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The Boyne Valley: Visit Historical Part of Ireland
Ireland is a very beautiful and unique country, filled with magnificent castles and churches. There is at least a small church in every bigger village in Ireland and most of the towns and cities also have bigger or smaller castle. Ireland is a very religious country - about 80% of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholic, so it makes sense having the church in every village. Other important denomination in Ireland is the Church of Ireland, which is Anglican church.
Ireland's nature is wild and at the same time fascinating and marvelous. You can find large plains in Ireland (grass plains: grass is a plant number one grown in Ireland, for it is needed for cows and sheep), small mountains (especially near the coasts), forests or rocky landscapes. It's very various.
The Boyne Valley
The Boyne Valley lies in the eastern part of Ireland, a few miles to the north away from Dublin (the capitol of Ireland). It's not as famous as other places in Ireland (for example: Cliffs of Moher, Kyllemore Abbey, etc.), but you can find there a lot of historical monuments, passage tombs, medieval castles, old monasteries and cemeteries.
If you are interested in historical movies and you've heard or you've seen the movie Braveheart (with Mel Gibson starring in it), you should know, that in the Boyne Valley you can find a lot of places where this movie was filmed.
If you're wondering that you could visit the Boyne Valley, you have a few options. If you have no car, you can rent one and it will be easy for you to move around or you can take local buses. It may be a little bit troublesome, though, because travelling with local buses will take a lot of time and you may not be able to see all the places you want to see in one day.
Another option is to take one day tour from Dublin. You will see a lot of places, you will receive a lot of information from a guide and you won't have to worry about anything. I took a few one day tours in Ireland, and I was always satisfied with them, so I can recommend it to you. I also took one day tour from Dublin to the Boyne Valley and it was worth it. I'm going to present you a few places you can see if you want to visit the Boyne Valley.
Travelling through the Boyne Valley
I travelled to the Boyne Valley with one day tour from Dublin, so I can describe the places we visited. I mean, there's more of them, but the ones we visited are probably the most famous anyway.
Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara is an archeological complex and it was the seat of the High King of Ireland. You can find there two linked enclosure (Cormarc's House and Royal Seat) and remains of a few forts. In one of them, there is a small Neolithic passage tomb, which is supposed to be constructed around 3 400 BC.
You may think that there's nothing interesting there, since all you can see are grassy hills, but the Hill of Tara used to be a significant place for Ireland. Atop the Hill of Tara you can find so-called Stone of Destiny.It is said, that if you put your feet on top of the Stone and the Stone will scream, it means that you are the king/ the queen of Ireland. This is the way the high kings were chosen in the past.
When I went on that one day tour, the guide stopped at a small ruined abbey. The abbey wasn't the official part of the tour, but the guide told us, that he always stops there, because the abbey is really lovely and kind of famous.
The abbey is called Bective Abbey and it was founded in the twelfth century. Now, there are only ruins left from the Abbey, but it wasn't destroyed by force - it was simply abandoned. Bective Abbey is known for the shooting of the movie Braveheart.
Trim Castle is the largest Norman castle in Ireland. The Castle is surrounded by the walls. You can also find there a small underground room with a view on the River Boyne. There are also two towers and a small building which is being used as an information centre. The main building in the middle of the walls is accessible only with a guide (and the tour takes about forty five minutes).
You can also take a small walk around the walls and take a look at the Yellow Steeple (it's a high wall which is easily visible from a longer distance; it's called the Yellow Steeple, because it is said that it turns yellow at the sunset). The Yellow Steeple is the part of old city walls. Trim Castle was also used for the shooting of the movie Braveheart.
Loughrew is a hill with megalithic burial grounds dating approximately to 3500 BC. Atop the hill there's artificially created stone hill with passage tombs. In those tombs, there are megalithic petroglyphs which are supposed to be the oldest in Ireland. But if you want to get inside the tombs and take a look at petroglyphs, you have to borrow a key in an informational centre at the foot of the hill. Also you will need a torch or any kind of light, for it is completely dark inside.
Another interesting thing atop the hill is so-called Witch Chair. It's a flat stone on the one side of the artificial hill. The legend says, that whoever will sit on the Chair longer than ten seconds, will be cursed. So, if you want to take a selfie there, be careful.
Monasterboice used to be a Christian settlement, but nowadays, there are only ruins left. You can find there ruins of two churches and a round tower. Round towers are very specific for Ireland and you can find them only in Ireland and Scotland (those ones in Scotland were built by Irish priests, though). There is about 80 round towers in Ireland and their specific feature is a door, which was built about three meters above the level of the ground. The reason for building doors so high, is the stability, for round towers have only shallow foundations and they could collapse if the door was lower.
Except very beautiful round tower, you can find two High Crosses in Monasterboice, which are really old. On the crosses, there are pictures from the Old Testament of the Bible. One of those crosses is the finest one in Ireland.
The last stop on my tour was the town of Drogheda, which was really beautiful. We only have one hour to explore the town, though, and it wasn't enough, but I saw a really beautiful St. Peter's Church, where you can find the head of St. Oliver Plunkett. You can also take a walk to St. Laurence's Gate which is not that far away, or take a walk along the River Boyne. I believe, that if I had more time there, I would find more interesting places, but those ones are really worth seeing.
I really enjoyed the tour through the Boyne Valley, its historical monuments and unforgettable places. So, if you want to see places which are significant for Ireland's history, go for the Boyne Valley. Whether you will take a one day tour from Dublin, or whether you'll go by car, you will definitely enjoy it. Especially, if you are a fan of Mel Gibson and the movie Braveheart.