Escape to the Boyne Valley: Memorable Experiences in Kells

Published on: 23rd July 2020 @ 4:25 PM


The Boyne Valley, birthplace of Ireland’s Ancient East, is home to some of the most famous items of Irish heritage. This is certainly true of the town of Kells with its monastic sites and connections to the world-famous Book of Kells. For those of you that have not yet visited or even for those of you who may not yet have explored the fantastic monuments, walks and activities on your own doorstep, Kells is certainly well-worth a visit. Not only does Kells have a lots of history & trails to discover it also has a vibrant food scene with lots of places to dine in, food experiences that will allow you to immerse yourself in the food culture that is so prevalent accross the Boyne Valley & lots of foodie adventures to discover. 

 

This is a suggested itinerary for your visit to Kells which you can enjoy at your own pace

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. 

 Headfort Arms Hotel

This family run hotel always provides a warm welcome and is a great base to discover all that Kells has to offer. A four star hotel that is extremely comfortable and luxurious to stay in with several dining options and a spa. If you need help planning your adventures in the Boyne Valley the staff would be happy to help and the Kells Tourist Office is next door.

Teltown House

 Teltown Country House B&B is a 17th Century country house overlooking the River Blackwater. Teltown House is situated in the area of Teltown, which held the ancient Pre-olympic Tailteann Games and is just outside the town of Kells. 

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

A good way to begin your trip to Kells is to take a walking tour of the town. For a self-guided walk, a map of the Kells Historic Trail is available for download at discoverboynevalley.ie or you may prefer to take a guided walking tour of the town with one of the enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteer guides from Kells Walk-About Tours.

The starting point for both of these options is the Kells Tourism and Cultural hub, in the town’s old courthouse. The Boyne Valley Exhibition, supported by Meath County Council, provides the visitor with an exciting overview of Kells and the area using interactive touch screens and engaging videos. A facsimile copy of the Book of Kells, a replica of the Kells Crozier (the elaborately-decorated staff of office of a bishop or abbot), and the Kells town model are all on view. The Toradh 2 gallery is also housed in this building, showcasing talent from Meath County Council’s Toradh Arts Programme. 

 

Did you know? In 1653 The Book of Kells was sent to Dublin for safekeeping by Charles Lambert, governor of Kells. In 1661 it was donated to Trinity College by Henry Jones, Bishop of Meath.

 Outside the Courthouse is the famous Kells Market Cross, a fine example of medieval stone carving. Other highlights from this heritage town include, St Colmcille’s House, Parnell Garden, St Johns’ Cemetery and of course the Monastic Site at the centre of town.

If you feel like venturing a little further afield, a walk to the Spire of Lloyd is a nice option. This inland lighthouse is 30 metres high and stands in what is now known as the Peoples Park. The park is an access point for the 40-min “Ringfort and Blackwater River Looped Walk”.

Another popular expedition is the Tailteann (Teltown) Blackwater River Drive & Walk, which takes in the historic Donaghpatrick Church in Gibbstown. When you’re in the area why not stop into An Stór, Baile Ghib to sample some of their tasty baked goods. From Gibbstown, continue on to Teltown House where the walking element of your trip will begin. Be sure to visit the old graveyard where you will see prehistoric rock art, as well as some early Christian ruins. This route takes you along the banks of the River Blackwater to  Martry Mill which is one of the few, fully functional watermills left in the country. The mill has a picturesque setting on the banks of the River Blackwater. Martry Mill both opens for tours and sells it stoneground wholemeal flour in shops around Meath. Tours are available by appointment where you will get the chance to see genuine wholemeal flour being stoneground the way the Tallon family has been doing so since 19th Century. Between the sound of the waterwheel, the smell of the freshly ground flour & the atmosphere of the building you can’t help but be sucked into this unique experience

At this stage some lunch will most definitely be required so return to Kells for a bite to eat at Café Therese in the Headfort Arms Hotel.

For some further exploration try a visit to Girley Bog Eco Walk. This looped walkway is located just off the N52, heading towards Mullingar and is signposted from Kells. Walking boots are recommended and it is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with nature and to appreciate this raised bog, an area of considerable conservation significance and a rare habitat in the E.U.

When you’re in this area, it is also worth checking out what’s going on at Causey Farm. This working family farm offers fantastic interactive experiences for groups and has a calendar of seasonal events, such as summer camps, Easter, Halloween and Christmas experiences.

