s Magdalene Tower (on the left above) was constructed in the 14th century and served as the belfry tower to a large Dominican friary which was founded in 1224 by the Archbishop of Armagh.
It was here that the Ulster chiefs submitted to the King of England in 1367. St. Laurence’s Gate (right above) was built back in the 13th century as part of the walled fortifications of the medieval town of Drogheda.
Originally one of ten gates into the town, it used to lead into the Friary of St. Laurence and it’s now regarded as one of the finest of its kind to be found in Europe. Two lovely chunks of medieval Ireland that stand proudly to this day.
2. Muiredach’s High Cross and Round Tower
Monasterboice in is home to the High Cross of Muiredach – one of the finest pieces of early medieval sculpture in Ireland.
Standing at an impressive 35 metres high, the Monasterboice round tower was used as a watchtower and refuge by monks during times of Viking attack.
3. Mellifont Abbey
You’ll find the first Cisterian monastery in Ireland, Mellifont Abbey, a stones throw from Drogheda. It was founded by St Malachy, the Archbishop of Armagh in 1142.
The abbot at Mellifont wielded considerable power and influence and even having a seat in the English House of Lords.
You can nip into the Visitor Centre here and check out an interesting exhibition on the work of masons in the Middle Ages. You’ll also find some fine examples of their craft on display.
4. Millmount Fort
A visit to the Millmount Museum is one of the more popular things to do in Drogheda for good reason. Shortly after Hugh de Lacy was granted the kingdom of Meath in 1172, he constructed a motte and bailey castle on an enormous mound overlooking the River Boyne.
This castle was used to defend the town during Cromwell’s (a right aul prick) siege of Drogheda in 1649. Many years later, in 1808, the old fortifications were knocked down and the present tower was erected.
Millmount Fort received considerable damage in 1922 when it was shelled by Free State forces during the Civil War. It was restored and made open to the public in 2000.
5. King John’s Castle
According to legend, King John stayed here for three days back in 1210 AD. The castle was the first stone building that was built in Carlingford and it was from here that the town grew.
Grab a coffee in the town and take a ramble up here for a look around.
6. The Carlingford Ferry
You’ve seen Carlingford from the town and the mountains, now it’s time to see it from the lough.
Hop aboard the Carlingford Ferry (15-minute drive from the centre of Carlingford) and take the scenic route from Greenore (Louth) to Greencastle (Down).
The trip only takes 15 minutes but the scenery that you’ll be treated to on the way is out of this world.
7. St. Oliver Plunkett’s head
Next up is one of the more unusual things to do in Louth. It’s inside the beautiful St. Peter’s Church on West Street in Drogheda that you’ll find the head of St. Oliver Plunkett, a 17th-century Irish Saint.
Plunkett was accused of plotting a French invasion by the Privy Council of England. He was arrested in Dublin in December 1679 and imprisoned in Dublin Castle.
The saint was falsely accused and tried for conspiring against the state by allegedly plotting to bring 20,000 French soldiers into Ireland. He was declared guilty of high treason in June 1681 and condemned to death.
Plunkett was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in Middlesex on 1 July 1681 at age 55. His body was buried in two tin boxes until it was exhumed in 1683 and moved to the Benedictine monastery in Germany.
The head was then brought to Rome. And then to Armagh… It was eventually moved to Drogheda in June of 1921 where it has been since.
8. Cú Chulainn’s Castle
If you’re looking for hidden gems in Louth, get yourself to Dún Dealgan Motte (AKA Cú Chulainn’s Castle). You’ll find it on a ridge overlooking the Castletown River.
Parking here can be tricky and the entrance is easy to miss. Find out everything you need to know about visiting here.
9. County Museum Dundalk
There are few museums in Ireland that chronicle the changes and evolution of an area from the Stone Age right the way up to the present day as finely as Dundalk County Museum.
Built within a restored 18th-century distillery in the Carroll Centre, this unique museum is home to a huge variety of exhibitions and displays.
It also regularly hosts drama presentations, lectures and film screenings for the local community. Pop it on your list of things to do in Dundalk when it’s raining!
10. Visit the Proleek Dolmen
As you’ve probably gathered, Louth is home to an almost endless number of megalithic attractions that’ll excite and enthral.
