New Grange 3,000BC

Boyne Valley and Trim Castle Private Tour from Dublin

Leave the hustle and bustle of Dublin city behind for a day and visit the UNESCO world heritage sites of the Boyne Valley home to Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth and Loughcrew Neolithic tombs.

Newgrange was built around 5,200 years ago making it older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids. You can explore the passage and chamber at Newgrange, which is aligned to the rising sun on the mornings around Winter solstice, and illuminates the inner most chamber revealing ancient artwork. It is believed that it took decades to construct by generations of Neolithic people and was used as a burial chamber and for ritual and community gatherings.

Walk around the one acre site containing the tomb of 12m (40 feet) in height and 85m (278 feet) in diameter. It is surrounded by a henge or ring of massive stones and the roof of the structure is still intact and waterproof 5,000 years after construction. In total this monument or tomb contains more than 250,000 tonnes of stone and earth, making it the largest of all the Bru na Boinne sites. Knowth and Dowth passage tombs complete the Bru na Boinne UNESCO heritage site and the passage and chamber at Dowth align to the setting sun around Winter solstice.

After lunch in Slane, continue further into the Boyne valley to the Hill of Tara, the seat of Celtic Kings of Ireland including Brian Boru. The Tara brooch, available to view at the National Museum, is associated with this site.

Travel further inland along the Boyne river route to Trim Castle, the largest Norman castle in Ireland, immortalised by its use in the movie ‘Braveheart’. The castle is partially restored to its former glory and you can explore the inside taking you up the spiral staircases to the dining halls and sleeping chambers of the De Lacy stronghold. It was constructed over a period of 30 years in 1172, by Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath. The site was chosen because of its commanding position at a fording point on the river Boyne.

Finish up the day with afternoon tea in the luxury Dunboyne Castle on route back to Dublin. This is a suggested Boyne valley tour itinerary with an approximate 8 hour duration. However, it’s your private tour and you are free to customise it in any way you choose. Other major sites of interest in the immediate area are the Monastic settlement of Kells, long associated with the book of Kells held at Trinity College Dublin, and Loughcrew Cairns on the Loughcrew Estate, a lesser known but equally impressive collection of Neolithic monuments known as Cairns. Loughcrew house also has an excellent café and dining area. Meath is an excellent county to visit on a day trip from Dublin because of its wealth of world class sites in close proximity. Your guide will give you further information on the sites and help you to devise the itinerary that most interests your group.