This summer they launched a brand new family friendly and socially distanced experience- An Ice-Cream Adventure! The perfect safe activity with lots of fun activities to enjoy as you walk around Causey Farm and meet all their cute animals, finishing of course with lots of delicious ice-cream! BOOK HERE 

If some retail therapy is called the for, The Courtyard, just a short distance for Kells, is a fantastic opportunity to pick up some beautiful pieces of furniture, homeware, giftware, jewellery and craft items.

Return to Kells after your busy day to enjoy the heartfelt hospitality of the ‘Vanilla Pod’ restaurant in the Headfort Arms Hotel and make sure to try their 30 Mile Menu which makes the most of all the fabulous local produce in the area or you try The Bective Restaurant, which specialises in Irish beef and fish and sources 90% of its menu from the Boyne Valley. 

Day 2

 On checking out of your accommodation, set a course for Oldcastle to explore the unique landscape at Loughcrew Cairns. Located 3km to the east of the town, the Cairns also known as the ‘Hill of the Witch’, are a group of Neolithic passage tombs dating to 3000 BC. Guided tours are available during the summer season but even without a guide, this unique landscape is well worth a visit to enjoy some hill walking and savour the unspoiled beauty of the area.

Did you know? The Loughcrew complex is a megalithic cemetery containing around 30 passage tombs. It is one of the most important prehistoric cemeteries in Ireland.

 For a unique guided experience, stop into Loughcrew Megalithic Centre to visit Maggie Heaney’s cottage, now a heritage museum of life in old Ireland. After your taste of the past, enjoy some tea and home-made scones in the centre’s cafe. Guided archaeology and mythology tours of the Loughcrew Cairns are available.

  From here, a five-minute drive will take you to the beautiful Loughcrew Estate and Gardens. For those with small children, there is an enchanting fairy trail, set against the magical backdrop of this wonderful estate.

Did you know? Loughcrew Estate was also home to St Oliver Plunkett for the first 22 years of his life. On the grounds, the sacred walls of St Oliver Plunkett’s church still stand.

Some of the historic features on the estate include an old corn mill, the foundations of a longhouse and evidence of a motte and bailey castle. Visit the Limetree Coffee Shop on the estate for lunch. From here a short trip will take you to Mullaghmeen Forest. This 1,000-acre forest is free to visit, spanning the border with Co Westmeath, and offers 14 miles of roadway for walkers to enjoy. After stretching your legs, why not visit Oldcastle House Hotel for some dinner and a drink,  or maybe check in for another night of hospitality in the Boyne Valley.

 If you are visiting on a Saturday make sure to visit Sheridan’s Cheesemongers Saturday Market in their Meath Shop which is only a few minutes from Kells and enjoy some cheese and relax with a coffee. Following this you could visit Killua Castle for a walk around the stunning parklands and keep an eye out for their deer herd.

 While you are in this part of the Boyne Valley make sure to watch out for the following local produce-

 A Bit on the Side

These delicious multi award winning gourmet jellies are perfect with cheese and crackers. 

 The Farmer’s Daughter

The Farmer's Daughter produces a range of gluten free, no additives or preservatives, 100% traceable grass fed Irish beef products. Following in the footsteps of 5 generations of farmers and butchers her recipes are homemade with 100% natural ingredients for you and your family to feel good about. Currently available in the frozen aisle of most supermarkets.

Killua Castle Venison

A range of venison products from parkland breed and reared deer.

Hogan’s Farms

“The Fresh Turkey Specialists” brother’s Fintan and Paul Hogan are 2nd generation turkey farmers based in Kells, Co. Meath Hogan’s Farm have been rearing turkeys for over 50 years. Using their extensive knowledge, the brothers have developed their expertise into rearing their own specialist turkey breed – the Charlesfort Turkey.

Kerrigan’s Mushrooms

Nestled just outside the historical town of Kells, Co. Meath, Kerrigan’s Farm was established in 1981 as growers of quality mushrooms and still remains a family run farm to this day. They grow and pack all of our own mushrooms and our dedicated, passionate team work towards exceptional quality standards in order to deliver best in class products.

Maperath Farm

A small farm just outside Kells, Co.Meath, committed to full free range happy animals, locally sourced natural feeds & complimentary relishes. Maperath Farm represents a model of sustainable farming on a small scale, producing premium Certified Free Range birds for the Festive season. 

Martry Mill

Martry Mill is one of the few, fully functional watermills left in the country. The mill has a picturesque setting on the banks of the River Blackwater. Martry Mill both opens for tours and sells it stoneground wholemeal flour in shops around Meath.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read our itinerary, we hope you got some inspiration and ideas for your visit to the Boyne Valley and we look forward to welcoming you here soon! 

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