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February 7, 2012

Number 2 – A Romantic Break in Co. Meath

by Julianne Mooney


Once home to the High Kings of Ireland, Meath is a land of green pastures, crumbling castles, ancient burial sites and mythical tales. A mere 40-minutes drive from Dublin, it’s an ideal spot for a one-night romantic escape to the countryside.

If ancient burial sites are your thing, you’ll be spoilt for choice, as Meath has some of the best preserved sites in the country. Older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids (well, some of them), the passage tombs in Newgrange are well worth a visit. Perhaps a little touristy, what with a grand visitor centre and buses to shuttle you up and down to the site, but it’s been done well and if you get it at a quiet time, it’s magical.

Alternatively, visit The Hill of Tara, once seat to some of Ireland’s High Kings. Dotted with ancient monuments and blessed with some of the best views across the county, be sure to bring a blanket and flask of hot tea to sip on at the top.

On your way north, pop into the impressive Trim Castle, famed for being the filming location of scenes from Braveheart and then take the riverside path down a mile or two to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Your final destination should be Tankardstown House, a fabulous Georgian mansion with the feel of a rather grand home, away from home. Friendly staff, an honesty bar, open fires and graceful drawing rooms will mean you never want to leave. Dinner is served in the beautifully refurbished cowshed, Brabazon Restaurant, where they serve scrumptious food.

Your final day should be spent in search of Loughcrew Cairns. Hidden away on the top of a small hill west of Navan, the cairns are isolated and untouched, making it feel like you’ve stumbled upon a well-kept secret. It’s worth the short trek up the hill and you may be lucky enough to meet someone who had the wherewithal to fetch the keys  that are guarded in Loughcrew Gardens. Return said keys, walk about the gardens and have tea and cake in the cafe.

Then it’s jump a hop, skip and a jump back to Dublin.

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