County Meath - Heritage/Historical

<< Meath Homepage

GoIreland.com - Irelands National Online Travel Service
Here's a selection of Meath Heritage/Historical.Click on the 'Go to ALL' link to get the full list.

1. Heritage Centres

Go to ALL Heritage Centres in Meath

Tara Old Royal Site

Co. Meath

Tara Hill was one of the most venerated spots in early Ireland. From the time of the legendary king Cormac Mac Airt in the 3rd century, it came into the historical limelight, but it probably had a religious significance long before that. The seat of priest-kings going back to a time long before Irish history began, it developed from being a religious-royal site of small local priest-kings to become the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. These kings were not a hereditary line of kings based in Tara, but were chosen to be High King or fought their way to the title, which became largely symbolic after the 7th century. The kings were thus not always resident at Tara, but spent a considerable part of their time in the areas from whence they came. When St. Patrick visited the site in an effort to convert the High King of his day, Laoire, the king-priests were at the height of their power, but with the advent of Christianity, Tara gradually lost its religious significance and became the nominal seat of the High King, until it was finally abandoned by Mael-Sheachlainn in 1022. A skirmish took place here in 1798, and in the last century O'Connell held a mammoth meeting on the Hill to reinforce his demand for the repeal of the Act of Union. The visitor to the Hill may be disappointed in what he sees; there are no signs of great regal places - nothing but simple earthworks remain. The buildings must have been made of wood or wattle and daub, and all have long since disappeared. Indeed the old literary sources suggest that many more buildings existed than there are earthworks on the hill. But the visitor must use his imagination, and create in his mind's eye a number of comparatively small buildings dotting the hill, and he must use his fantasy to see these buildings peopled by the King and his supporters busying themselves with 'old forgotten far-off things and battles long ago'. The most prominent monument on the hill is also the oldest. It is the Mound of the Hostages, which, on excavation, proved to be a small Passage-tomb (locked) having a narrow passage (with a decorated stone) leading to a small chamber. It dates to around 1800 B.C. but was also used in the ensuing centuries for secondary burials. The mound stands in the northern part of a large enclosure surrounded by a bank with a ditch outside it. This enclosure is a Hill Fort, a type of fortification typical of Iron Age, and therefore much later than the Mound of the Hostages. In the middle of this enclosure stand two linked ringforts known as the Royal Seat and Cormac's House respectively. Cormac's House has two banks and two ditches around it, the outer one making a bend on the north side to include an old burial mound. In the centre of it, beside the atrocious statue of St. Patrick, is the Lia Fail, Ireland's most obvious prehistoric phallic symbol, which originally stood near the Mound of the Hostages but which was re-erected here in honour of those who died in the skirmish in 1798. The Kings were crowned on the stone, and tradition says that it roared when the king was accepted. To the south of the royal enclosure are the remains of another circular earthwork known as the Fort of King Laoghaire. To the north of the Royal enclosure, on the other side of the fence, is the Rath of the Synods, a ringfort with three banks which was devastated in the early years of this century by British Israelites who dreamed that they would find the Ark of the Covenant in it. But while their dream did not come true, their dig found objects which, taken together with later excavated material, helped to show that houses which stood on the site were surrounded by palisades and were built in the first three centuries of our era. In the graveyard beside it there are two stones, one decorated with a small figure with crossed legs. To the north of the Rath of the Synods is a long hollow area surrounded by banks. This is allegedly the 'Banqueting Hall' where everyone sat, graded by his status, but it could just as easily have been the grand entrance road to the site, as all old Irish roads led to Tara. To the north-west of the Banqueting Hall there are other round earthworks, one called Grainne's fort after King Cormac's daughter who was the heroine of the tragic love tale of Diarmuid and Grainne, and the others known as the Sloping Trenches. About half a mile to the south of Tara Hill is another hill crowned with another Hill-fort called Rath Maeve. An area about 7520 feet in diameter is enclosed by a large bank and ditch which has partly disappeared, but a portion of it is well preserved near the road.

