A Personal Selection
A (Lower) BOYNE VALLEY Tour
NEWGRANGE is the first stop because it gets so full after mid-morning: Tourist Overload like the queues for the Acropolis of Athens, the Sistine Chapel in Rome or the Louvre Museum in Paris... a 5,000 year old megalithic monument, along with its sisters Dowth and Knowth, plus an excellent interpretative centre in an arcadian location; then on to OLDBRIDGE, marking the pivotal Battle of the Boyne in 1690 when the English King James II was defeated by the Dutch King, William of Orange... followed by DROGHEDA, the "Star Of The East" with diverse attractions from the architectural (ST. LAWRENCE'S GATE) to the unusual (ST. OLIVER PLUNKETT'S HEAD); then on to the SEASIDE at MORNINGTON on the southern bank of the Boyne Estuary; alternatively, along the northern bank, you can make for BEAULIEU HOUSE & GARDEN, before cutting back inland to MONASTERBOICE HIGH CROSSES and ROUND TOWER, wonderful structures and the finest carvings dating from the 9th Century A.D.; then a short drive on to Ireland's first Cistercian Abbey, the 12th Century MELLIFONT ('Fountain of Honey'); next suggested stop is the HILL OF SLANE with its monastic ruins and great views, where St Patrick reputedly lit the Paschal Fire on Easter morning 433 A.D. to challenge the pagan High King of Ireland on his HILL OF TARA that you see on the skyline; after that, perhaps, SLANE CASTLE, before returning to Stable Cottage. A round trip of about 80 kms., but an extremely full day!.
Some Delights in DUBLIN's Fair City
Stable Cottage is 30 km. from the delights of Dublin.
If you are a fan of the painter FRANCIS BACON, the writer JAMES JOYCE, the designer EILEEN GRAY, the architect JAMES GANDON, or the collector CHESTER BEATTY, then Dublin is a MUST FOR YOU! Not forgetting PHOENIX PARK, arguably the world's finest city green space, and the GUINNESS BREWERY, a good place from where to start sampling some pubs while going in search of the modern sculptural icons that adorn Dublin streetscapes, such as THE STILETTO IN THE GHETTO, THE TART WITH THE CART, THE FLOOZIE IN THE JACUZZI, THE ACE WITH THE BASS, THE HAGS WITH THE BAGS and THE PRICK WITH THE STICK .
LOCAL (AND NOT-SO-LOCAL) WALKS
BALRATH WOOD (also known as KNOCKCOMRA Wood) is 3 minutes by car and 2 kms. away on an adjacent hill on the south side of the River Nanny. A 55-acre wood that is managed by the Balrath Woods Preservation Group, this is a 30 minutes walk from Stable Cottage and is signposted. There are attractive and undemanding level walks through the wood that was mostly replanted with coniferous trees by Coillte after the oaks were felled in the early 1960s. There is a good deal of nature signage throughout the wood, an outdoor classroom or two, and also a number of playground structures scattered throughout the Wood as well as seating in strategic spots.
THE RAMPARTS WALK: This follows the old Drogheda to Navan Canal Towpath and the 8 km. stretch from Navan to Stackallen Bridge is level and easy. The Canal runs parallel with the River Boyne and there are a number of beautiful stretches and historic places. Navan was primarily a Georgian agricultural and grain milling town where fortunes were made during the period from the Seven Years War (1756) to the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1815). Some fine stone hump-backed bridges (over mill races and the like) mark the beginning of the Walk. Further along, the Walk passes Ardmulchan and the ruins of Dunmoe Castle to Stackallen with its fine bridge and derelict mill-house.
THE SEASIDE: from the mouth of the River Nanny at Laytown, up the sandy strand of Bettystown to Mornington and the Boyne Estuary: some 20 kms. away, the drive is along the Nanny River Valley.
THE COOLEY PENINSULA is 60 square miles of hiking paradise, south of Carlingford Lough “where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea” and north of the great curve of Dundalk Bay. The M1 Motorway means that it is only 40 minutes (and less than 60 km. away) by car from Stable Cottage.