Drogheda, Gateway to the Boyne Valley, is one of the oldest towns in Ireland and evidence of its heritage can be found at every turn, as well as a buzzing modern arts scene in its many venues and galleries.
Stepping outside the town centre, there are gardens, beaches, and a range of attractions to suit all ages and interests. Situated only 45 minutes from Dublin city centre, it is an ideal starting point for your Boyne Valley adventure.
Suggested time: 1 to 2-day itinerary
Accommodation: The Boyne Valley offers a great range of first-rate accommodation for visitors to choose from, ranging from luxury hotels to cosy B&Bs and guesthouses, as well as self-catering and camping/glamping options.
Accommodation providers have the health and wellbeing of their guests to the forefront at all times, working to new guidelines issued Fáilte Ireland. For a full listing of accommodation in the Boyne Valley click here.
Drogheda is an ideal town to explore on foot and the best starting point is the historic Tholsel market house which is also home to the Tourist Information Office and interactive Boyne Valley exhibition. Download the “Drogheda Walks- Free Map and Guide” at www.drogheda.ie to help you navigate around the town.
Highlights of your tour will include St Peter’s Church (home to the preserved head of St Oliver Plunkett), the massive St Laurence’s Barbican Gate and Millmount Martello Tower and Museum, which boasts magnificent views of the town.
Having enjoyed the landmarks, why not try to take in the cultural side of Drogheda?
Check out the programme of events at Droichead Arts Centre, The Barbican Centre and the TLT (Tommy Leddy Theatre) to see what’s happening on the Drogheda arts scene. Visit Highlanes Municipal Art Gallery. Situated in a former church, it provides a unique and beautiful visual art space for the visitor, with temporary exhibitions and displays drawn from the Drogheda Municipal Art Collection.
Enjoy lunch at the newly-opened restaurant where guests will enjoy the best that the Boyne Valley has to offer - local ingredients and artisan foods.
Did you know? Highlanes Municipal Gallery houses Drogheda’s most treasured heirlooms – a ceremonial sword and mace presented to Drogheda Corporation by King William III after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
For gardening enthusiasts, the Boyne Valley Garden Trail brochure is available for download from discoverboynevalley.ie, and features fantastic gardens located within Drogheda and in the surrounding area. These include the Augustinian Garden of Remembrance, Barmeath Castle, Killineer House and Gardens, Rokeby Hall, Listoke Gardens, Sonairte, Beaulieu House, Collon House, The Cottages Ireland, Julianstown Village Gardens and Rosemount in Julianstown. Some gardens are by appointment only so planning your journey in advance is recommended.
The early Christian monastery of Monasterboice, north-west of Drogheda, is well worth a visit. Marvel at its round tower and two of the most beautifully-carved Celtic High Crosses in Ireland.
From here you can visit nearby Listoke Gin Distillery & School for a truly fun and interactive experience. Take a tour of the distillery and make your own bottle of gin to bring home. Finish up with your evening meal in the Monasterboice Inn, renowned for its home-farmed steaks and fresh scampi.
After a hearty breakfast, your first stop is the Irish Military War Museum, just outside Collon, which houses an extensive display of weapons, uniforms and military vehicles, from a wide range of conflicts. The museum also has a children’s play area and pet farm.
South-east of Collon is Old Mellifont Abbey, once one of the wealthiest and most influential monastic houses in medieval Ireland. During the summer the visitor centre offers guided tours.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush why not check out WhiteRiver Karting just north of Collon. Visitors are provided with everything they need before taking to the tarmac.
Following this, take a drive out to the nearby coastline where you can enjoy a walk on beautiful Baltray beach or at Clogherhead, followed by refreshment in the Glyde Inn, Anagassan. Alternatively, if you take the southern coastal route you can visit the beach at Bettystown or Laytown, stopping at the Limekiln in Julianstown for lunch or make up a picnic from their bakery and deli to enjoy at the seaside. The nearby Skylight Art Gallery is also worth a visit.
Funtasia, a state-of-the-art water park in Drogheda, will provide the entire family with hours of entertainment. There is also a Funtasia Park at Bettystown Beach in case the day turns rainy!
If golf is your thing, you will be spoiled for choice. Bellewstown Golf Course, County Louth Golf Club (Baltray), Julianstown Golf Club and Laytown and Bettystown Golf Club are all set in spectacular locations and provide a variety of challenges to suit golfers of all ages and standards. What better way to wrap up your visit to Drogheda, Gateway to the Boyne Valley.