Show me all the details for Tara Old Royal Site

2. Heritage Centres

Go to ALL Tombs in Meath

Newgrange,Meath, Ireland

Newgrange

Co. Meath

Foremost among the passage-tombs of Europe, Newgrange has long evoked the wonder of archaeologists and laymen alike. The most penetrating excavation work undertaken at any prehistoric site in Ireland so far has revealed much about its construction and purpose; but other secrets, such as the cryptic symbolism of its beautifully decorated stones, remain inviolate. The magnificent entrance slab - 'one of the most famous stones in the entire repertory of megalithic art' - is especially satisfying, the confidently executed spiral and lozenge motifs still crisply defined after 5,000 years. The triple spiral, found only at Newgrange, occurs both on the entrance stone and inside the chamber. The passage is long, over 60 feet, and leads to a cruciform burial chamber with a corbelled roof which rises steeply upwards to a height of nearly 20 feet. A revetment of large horizontal stones surrounds the base of the mound and many of these are also decorated with geometric designs. Formerly the mound was encircled by an outer ring of immense standing stones of which twelve remain. At Newgrange Farm folklife heritage is being preserved. As part of a farm tour there is wide-ranging display of farm tools and implements which include spring wheels, scythes, ploughs, threshing machines, etc. Facilities include car and bus parking, toilets, indoor and outdoor picnic areas and coffee shop.

Show me all the details for Newgrange

3. Monuments

Go to ALL Monuments in Meath

Ashbourne - 1916 Easter Rebellion Monument

Co. Meath

Ashborne is a thriving village. On the northern outskirts of the village is a monument to the only major incident of the 1916 Easter Rebellion to take place outside Dublin. This monument carries a plaque inscribed with a line from a poem by Thomas Ashe, the local schoolmaster at that time: 'Let me carry your cross for Ireland, Lord'. The monument has a dual image - on one side the figure is in the form of Christ on the other insurgent.

Show me all the details for Ashbourne - 1916 Easter Rebellion Monument

4. Local Tours

Go to ALL Local Tours in Meath

Navan Travel Ltd

The Manager , 1 Bridge Street, Co. Meath

Show me all the details for Navan Travel Ltd

5. Cathedrals (Historical)

Go to ALL Cathedrals (Historical) in Meath

St Patrick's Cathedral

Deanery, St. Loman's Street, Co. Meath

The fine stone tower is a remnant of the medieval Parish Church of Trim. Commemorating Dean Butleer, the historian of Trim, is a clock in the tower. In the porch there are some fine examples of ancient tombstones found by Dean Butler around Trim. The present church is 87 feet in length; remains of the original chancel may be seen behind the East gable. Access is by appointment only.

Show me all the details for St Patrick's Cathedral

6. Archaeological

Go to ALL Archaeological in Meath

Hill of Tara, Meath, Ireland

Hill of Tara

Co. Meath

Famous as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the Hill of Tara has been an important site since the Stone Age, when a passage tomb was constructed. Tara was a political and religious centre in early Christian times and though it declined in importance as Christianity spread in Ireland, the site still retains its air of mysticism. Today the ruins are sadly deserted, poignant reminders of what once was, but from atop the hill the visitor can still experience some of the magic which first drew kings to Tara. A magnificent panorama unfolds before the eye, though the concept of an all-powerful High-King of Ireland is largely mythical, there can be little doubting the importance of one who controlled such a strategic location as Tara. Primarily an Iron-Age fortress (circa 500 B.C.) remains of an older neolithic passage-grave (c.1800 B.C.) have also been unearthed. However, it was not until the reign of the legendary Cormac MacAirt in the 3rd century A.D. that Tara reached the pinnacle of its splendour. It was he whom the Fianna served and magnificent feasts were celebrated in the 250 metres long Banqueting Hall which he caused to be built. His palace, along with Rath Riogh (palace of Kings), is part of the Royal Enclosure, the largest site on the hill-top. In the centre of these remains stands the Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny, and ancient fertility symbol which is reported to have screamed its approval on the inauguration of a worthy High-King. Nearby is the mound of the hostages, a passage-grave dating to 1800 B.C.

Show me all the details for Hill of Tara

7. Towers (Historical)

Go to ALL Towers (Historical) in Meath

The Yellow Steeple

Co. Meath

One of the major landmarks in Trim, this is 14th century tower which was part of the Augustinian Abbey of St Mary. It was also used as a bell tower and a place of refuge.

Show me all the details for The Yellow Steeple

8. Castles (Historical)

Go to ALL Castles (Historical) in Meath

Slane castle, Meath, Ireland

Slane castle

Co. Meath

George IV's writing desk is here in the home of his mistress, Lady Conyngham. Beautifully located on the banks of the Boyne, the castle boasts a gothic revival ballroom, one of the finest in Europe.

