Visit the historic Boyne area
If you’re looking to go somewhere a little different over your mid-term break, you could do worse than visit the area around the Boyne.
The Boyne, you think… honey, battle of, and what else? The area around the Boyne – mainly Louth and Meath, is hugely historic, and well worth a visit, particularly en famille.
Drogheda, a mere 45 minutes from Dublin on a regular commuter route, is a pleasant town steeped in history. It’s also home to the luxury boutique d Hotel (sister hotel of Galway’s famous Philip Treacy-designed g Hotel).
The hotel is situated right in the centre of Drogheda, adjacent to a new shopping precinct, Scotch Hall, and minutes from the local Millmount Museum, which is situated in a Martello Tower offering beautiful views out over the town’s numerous churches and the beautiful Boyne.
The hotel has luxury rooms with exceedingly comfortable beds (we haven’t slept so well in ages!), and modern, no-expenses spared décor. It’s a pleasant hearken back to the Celtic Tiger, but rates won’t break the bank.
Another plus is the really excellent food. We were there for a banquet event and contrary to the normal mass catering style banquet fare, the sumptuous four course dinner was presented just as well as any restaurant meal. If you’re away on a romantic break, room service is the best-priced we’ve ever come across and is pretty good grub, too, while the breakfast buffet is varied and good quality.
The d Hotel has recently opened a new gastropub called Wm Cairnes, which offers fantastic food, a range of world beers and whiskies and an authentic charm, thanks to its ultra chic decor. The gastropub was once a thriving brewery and this theme has been carried throughout the interior.
The hotel has also recently launched a ‘50 Shades at the d’ package, which offers couples a fun and naughty retreat, with breakfast in bed, a platter of aphrodisiacs and a box of sensual surprises for the tongue in cheek price of €69 per adult sharing.
Kids stay and eat free at the d Hotel and packages can be booked to Funtasia, which houses Ireland’s biggest indoor water park, Tayto Park in Ashbourne and nearby family friendly An Grianán. With prices starting at just €64 per adult for an overnight stay with kids eating free, there is real value to be gained in this busy town. Family rooms will cater for two adults and two children or for larger families, interconnecting rooms are available.
If you have brought the family and want to do a little sight-seeing, Millmount museum is an excellent place to start. Local tour guides will bring you through the Neolithic history of nearby Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth – older than the pyramids and just as spectacular – as well as right through the ages. The history of Drogheda is fascinating, as it was one of Ireland’s best-built Norman towns which later was the site of a Cromwellian massacre. Some old walls as well as the imposing Laurence Gate are still standing, while a the wide range of Catholic and Protestant churches and other old buildings in the area make it rather special among Irish towns.
If you’re travelling by car, make sure to take a trip to neolithic Newgrange on your way home; most of us will take a five hour flight to see the pyramids but how many of us have seen our own famous older monument? You can also see the nearby Battle of the Boyne site (with interpretative centre), which changed the face of Europe forever in the 1600s.