Whether you have one day or a week to spend in the Boyne Valley, we have some fantastic Itineraries, including the historical town of Kells & surrounding areas below, to help you get the most from your visit.
The Boyne Valley was proud to be named as one of the ‘World’s Best Food Destinations’ in 2019 by the National Geographic Traveller, alongside the cities of Bologna in Italy and Cusco in Peru.
As the heartland of Ireland’s Ancient East and the seat of the ancient High Kings of Ireland, the Boyne Valley continues a proud heritage of producing food and drink experiences fit for a king or queen! The historic Boyne Valley is home to a bountiful supply of passionate farmers, skilled food and drinks producers, along with world-class chefs and eateries who are devoted to bringing the rich flavours of the landscape to your table.
Getting to the Boyne Valley is very direct – the M1 from the Dublin Airport will take you to the heart of it in 30 minutes and from Belfast City in just over one hour – once you arrive you can take things at your own pace, by exploring the back roads of this historic valley – discover for yourself its quaint villages and cosy pubs and mingle with the locals who are only too willing to share their stories. The Boyne Valley encompasses so much from scenic coastlines to ancient monuments and a thriving food & drink scene full of passionate producers who use the fertile lands surrounding the river Boyne to grow,rear, produce & make their produce just as their ancestors did over the last 5000 years.
The following itinerary is a suggestion of what you can taste and experience throughout the Kells area of the Boyne Valley. It is important that you tailor your trip to best suit you, your family’s or group’s needs.
The Western area of the Boyne Valley takes in the heritage town of Kells and its surrounding townlands. A town that like all of the Boyne Valley comes with a long history and many points of historic & cultural interest- where the famous Book of Kells was completed and protected in this “City of God” for over 800 years before being moved to Trinity College in the late 17th century.
Previous to that, Kells was central to the story of the pre-Olympic Games of Ireland – the Tailteann Games -in legend dated to 1897 B.C. – and possibly a contributor to the Ancient Olympic Games in Greece. Along with all this fascinating history you will also find a vibrant food scene in Kells with lots to experience and discover.
Kells makes an ideal destination for a weekend getaway as each Saturday Sheridan’s Cheesemongers host a Farmer’s Market in their Headquarters down the road from Kells. A lovely way to spend a Saturday morning- trying cheeses from around the country by shop manager Franck and his knowledgeable team. You can also sit back and enjoy a freshly brewed coffee and a slice of homemade cake.
After a visit to Sheridans you could head over to Killua Castle a historic castle in the most romantic demesne in Ireland, with links to Sir Walter Raleigh and Lawrence of Arabia. Walk the grounds which is home to the Killua Castle Venison and see the house which dates back to the mid-1780s. Guided tours also available.
Another unmissable food experience to visit in this area is the historic Martry Mill, just outside the town of Kells on the Navan side. Martry Mill is one of the few working watermills in Ireland with the earliest records dating back to 1641. Meet the maker James who will guide you through; the milling process to make their stoneground wholemeal flour, the mill buildings and its history.
If you are visiting close to Halloween make sure you plan a visit to Alright Pumpkin where you can pick your pumpkin directly from the pumpkin field. Navigate our corn maze, visit the animals,take a trailer ride and pick your perfect pumpkin from the very patch it grew in.
If you want to stretch your legs and work up an appetite for dinner head for the unique Girley Bog. Girley Bog Eco Walk is a 3.5 miles/ 5.6 km waymarked National Loop. It covers varying landscape of forest and bogland. The terrain is flat and uneven and walking boots are recommended. The first section of this looped walk takes you through a tranquil Coillte forest, where there is a coniferous forestry plantation located on high bog.
The Spirt of Lloyd is located just outside the town and is a must see while in the area. This inland lighthouse was designed by Henry Aaron Baker designer of the King’s Inn, Dublin for Thomas Taylour, First Earl of Bective, in memory of his father (also Sir Thomas Taylor) in 1791 and provided work during the time of a local famine. As a large monument visible from miles around, it was also a symbol of Lord Headfort’s wealth and power.
From the hill one can see magnificent views of the surrounding countryside as far as the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland on a clear day.
Where to Stay & Dine-
Headfort Arms Hotels
Operating as a hotel for almost two centuries, the Headfort has been operating in the hands of the Duff Family for almost 50 years and makes a great base from which to explore the Boyne Valley.
The hotel offers a great array of Headfort Golfing, Activity & Spa packages as well as 45 four-star standard Bedrooms and of course several fantastic dining options.
The Vanilla Pod Restaurant offers Award-Winning Dining Experiences and Cafe Therese, Headfort Lounge and traditional Kelltic Bar, the Courtyard presents more casual but not fewer quality options, all using locally sourced produce from the impressive display of Boyne Valley Producers, beautifully showcased in seasonal and fresh menus. Make sure to try out the 30 Mile Radius menu from the Vanilla Pod. Also check out the beautiful gardens where you can enjoy afternoon tea or a pizza fresh from the wood fire pizza oven in the garden.
The Bective Restaurant
The Bective is a relaxed, atmospheric restaurant in the heritage town of Kells. Open from Mondays to Saturdays from 5pm and from 3pm on Sundays, The Bective specialises in Irish beef and fish, with over 90% of food sourced within County Meath.
Teltown Country House B&B
Situated in the heart of Co. Meath, 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 approx. 25 minutes from all historical sites in the Ancient East Region.
While you are in this part of the Boyne Valley, make sure to keep an eye out for the following locally produced Food.
- Martry Mill Flour
- Maperath Farm Products
- Killua Castle Venison
- Oldcastle Honey
- Kerrigan’s Mushrooms
- A Bit on The Side Gourmet Jellies
- The Farmer’s Daughter Beef Burgers
We hope this itinerary has given you some ideas for your trip to the Kells area of the beautiful Boyne Valley. If you need more information, there is a Tourist Office in Kells, located right beside the Headfort Arms Hotel.