Royal Meath. Meath of the pastures. Meath of the people. Meath of many people.......Any recent Census has confirmed what had been expected. The population of Ireland may have increased by 8%, but Meath is one of the fastest-growing places of all, its increase clocking in at 22.1% and counting.
The numbers arern’t huge in today's overcrowded and city-oriented world, perhaps, but nevertheless Meath is a county which finds itself living in interesting times. The proximity of Dublin - with the inevitable pressures of prosperity and population – can be challenging. But it also brings benefits. With an increasingly affluent and discerning population, Meath is able to support a wide variety of hospitable establishements ranging from glossy restaurants of international quality to characterful pubs deep in the heart of the country.
And the inevitable changes – for instance, the need to find ways through the county for new major roads - are projects which you feel Meath can absorb. For this is a county which is comfortable and confident with itself, and rightly so. The evidence of a rich history is everywhere in Meath. But it's a history which sits gently on a county which is enjoying its own contemporary prosperity at a pace which belies the bustle of Dublin just down the road.
And anyone with an interest in the past will find paradise in Meath, for along the Boyne Valley the neolithic tumuli at Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth are awe-inspiring, Newgrange in particular having its remarkable central chamber which is reached by the rays of sun at dawn at the winter solstice.
Just 16 kilometres to the southwest is another place of fascination, the Hill of Tara. Royal Tara was for centuries the cultural and religious capital of pre-Christian Ireland. Its fortunes began to wane with the coming of Christianity, which gradually moved the religious focal point to Armagh, though Tara was a place of national significance until it was finally abandoned in 1022 AD.
Little now remains of the ancient structures, but it is a magical place, for the approach from gently rising eastern flank gives little indication of the wonderful view of the central plain which the hill suddenly provides to the westward. It is truly inspiring, and many Irish people reckon the year is incomplete without a visit to Tara, where the view is to eternity and infinity, and the imagination takes flight.
Local Attractions and Information
Donore Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre
+353 (0)41 988 0300
Dunboyne Hamwood House & Gardens
+353 (0)1 825 5210
Good Food Circle (Meath)
c/o +353 (0)46 907 3426
Kells Grove Gardens & Tropical Bird Sanctuary
+353 (0)46 923 4276
Laytown Sonairte (National Ecology Centre)
+353 (0)41 982 7572
Navan Tourism Information
+353 (0)46 907 3426
Navan Navan Racecourse
+353 (0)46 902 1350
Megalithic Tombs +353 (0)41 988 0300 / 982 4488
Oldcastle Loughcrew Historic Gardens
+353 (0)49 854 1922
Oldcastle Loughcrew Passage Tombs
(3000BC) +353 (0)49 854 2009
Ratoath Fairyhouse Racecourse
+353 (0)1 825 6167
Summerhill Larchill Arcadian Gardens
+353 (0)1 628 7354
Tara Interpretive Centre +353 (0)46 25903
Trim Butterstream Garden
+353 (0)46 943 6017
Trim Tourism Information
+353 (0)46 943 7111
Trim Trim Castle
(restored Norman stronghold) +353 (0)46 943 8619