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Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland


The surprising and beautiful east coast of Ireland is a region full of green hills, breathtaking landscapes, myths and legends and a wealth of historical treasures! Stories in this region are rich in history, legend and magic. The east coast is the region that lies roughly between Dublin and Belfast and should not be missed during your visit to Ireland!

My tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland!

The east coast of Ireland

This region in Ireland has an extensive history of more than 5,000 years. It gives you the chance to go off the beaten track in a lush and green landscape. On this east coast lies the capital Dublin and this is the largest city in Ireland. But it is definitely worth it to leave this city and immerse yourself in a mix of history, culture and natural beauty that this region has to offer. The east coast of Ireland offers you various possibilities to discover the many stages of the rich heritage of Ireland.

“In Ireland you experience it now, while you enjoy the past, Ireland makes you listen to his storytellers with admiration.” Lola Akinmade

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland

Visit the village of Carlingford

The medieval village of Carlingford is located on the Cooley Peninsula and is an hour’s drive from the major cities of Dublin and Belfast. Carlingford has a nice mix of natural beauty and panoramas, myths and legends. This creates a special atmosphere in the village. Approximately 3,500 inhabitants live in Carlingford and there are a few pubs, restaurants and shops. Carlingford is also the capital of the oysters of Ireland and every year in August the Oyster Festival finds place and flows the village full of tourists.

Walking in Carlingford

It is very nice to walk to “the deserted village” at the top of the hill just outside Carlingford. This is a small old village with a few houses where farmers families used to live, but since 1950 it has been abandoned. Now there are only some sheep around, there are some dilapidated houses and there is a serene peace.

You only hear the wind blow and the birds whistle. Delicious!

I have chosen to arrange this walking tour of 5km via Walking Holidays Ireland and this was a lot of fun. We had a lovely guide who told us lots of background information about the region.

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland

Cycling in Carlingford

If you want to see something more of the surroundings then it is advisable to go cycling. Especially the Greenway is a nice route for cycling! The path follows the route of the old railway and on the way you have the best views along the picturesque coast of Carlingford. In total this route 8 km back and forth 8 km back and he is clearly indicated with signs. You can rent ebikes via Carlingford Bike hire in the village and given the wind that is there, it is nice to cycle on an ebike.

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland

Hotel Carlingford

A fantastic location to stay in Carlingford is the Ghan House. Breakfast and dinner are of very high quality. The decor of the hotel is rich in antique style and the hotel is quaintly beautiful. The rooms are homely and very comfortable.

  • Not what you are looking for? Find here more great places to stay in Carlingford!
east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland
Ghan House

Admire the castles

There are countless beautiful castles on the east coast of Ireland and my 3 favorite castles are below. Three completely different castles in appearance and history, but definitely worth a visit!

1. Slane Castle

This castle was built in 1785 and is owned by the Conyngham family. Nowadays, the castle is managed by the oldest son of the current head of the family, Mount Charles. The castle is still inhabited by him and you can follow an interesting tour. Special is that since 1981 regular concerts are given on the grounds of Slane Castle. For example, several major artists have performed here in recent years, including Queen, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Guns N ‘Roses, Robbie Williams, Bryan Adams, U2, Madonna and Oasis. And part of U2’s album “The Unforgettable Fire” is recorded in the castle. Since 2017, a private whiskey distillery has been housed in the former stables: Slane Whiskey. You can also visit this distillery and get to know more about the process of making whiskey. Every quarter of an hour a tour starts in the distillery and that ends with a delicious glass of Slane Whiskey!

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland
Slane Castle

2. Trim Castle

Trim Castle is a castle from the twelfth century and is Ireland’s largest Anglo-Norman castle. It lies in the historically rich Boyne valley in the village of Trim on a terrain of 30,000 m². The construction of the castle has lasted a total of 30 years. It was the largest castle in Europe at the time, but currently there are only ruins left. That is why you need a little imagination to see the beauty of the castle. The tour you can follow there is very nice and gives you information about the rich history.

The view from the top of the castle is very beautiful.

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland
Trim Castle

3. Malahide Castle

This castle is very crowded and is a 20 minute drive from Dublin airport in the village of Malahide. The castle dates from the twelfth century and is the most authentic medieval castle in Ireland. It is special, because the decor of the castle is still completely intact and so you get a good idea how it used to be. The gardens are beautiful and are full of special plants.

The history is bloody and the legend goes that there are 5 house ghosts floating around in this castle.

