The 21st of December is a very special date in Ireland. The shortest day of the year, Winter Solstice was an important event in ancient times for communities as it was a symbol of rebirth and return of the light after the long, dark winter nights.
You may associate the Winter Solstice with the Stonehenge in the UK, but in fact Ireland has its own Neolithic monument, Newgrange. Located in County Meath
, the ‘Royal County’ of Ireland, Newgrange is older than the Stonehenge by at least 500 years! Newgrange
is a fantastic place to witness the Winter Solstice as the sunbeams align perfectly with the passages and lights up the inner chamber beautifully so you can see the intricate stonework that survives to this day. This wonderful phenomenon is extremely popular so the lucky few to experience it can do so via a lottery system - put your name down for the chance to see this once in a lifetime sight!
Once the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, County Meath has seen a lot of history, so it’s the jewel in Ireland's Ancient East
! Steeped in legends and mystery, the Hill of Tara
is a must see on your visit to County Meath. It was a ceremonial location for the High Kings of Ireland, where legend has it that the standing stone there would scream when the rightful king of Ireland touched it!
Another historic location is Trim Castle
. Built in the 12th century and impressively still standing today, it was used as a filming location in Mel Gibson’s epic Braveheart! For the music lovers, head to Slane Castle
. Host to rock royalty U2, REM and Queen over the years, you’re welcome to rock out to Metallica in 2019, or tour the grounds and hear the history of this grand castle at your own pace.
If you want to take the more scenic route, Meath has plenty to offer. The golf course situated in the stunning grounds of Killeen Castle
is a must. This golf course is known for hosting the Irish Ladies Open as well as the prestigious Solheim Cup in 2011.
Do our community members have any alternative suggestions for what to do in County Meath?