The Proleek Dolmen on the grounds of Ballyscanlon Hotel is one of many that’s well worth the visit. This portal tomb resembles a giant’s table and stands at 3 metres high.
According to legend, a wish will be granted to anyone who can successfully land a pebble on the top of the Dolmen without it rolling back off.
11. Castle Roche
You’ll find Castle Roche around 10 km north-west of Dundalk. Back in the day it was the seat of the De Verdun family who are said to have built the castle in 1236 AD.
Situated atop of a rocky outcrop, Castle Roche offers magnificent views out across the surrounding country.
Like Cú Chulainn’s Castle, Castle Roche can be a pain when it comes to parking. Find out more in our guide.
Fun things to do in Louth
The final section of our guide focuses on fun things to do in Louth for families and groups.
Below, you’ll find everything from ziplines and gin-making to water-based activities and more.
1. Carlingford Adventure Centre
If you’re looking for things to do in Louth for families, our next stop should be right up your street.
If you, like me, have ever wanted to zip through a load of trees while enjoying unbeatable views of Carlingford and the Mourne Mountains, then this’ll be right up your street.
You’ll find Ireland’s longest treetop zip line park in If you visit Carlingford Adventure Centre. Get the adrenaline going 90 on over 1km of Ziplines, with 15 separate Zip Wires and 18 Suspended Challenges (some of which are up to 45 feet tall!).
2. The Carlingford Brewing Company
The Carlingford Brewing Co. was set up in 2015 and has been brewing beer since July of 2016.
Over the course of the tour, you’ll be told the tale of Donn Cúailnge, the Brown Bull of Cooley, before being taken through the towns famous landmarks that inspire their beers.
You’ll also get to sample some of the tasty beers that get brewed there. If you’re in need of a feed you can also give their delicious wood-fired, stone-baked pizzas a lash.
3. Funtasia Drogheda
While there’s plenty of things to do in Funtasia to keep the kids busy, it’s the waterpark that steals the show.
The indoor Waterpark is home to over 30,000 sq feet of water, and kids can take part in 200 water-based activities.
From super slides and fun play areas to toddlers splash and an adult-only jacuzzi, there’s a little bit of something for everyone here.
Perfect if you’re looking for fund things to do in Louth when it’s lashing down outside.
Related read: Check out our guide to 13 of the best hotels in Louth (with something to suit most budgets)
4. Listoke Gin School
Yes, there’s a gin school in Louth… Visitors to the Listoke Gin School are greeted with a Gin & Tonic upon arrival before being given a guided of the distillery.
When the tour finishes, the tastings begin. Once tastebuds have been tantalised, the gin-making class kicks off, with each guest given the opportunity to select their own recipe.
Students then get to distill and bottle their own gin before chowing down on some local produce.
This is arguably one of the most unique things to do in Louth, especially with a group of friends.
This looks brilliant! If you fancy testing your nerve, a visit to Ireland’s largest aerial adventure course is a must.
Boasting the longest aerial adventure course in Ireland, SkyPark is home to over 30 challenges including cargo nets, skateboards, giant log swings, and monkey bars.
A solid option for those of you visiting Carlingford and looking to do something active that doesn’t involve hiking.
6. The Last Leprechauns of Ireland
Carlingford isn’t just about climbing mountains and flying about the place on ziplines. It’s is also where you can visit the last leprechauns in Ireland.
Below Slate Rock on Carlingford Mountain lies an ancient tunnel system that leads into a cavern at the folklore park near Ghan Road.
Visitors can head off on a tour that includes storytelling, an introduction to the area and a brief history of the current state of leprechaun welfare by the ‘Leprechaun Whisperer’ himself.
This is another handy option for those of you looking for things to do in Louth for families.
What places to visit in Louth have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant places to go in Louth 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!
Louth tourist attractions FAQs
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What places to visit are the most unique?’ to ‘What attractions would suit families?’.
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 Louth?
In my opinion, the various walks (Slieve Foye, the Annaloughan Loop, etc) and the beaches (Port Beach, Clogherhead, etc.) are hard to beat.
What Louth tourist attractions are good for families?
In Carlingford, the adventure centre is a solid option, as there’s something for all ages. Funtasia is a handy rainy day option while the Carlingford Ferry is a nice, unique experience.
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.