Show me all the details for Slane castle

9. Forts (Historical)

Go to ALL Forts (Historical) in Meath

Danestown Ringfort

Co. Meath

A ringfort about 150 feet in diameter and consisting of a central round raised platform surrounded by a concentric ditch and bank.

Show me all the details for Danestown Ringfort

10. Towers (Round)

Go to ALL Towers (Round) in Meath

Kells High Crosses

Co. Meath

The monastery at Kells would appear to have been first founded in 804 by monks from St. Colmcille's foundation at Iona who were fleeing from the Viking invasions and seeking a safer place for their treasures. In 877 reliquaries of the saint were transferred to Kells. The monastery was raided by the Vikings in 919, 950 and 969. The greatest treasure of the monastery - the Book of Kells, now in Trinity College, Dublin - which had possibly been written here in the early 9th century, was stolen in 1007 from the western sacristy of the church but was found two and a half months later without its gold shrine and covered by a sod. The monastery was raided many times in the course of the 11th century - this time by the Irish. It was burned in 1111 and again in 1156. A famous Synod met here in 1152 to finalise the arrangement of dioceses in the country. This Synod raised Kells to a Diocese, but it was later reduced to parochial status. After this Kells became prominent as a Norman fortification, but while the Norman remains have vanished, there are many remnants of the old monastery. Round Tower and High Crosses: In the churchyard on the top of the hill are found the Round Tower and a number of High Crosses. The round Tower is about 100 feet high, and has five windows at the top, though the original conical cap is missing. The doorway had heads carved on it, but these have almost entirely weathered away. The tower must date from before 1076, for in that year Murchadh Mac Flainn, who was claiming the High Kingship of Ireland, was murdered in the tower. Near the round Tower is the South Cross dedicated to Saints Patrick and Columba, which was possibly erected in the 9th century. On the base are interlacings, animals including a deer, and a chariot procession. On the east face are Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, then the Three Children in the Firey Furnace, and above that Daniel in the Lion's Den; on the left arm is the sacrifice of Isaac, on the right SS Paul and Anthony in the desert, while on top is David with his harp, and the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. on the west side is the Crucifixion, and above that Christ in Judgement. On the end of the arm on the end of the arm on the south side David can be seen killing the lion, while on the end of the north arm he kills the bear(?). The cross is also decorated with a number of ornamental panels, particularly interlacing, and a vine scroll in which animals and birds prance about. About 20 yards to the north-west is the sturdy stump of what must have been a very fine and tall cross. Macalister claimed that he saw on the base an inscription OROIT DO ARTGAL - A prayer for Artgal. Scenes identifiable on the east face include The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan (the flowing together of two rivers), The Marriage Feast at Cana, the Washing of the Christ child, the Three Wise Men before Herod and above, the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem. On the west face can be seen Adam and Eve, a representation of Noah's Ark and scenes representing and return of the Israelites to the promised land. Both the narrow sides have various geometrically decorated panels. Beside the modern church is an unfinished Cross with a Crucifixion on one face. It is interesting as it shows the various stages involved in the carving of these High Crosses. To the north of the modern church is the tower of a medieval church, into which various fragments and grave-slabs have been inserted. Beside the tower is the rounded base of another High Cross. In the organ-loft of the modern church is a display of photographs of items associated with the ancient monastery, such as enlargements of the Book of Kells etc. The Market Cross: This cross now stands at the crossing of two streets in the town, but it is not certain that this was its original position. The base shows horsemen, a battle scene and various animals. On the east face can be seen Christ in the Tomb guarded by soldiers, David(?), Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel; in the centre of the head is Daniel in the Lions' Den, while on the left arm is the Sacrifice of Isaac. On the west face is an inscription saying that Robert (Ba)lfe erected the cross in 1688; above it are panels illustrating the public life of Christ, including the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes; in the centre of the head is the Crucifixion. Few of the panels on the narrow sides can be identified satisfactorily. 'St Columb's House' This is an ancient oratory with steep stone roof. The present entrance is modern; the vaulted room it leads to was originally divided into two levels, the present ground floor acting as a basement, and the original church proper was entered by a door (now blocked up) in the west wall, and was about 6 or 7 feet above present floor level. Above the vault is a small chamber (reachable by a ladder) which also served the purpose of preventing the roof from collapsing. The oldest part of the building may have been constructed in the early 9th century, perhaps to house the relics of St. Colmcille, but the roof may have been built some centuries later.

