Located in the southern end of the Boyne Valley, the story of Enfield is strongly connected with developments in travel, even from ancient times.
It is believed that the Enfield area was once situated on “an tSlí Mhór” or “The Great Way” which acted as a highway joining the East and West of the Country. An tSlí Mhór was said to have been one of 5 road ways that originated at the most sacred site in Ireland, the Hill of Tara. Famed for being the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, Tara is steeped in history and mythology and it still holds a special meaning for Irish people to this day.
Enfield was also once known as Innfield, a name that originated from the Royal Oak Inn, which was a stopping point for travelers during the stage coach era of the 18th to early 19th centuries. The Inn is believed to have been located at the site of what is now the Bridge House Bar and Restaurant. Bianconi’s horse-drawn carriage network, one of the earliest forms of public transport in Ireland, also had links with Enfield. However, other options were to become available that would be faster and more direct than Bianconi’s coaches and Enfield would remain a hub for transportation throughout these developments.
The Royal Canal opened in 1817 and stretched from Dublin to the River Shannon, cutting its way through Enfield and surrounding areas. The fly-boats, which were drawn by horses, became a popular form of travel and barges were used to transport goods in bulk along the canal. This amazing feat of engineering, before the age of diggers and excavators, is testament to the engineers, stonemasons and many labourers who worked on the 146km manmade channel. However, the arrival of the railways meant that people and goods could move quite a bit faster and eventually the canal fell into disuse and sadly closed in the 1960s. Trains were the way forward and Enfield train station is still in operation with the Dublin to Sligo train making regular stops at its platform.
The revival of this amenity as the Royal Canal Greenway has been embraced by Enfield and a Leisure Park has been developed along its banks at the edge of the town. This park is located directly across from the train station and is an ideal starting point for a Royal Canal Greenway adventure. On foot or cycling, the terrain is easy to negotiate and with some hospitable places for refreshment along the route between Enfield and Killucan, such as Furey’s bar in Moyvalley or Moran’s Shop and Pub at Hill of Down, visitors are bound to enjoy taking in the beautiful countryside at their own pace and from a totally unique perspective.
From its setting in the historic Boyne Valley, Enfield is only a short distance away from fantastic monuments such as Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, the sacred Hill of Tara, Tlachtga/ Hill of Ward which is the birthplace of Halloween and the film-makers favourite, Bective Abbey. Visit nearby Clonard with its monastic connections or admire how the Royal Canal crosses over the River Boyne at the aqueduct by Longwood Harbour and consider the work that went into creating this amazing piece of engineering. Reconnect with nature and relish the peace and tranquility of the Royal Canal Greenway as you explore the Boyne Valley, birthplace of Ireland’s Ancient East.