Escape to the Boyne Valley: Memorable Experiences in Slane

The village of Slane nestled on a hillside on the banks of the River Boyne, is an ideal place to begin a Boyne Valley adventure. Close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne and is within easy reach of both Navan and Drogheda, the village itself offers hidden gems to discover in its arty-quarter , as well as the beautiful setting of Slane Castle and Slane Distillery.

Suggest: 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 Slane and the surrounding area click here.

Day 1:

Note: For any assistance that you may require regarding tourist information, drop by the Slane Hub & Tourist Information Centre located on Main Street.

Home to the Conyngham family since 1703, and famous for hosting some of the most famous rock acts in the world, Slane Castle is an ideal place to start your tour of this part of the Boyne Valley. It’s setting on 1,500 acres of lush green landscape along the banks of the River Boyne makes it a truly magnificent place to visit. Slane Distillery is located adjacent to the Castle and combination tickets are available for tours of both fantastic attractions.

Did you know? In 1802 Lady Elizabeth Conyngham of Slane, became the last mistress of King George IV, who it is said straightened the road from Dublin to Slane for speedier visits!

The Distillery which was founded in 2015 takes visitors on a tour of the various processes involved in the production of its blended triple-casked whiskey. Your guide will explain the distilling process and the sustainable principles behind this state-of-the-art facility. The tour ends with a tasting of Slane Whiskey, which is a great way to wrap up this unique experience.

A combined visit lasts 3 hours and you can take lunch in the comfort of Slane Castle’s Browne’s Bar, or if you are in need of a kick-start before your tours, breakfast is also available.

 

After lunch, take an afternoon tour with Slane Food Circle. Tours commence at 2pm and run til 7.45pm. This guided tour will take you behind the scenes to meet the makers of some of the Boyne Valley’s favourite produce at their own farms and also gives you the opportunity to taste samples of the delicious food. Bus transfers and a tasting plate at the end of the day are included. Individual tours are also available so you can choose to visit the Rock Farm with its organic veggies and rare breed pigs and cattle, Mullagha Goat Farm the home of the amazing Boyne Valley Bán and Boyne Valley Blue cheeses, or meet cider-maker Mark Jenkinson producer of the award-winning Cockagee Irish keeved cider.

Did you know? Rock Farm Slane, is the Boyne Valley’s flag ship destination for Eco-tourism with its sustainable building techniques and environmentally friendly practices. Check out their organic farm shop or for a more hands-on experience join in a farm walk or try out their electric bikes.

At the end of your busy day, enjoy a tasty dinner at the historic Conyngham Arms Hotel on Main Street. This beautifully restored 18th century coaching inn serves locally-sourced, seasonal food all day.

 

Day 2:

Start your day with a visit to the UNESCO world heritage site of Brú na Bóinne and its ancient passage tombs of NewgrangeKnowth and Dowth. These tombs are about 5,000 years old and the site is one of the most significant prehistoric, megalithic sites in Europe. Guided tours of Newgrange and Knowth are available and should be booked at the newly-refurbished Visitor Centre.

Did you know? Brú na Bóinne is home to the largest concentration of carved megalithic stone art in Western Europe.

 

As you leave Brú na Bóinne you will pass Boyne Valley Wools so be sure to stop in for a visit. Using wool from her flock of Jacob sheep, Alison Fullam Gogan spins yarn and offers daily demonstrations in the Craft Studio. Don’t forget the giftshop!

The Boyne Currach Centre is located close by and is open for visitors by appointment, for those who wish to learn about the boat building skills and crafts of our prehistoric ancestors.

From here continue on to the site of the Battle of the Boyne, Oldbridge House and Gardens,  pausing for lunch in the picturesque tearooms. Afterwards you can stroll through the magnificent grounds and gardens as well as taking in the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre where the historic 1690 battle is brought to life.

Based on the grounds of the Oldbridge estate, Boyne Boats operate historic tours of the Boyne Canal and the River Boyne. Take in the views from your handmade Kerry Naomhóg currach as you paddle along while your guide explains the history of the area and adds a bit of magic with the myths and legends of the ancient Boyne Valley.

Did you know? Boyne Boats’ currachs have been featured in Game of Thrones television show and other movie and TV productions.

Following this why not look up some of the Slane members of the Boyne Valley Garden Trail. College Hill House (open by appointment), Boyne Garden CentreTankardstown House (gardens open by appointment) and the Francis Ledwidge Museum are all well worth a visit. If you wish to indulge in some afternoon tea, take a drive to Sage and Stone in nearby Duleek.

Did you know? The poet, Francis Ledwidge is sometimes referred to as “the Poet of the Blackbirds”. He was inspired by the flora and fauna of the Boyne Valley before he was killed in action during the First World War in 1917.

This will take you back to towards Slane village where you should stop a while to visit the Slane “Arty Quarter” to pick up some souvenirs. The Slane Craft Collective have a fabulous shop stocking lots of locally made items including pottery by ceramics artist Lucy O’Gorman.

If you have time why not walk the Slane Historic Trail as you finish your visit. This self-guided 2.2km route is brought to life through a series of plaques and panels placed at points of interest along the way.

One of the highlights of your walk is the historic Hill of Slane. A well-preserved tower is to be found among the ruins of a Franciscan Monastery, dating from 1512, itself built on site of a monastery founded by St. Erc, a follower of St. Patrick who has a strong association with the area. Enjoy the spectacular views from this vantage point and savour the landscape of this special place. You will be sad to leave and no doubt will be planning a return visit to the Boyne Valley in the near future. 

Did you know? According to legend St Patrick chose the Hill of Slane to announce his arrival in the Boyne Valley and Ireland. As the King of Tara prepared to celebrate the Feast of Tara, Patrick lit the Easter Fire on the Hill of Slane, in direct defiance of the pagan ritual.