Meath is located on the Irish sea coast and it consists mostly of a limestone plain, with rich soil that has sustained hunters and farmers from ancient times up to the present day. It used to be, for centuries, a separate province ("Royal Meath") that included the area of county Westmeath.
The visitor will be interested in the natural beauty of the county and in the world-famous historic sites located here, in the Boyne Valley and on Tara Hill. The two main rivers are the Blackwater and the Boyne and the quiet countryside will surely attract the hiker and the cyclist. The county also has some seaside resorts along the coastline.
Meath was called "The Royal County" because it contained the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, located on Tara Hill. The oldest proof of human habitation found here dates back 9,000 years ago and it was here that artisans and craftsmen created the High Crosses of Kells and Castlekiernan, as well the Book of Kells. These are just a few of the things that make Meath so special.
Perhaps the most important of these things is, however, the Brú na Bóinne complex of prehistoric tombs - Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth and another forty associated smaller graves that is older than the Pyramids, Stonehenge or the Parthenon. The most famous of the passage tombs is Newgrange, over 300 feet wide and more than 30 feet high. A single passage leads to a cruciform chamber, with a characteristic roof and ornamental stone basins. Newgrange has a uniquely distinctive feature, that can be noticed only in December 21st, the winter solstice, at sunrise. Only at this time every year, the sun shines through a lintel box above the door, illuminating the massive cross-shaped chamber. A demonstration is given on the official tour, that tries to recreate this miracle using electricity. The outer walls are decorated with shimmering quartzite and there's a huge circle of standing stones around the tomb. The famous kerbstone is among them, covered with carved decorations characteristic of megalithic art, that can be found on the slabs inside the tomb, too.
Tara (Teamhair na Rí - "Tara of the Kings") is perhaps not as visited, but just as important as Newgrange and containing elements that are equally impressive: the mound of the hostages - a tomb actually, the huge circular mound that marks the place of the former palace, and the double significance of the place - first as the point where all roads of the country converged, and secondly, in the Irish mythology, as the place where Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Fianna celebrated their victories in battles.
The county town is Navan, a historically important town with good accomodation facilities and nice pubs.
Slane is a pleasant village that is famous for the festivals held in the castle owned by Lord Henry Mountcharles, as well as for the Hill of Slane, where St. Patrick is said to have lit a huge bonfire to announce the arrival of Christianity to the natives.
Oldbridge is the place where William of Orange defeated the catholic James II, exiled king of England and the only hope for the Irish people at the time, in the Battle of the Boyne, that was to decide the fate of Ireland for the next three and a half centuries.
Apart from its history, the proximity of Meath to Dublin makes it an ideal place to stay on a touring holiday.