Show me all the details for Kells High Crosses

11. Homes (Historical)

Go to ALL Homes (Historical) in Meath

Headfort Estate

Co. Meath

Hadfort demesne, once the seat of the Marquesses of Headfort, is located one mile south east of Kells. Today it is owned by a business consortium and largely occupied by a private prepartory boarding and day school. The mansion dates back to 1760. The estate also consists of arable land, woods and a section of the Rvier Blackwater - private property.

Show me all the details for Headfort Estate

12. Crosses (Historical)

Go to ALL Crosses (Historical) in Meath

Athcarne 'White Cross@

Co. Meath

A wayside corss of an unusual kind for which a date of c. 1675 has been suggested. On the east face is a Crucifixion, and on the west side an attractive Virgin and child, and the arms of the Bathe and the Dowall families. The corss may have been inserted into an earlier base, and the baroque cap may be later than the cross.

Show me all the details for Athcarne 'White Cross@

13. Museums

Go to ALL Museums in Meath

Francis Ledwidge cottage, Meath, Ireland

Francis Ledwidge cottage

The manager , Slan, Co. Meath

The former cottage of the Irish soldier poet, Francis Ledwidge is now a museum. It is located at Janeville, near Slane, a manorial village built where the N2 and N51 roads converge and meet. Facing each other on either side of the cross-roads are four splendid Georgian houses, the hub from which the village radiates outwards. An imposing view of slane castle can be seen from the bridge crossing the Boyne.

Show me all the details for Francis Ledwidge cottage

14. Monastic Sites

Go to ALL Monastic Sites in Meath

Dunshaughlin Lintel

Co. Meath

The insignificant remains of the aisle of a medieval church as well as a few 15th or 16th century architectural fragments. The main interest of the place is a slab mounted beside these remains with a representation of the Crucifixion on it. On Christ's right is a man holding a spear, and on his left a man offers him vinegar in a chalice on the end of a pole. It probably formed the lintel over the doorway of a church which has since disappeared. The lintel is probably 12th century in date.

Show me all the details for Dunshaughlin Lintel

15. Stones (Historical)

Go to ALL Stones (Historical) in Meath

Newgrange, Meath, Ireland

Newgrange

Co. Meath

Foremost among the passage-tombs of Europe, Newgrange has long evoked the wonder of archaeologists and laymen alike. The most penetrating excavation work undertaken at any prehistoric site in Ireland so far has revealed much about its construction and purpose; but other secrets, such as the cryptic symbolism of its beautifully decorated stones, remain inviolate. The magnificent entrance slab - 'one of the most famous stones in the entire repertory of megalithic art' - is especially satisfying, the confidently executed spiral and lozenge motifs still crisply defined after 5,000 years. The triple spiral, found only at Newgrange, occurs both on the entrance stone and inside the chamber. The passage is long, over 60 feet, and leads to a cruciform burial chamber with a corbelled roof which rises steeply upwards to a height of nearly 20 feet. A revetment of large horizontal stones surrounds the base of the mound and many of these are also decorated with geometric designs. Formerly the mound was encircled by an outer ring of immense standing stones of which twelve remain. At Newgrange Farm folklife heritage is being preserved. As part of a farm tour there is wide-ranging display of farm tools and implements which include spring wheels, scythes, ploughs, threshing machines, etc. Facilities include car and bus parking, toilets, indoor and outdoor picnic areas and coffee shop.

Show me all the details for Newgrange

16. Abbeys

Go to ALL Abbeys in Meath

Bective Abbey, Meath, Ireland

Bective Abbey

Co. Meath

Bective Abbey was founded in 1150 by Murchadh O' Melaghin, King of Meath, for the Cistercians, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. It was an abbey of some importance as the Abbot was a spiritual lord and sat in the Parliament of the Pale. Hugh De Lacy, was buried there in 1195, but was eventually moved to Dublin. The abbey was suppressed in 1536 and the lands were rented to Thomas Asgarde, and eventually bought by Andrew Wyse in 1552. It passed into the hands of the Dillons and then the Boltons, before fallling into ruin. The chief features of the ruins are the combination of both Church and Defence. The Cloister is the best preserved of the buildings and there is a pillar of a figure carrying a crozier. There are also some beautiful arches which are still intact.

