The Celtic Boyne Valley day tour does not depart until 8:00am which I was very grateful for! Our guide, Patrick, arrived to the old stone church on Suffolk Street at 8:00 and we all hurried on the bus to get out of the cold.
We drove through Phoenix Park and made our way to our first stop, the Hill of Tara. Patrick walked us around the site, describing the history and significance this land held. It is called the most sacred site in ancient Ireland because this is where the High Kings of Ireland ruled from. It was a crisp morning but the sun was shining down so our pictures turned out to be quite beautiful!
Our next stop was to Trim Castle which was my favorite part of the tour. We took a guided walking tour of the castle that is still standing after 800 years! Our guide told us about each part of the castle and how it was not able to be broken into for 400 years. He also told us how you did not want to be living in Trim back then because there were over 30 hangings a week. He described the armour and swords that were used – I can’t believe how heavy the armour was! I would be completely useless if I had to fight with that amount of weight on my body. Our coach key broke so we had about another hour in Trim than expected but it worked out very well. We went to the visitor center cafe where you can get a hot drink or a nice lunch. We also walked around the city of Trim for about thirty minutes.
We were on our way to Loughcrew which is home to one of the most prehistoric cemeteries in Ireland. It was a 15 minute walk up to get to the site of the passage tombs. The wind was very strong the higher we climbed! We were able to go inside one of the tombs but it was very small so I went in quickly and then raced back out. We got caught in some rain on our walk back down but thankfully, our bus heated up very quickly.
We took a quick stop at Slane Castle which hosts one of the biggest music concerts each year. Apparently, they do not love us on the grounds to take pictures so we just opened up the coach doors for about 30 seconds and snapped a few shots! Patrick told us that U2 recorded one of their albums in Slane Castle.
Because of our earlier delay, we weren’t able to see the “The Jumping Church” and headed right for Monasterboice. It was getting dark so it was a little eerie to visit the monastery and graveyard at night. Even in the dark, we could see huge high crosses on the site and the second tallest round tower in Ireland.
Our last stop was to the town of Drogheda. Our time was limited here but we had enough time to visit St. Peter Church and see the head of Oliver Plunkett. I remember reading about this on the itinerary and thinking it would be a model of his head, not his actual decapitated head! It was a very odd sight – still not sure how I feel about it. Interesting nonetheless!
Our ride back to Dublin was only 45 minutes and Patrick played us some Irish music along the route. The Celtic Boyne Valley tour is the perfect tour for anyone looking to learn more history about Ireland and wants to visit some of the less touristy spots in the country.
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