Meath and the Boyne Valley are home to the mother lode of megalithic tombs and prehistoric art in Western Europe. The Neolithic monuments at Newgrange predate the great pyramids of Egypt and continue to bewilder the hundreds of thousands of visitors they attract – especially at the equinoxes.
photo Rob Hurson
Much nearer to the house, Loughcrew Cairns are equally intriguing. Originally constructed some 400 years before Newgrange, they form largest complex of passage graves in Ireland. Sited on the highest points in the county, they can only be reached by foot.
Click here for more information on Ireland’s Ancient East
There is a Loughcrew Equinox Festival each March 19th to 21st and September 19th to 21st organised by Oldcastle Tourism Group.
A ruined church on the estate is dedicated to Saint Oliver Plunkett (canonised in 1975) who was born here in 1625, and lived in his family home for 22 years. Plunkett, a Jesuit educator, was hanged, drawn and quartered in London on 1 July 1681, "for promoting the Roman faith". Mass is celebrated in the church annually on that date.
One of the best ways to enjoy the landscape is on a bike, but this is fox hunting territory, so keep your head down.
Lough Lene 10 mins away is renowned for having gin clear waters, and is used by locals in the summer months for swimming, wind surfing and the like.