Show me all the details for Bective Abbey

17. Friaries

Go to ALL Friaries in Meath

Slane Friary

Co. Meath

The site is intimately associated with the lighting of the first Paschal Fire in Ireland by St. Patrick in 433, thus symbolising the triumph of Christianity over paganism. St. Erc founded a monastery here in Early Christian times, and there was also a medieval abbey here, but little is known about the history of the place until it was rebuilt in its present form in 1512 when Sir Christopher Flemmyng founded a small Franciscan Third Order friary here. Both it and the College beside it were surrendered in 154, and in 1543 the lands were granted to Sir James Flemmyng. In 1631 the Capuchins were settled in the monastery, where they stayed until the advent of Cromwell. The church was finally abandoned as a place of worship in 1723. The church has a nave and chancel, and a short south aisle, as well as a tower at the western end. The window on the eastern face of the tower, just above the door, is earlier and is probably taken from an older church on the site. Nearby is the College which was founded by Sir Christopher Flemmyng for four priests, four lay-brothers and four choristers. It is built around an open quadrangle, with the priests' residence on the north side, and a tower on the south side. In the south wall there are some fine windows, forming part of what was probably a refectory or reading room. The use of the other rooms is not known, but most of them have fireplaces. Built into the west wall of the southern wing is the representation of a dragon. To the east of the college are the remains of a gateway, possibly built after the College went out of use at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1541.

Show me all the details for Slane Friary

18. Churches (Historical)

Go to ALL Churches (Historical) in Meath

Ardbraccan Church

Ardbraccan, Co. Meath

This was the medval seat of the Bishops of Meath where an 18th century mansion designed by James Wyatt was ercted by Churc of Ireland Bishop Arthur Price. It was the site of a famous eary christian Monastery linked with St. Ultan after whom the holy well on the grounds of the church is named.

Show me all the details for Ardbraccan Church

19. Monastery

Go to ALL Monastery in Meath

Hill of Skryne

Co. Meath

Skryne, called after the Shrine of St Colmcille's relics, was an early Christian Monastery. The 15th century holy well which is dedicated to St Colmcille. From the hills one can see the motte of De Phirpo, first baron of Skryne and the castle which replaced it.

Show me all the details for Hill of Skryne

20. Wells (Historical)

Go to ALL Wells (Historical) in Meath

Kieran's Well

Carnaross, Co. Meath

The patron day at this well near Carnaross, Kells, is held on the first Sunday of August. Legend is that the well was formed at St Kieran's command. Several pools there have supposed healing powers. It is likely that the well was a place of worship in pagan times.

Show me all the details for Kieran's Well

21. Hills (Historical)

Go to ALL Hills (Historical) in Meath

Hill of Tara, Meath, Ireland

Hill of Tara

Co. Meath

Famous as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the Hill of Tara has been an important site since the Stone Age, when a passage tomb was constructed. Tara was a political and religious centre in early Christian times and though it declined in importance as Christianity spread in Ireland, the site still retains its air of mysticism. Today the ruins are sadly deserted, poignant reminders of what once was, but from atop the hill the visitor can still experience some of the magic which first drew kings to Tara. A magnificent panorama unfolds before the eye, though the concept of an all-powerful High-King of Ireland is largely mythical, there can be little doubting the importance of one who controlled such a strategic location as Tara. Primarily an Iron-Age fortress (circa 500 B.C.) remains of an older neolithic passage-grave (c.1800 B.C.) have also been unearthed. However, it was not until the reign of the legendary Cormac MacAirt in the 3rd century A.D. that Tara reached the pinnacle of its splendour. It was he whom the Fianna served and magnificent feasts were celebrated in the 250 metres long Banqueting Hall which he caused to be built. His palace, along with Rath Riogh (palace of Kings), is part of the Royal Enclosure, the largest site on the hill-top. In the centre of these remains stands the Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny, and ancient fertility symbol which is reported to have screamed its approval on the inauguration of a worthy High-King. Nearby is the mound of the hostages, a passage-grave dating to 1800 B.C.

Show me all the details for Hill of Tara

<< Meath Homepage
--TOP--

Privacy policy / Disclaimer / Links / Contact us

Contact Reservations Toll-Free now at:
IRL - 00 800 369 87412
FR - 00 800 369 87412
DE - 00 800 369 87412
NL - 00 800 369 87412
UK - 0 800 783 8359
US - 1 888 827 3028
Canada - 1 866 433 9999
Rest of the World - International code followed by 066 9792093
Lines Open 9am to 8pm(Mon to Fri), 9am to 6pm(Sat) Irish times
Email:goireland@gulliver.ie.

GoIreland.com operated by Gulliver Ireland, FEXCO Center, Langford Street, Killorglin, Co.Kerry, Ireland