Escape to the Boyne Valley: Memorable Experiences in Navan

Published: 06 Aug 2020

Navan’s central location makes it an ideal hub from which to explore the Boyne Valley. The town offers a variety of quality accommodation, restaurants and bars, and there are a selection of walks to enjoy in the urban centre and stretching out to the lush green countryside beyond.

 

Navan has achieved the prestigious Purple Flag status for its evening and night-time economy in 2015, offering a vibrant mix of entertainment while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and locals.

Suggested: 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 and are working to new guidelines issued by Fáilte Ireland. For a full listing of accommodation in the Boyne Valley click here.

Day 1:

One of the best ways to start your stay in Navan is to download a free copy of the Navan Points of Pride map, which celebrates the people, culture and architecture of Navan. Commencing at the Solstice Arts Centre and Tourist Office, the route is 4km long and takes approximately 2 hours at a leisurely pace. See evidence of Navan’s market heritage at the Fairgreen and Market Square in the town and visit the medieval ruins of Athlumney Castle. Access to the site is via the nearby Athlumney Manor B&B where a key may be borrowed, upon leaving a returnable deposit.

Did you know? In 1649 during Oliver Cromwell's Siege of Drogheda, the Maguire (Mac Uidhir) who held Athlumney Castle burned it down to prevent Cromwell taking possession of it.

During your walk, take time to browse through the boutiques and other fantastic shops generously distributed throughout the town. To experience some Boyne Valley Flavours, visit the Old Cornmarket section for coffee and cake and appreciate the historic architecture of your surroundings.

From here continue your trip to the Hill of Tara. This special and sacred site was a prehistoric burial complex and the inauguration site of the High Kings of Ireland. On a clear day the views are spectacular, and you will definitely feel that the cobwebs have been blown away after your walk around this amazing area.

Did you know?  On the Hill of Tara is a standing stone known as the Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny). This was the inauguration stone of the Kings of Tara and according to tradition, when a true king placed a foot on stone, it cried out to announce his rightful reign.

Stop into Maguires Café, for some fabulous freshly prepared lunch, or even get it to go and enjoy some al fresco dining in your unique surroundings. 

Following this take a lazy drive back into town, stopping on your way to visit Noreen Walshe’s art gallery at Garlow Cross, and enjoy her artwork inspired by local flora and fauna. You may even pick up a print or some custom-designed homeware while you’re there. A visit to Lismullin School of Culinary and Home Arts is another fun thing to do if you’re in this area. Check out their calendar to see what classes (suitable for adults, kids and families) are scheduled.

End your day by completing the beautiful Boyne Ramparts Walk. This linear stretch of 8km (16km return), runs from Navan to Stackallen and features interpretive panels with interesting facts about the area at intervals along the route. You will see the canal locks of the once busy Boyne Navigation, Babe's Bridge (the oldest bridge on the river) and pass close to the ruins of the eerie Dunmoe Castle and Ardmulchan Church then finishing up at Stackallen Bridge before you turn back to Navan.

Having worked up an appetite, visit The Central in the heart of Navan for some excellent locally-sourced cuisine. With a selection of indoor and outdoor restaurant spaces this really makes for a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience. Teach na Teamhrach, just outside of the town heading in the direction of Trim, is another great option for in-house dinners or take-out services.

 

 

Day 2:

 

Start day 2 of your trip with a round of golf at one of the nearby courses. From Navan the most conveniently located places to play are in the beautiful surroundings of Royal Tara Golf Club, at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Killeen Castle or at the traditional parklands of Headfort Golf Club in nearby Kells. If you travel a little further to Trim you can also visit Knightsbrook Golf Resort, with its course designed by the late Christy O’Connor Jnr or historic County Meath Golf Club established in 1898. If you prefer something a bit less sporting, An Tobar Retreat and Spirituality Centre offers retreats and workshops in beautiful surroundings just 3km outside Navan in the townland of Ardbraccan.

 

From here take a drive back into Navan and visit the Solstice Arts Centre where you can enjoy the display of visual art and also indulge in a delicious lunch at their on-site café.

 

After lunch, why not make time for some fun family activities! Navan Adventure Centre offers mini-golf, inflatables, off-road pedal go-karting and football-golf to enjoy in a safe outdoor setting. An ideal way to relax and have fun with the kids. Another great family attraction is The Zone. This state-of-the-art facility offers indoor karting, laser tag, virtual reality, gaming and bowling experiences. With top notch onsite sanitisation facilities, you can rest assured that the whole family will enjoy their afternoon out and your only worry will be who’s gonna see the chequered flag first! 

Following this, check out the Boyne Valley Garden Trail. With members dotted throughout the region, the rich heritage of the Boyne Valley is reflected in gardens that date back to the 17th century. The most conveniently accessed gardens around the Navan area include, Balrath House and Garden, Bee Wise Gardens in Kilmessan, Herbert’s Garden in Churchtown and the beautiful gardens location at the Station House Hotel (an ideal spot for some afternoon tea).

If you feel that you will like to experience some more heritage before wrapping up your visit, take a drive out to Donaghmore Round Tower and Cemetery. Saint Patrick is said to have first founded a monastery here, giving charge of it to one of his followers, St. Cassanus. The round tower predates the church and was built in the 9th or 10th century.

Did you know? The well-preserved round tower at Donaghmore displays wonderful rough limestone masonry and may have been built by the same builder as the tower at Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.