Malahide Castle was owned by the family for 800 years, but in 1976 the castle came into the hands of the Irish state. The resident (Rose Talbot) was the last line of the Talbot family and unfortunately could no longer afford the large castle.

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland
Malahide Castle

Newgrange Monument

Newgrange is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, located 8 kilometers from Drogheda. It was built during the Neolithic period, around 3,200 BC. It is 8,000 years old and this building is older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids! Newgrange is designed as a tomb or as a temple, but there is no one who knows exactly and the truth is a mystery.

It is certain that Newgrange is one of the most important megalithic structures in Europe!

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland
New Grange

The entrance to Newgrange

Newgrange consists of a large round hill with a stone passage and rooms. The hill has a wall of white pebbles on the front and many of the larger stones of Newgrange contain megalithic art. The hill is also surrounded by a stone circle. In front of the entrance is a large stone decorated with special circles and spirals.

This is the most photographed stone of all Ireland!

There is no agreement about the meaning of the decorations on the stone. Is it an old language? Are the spirals symbolic of the sun? Is it just art? Or is art made under the influence of magical mushrooms? This too remains a mystery!

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland
New Grange

The inside of Newgrange

In the rooms within his human bones, goods and sacrifices found. You can enter the monument by walking underneath the stones in a bend to get into an impressive cruciform chamber after 18 meters. It is impressive to realize that there is so little damage on the inside of this monument. It has never been cleaned or restored and yet it is still in perfect condition and no water damage can be seen. How ingenious were the builders 5,000 years ago!

What is special is that every year a small number of people can witness the lighting of this room at midnight night.

At that moment a beam of light can be seen that climbs up 19 meters through the corridor and eventually illuminates the entire room. Every year, a handful of lucky people are chosen through a lottery to witness this magical moment. If you visit Newgrange, you can deposit a note with your name in a special box and take part in the draw.

Battle of Boyne

The Battle of Boyne is the Battle of the Boyne and took place on July 1, 1690. This Battle of the Boyne is one of the most important events in Irish history. The battle was between King William III and his father-in-law King James II.

In total, more than 60,000 people took part. This is the largest number of troops ever deployed on an Irish battlefield.

The deployment of this battle was three-part: the British throne, the French domination in Europe and the religious power in Ireland. It is interesting to visit the Boyne Visitor Center and get more information about this battle. This center is located in the 18th-century Oldbridge House and is located at the location where the battle took place. The battle comes to life in this center with the help of a laser model, an audio visual film and (replica) weapons.

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland
Battle of Boyne


Drogheda is one of the oldest cities in Ireland and is located on the east coast of Ireland. The city of Dublin is 49 km away. Drogheda has a long tradition of brewing and distilling with international companies such as Jameson Whiskey, Coca-Cola and Guinness. Drogheda is an ideal city to stay if you want to visit Newgrange and Slane Castle.

The best sights of Drogheda:
● St Peter’s Church
● Mellifont Abbey
● Monasterboice Monastic Site
● St. Laurence Gate
● Beaulieu House and Gardens

What I really liked doing in Drogheda is the “Whiskey walk” with Des Grant. He tells you all about the rich history of Drogheda and shows you several beautiful places of the city and tells you everything about Whiskey. The tour ends in the nicest pub in the city: Sarsfields.

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland

Hotel Drogheda

A nice hotel in Drogheda is the D Hotel. This hotel is beautifully situated on the river and on the boulevard. The rooms are very spacious and have a great view over the city. In just a few minutes walk you are in the center.

  • Not what you are looking for? Find here more great places to stay in Drogheda!
east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland

Tara Hill

Tara was once the capital of Ireland and the mythological people of the Tuatha Dé Danann would have crowned his kings on the hill. It was the political and spiritual center of Celtic Ireland, but now only the hill of Tara remains and you only see old ring forts. The Normans have been defeated here and in 1843 the largest mass demonstration in Irish history took place. Meanwhile, the hill occupies an important place in Irish consciousness.

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland

The itinerary for the east coast of Ireland in 5 days

From the airport in Dublin we took the rental car and we drove directly to Carlingford. This is a car ride of about an hour. Day 1 and day 2 we spent in Carlingford and that was enough time to explore this village and its immediate surroundings. Day 3 we drove from Carlingford to Trim Castle and visited this castle in the morning. We had lunch in the town of Trim and then we made a short stop at Tara. We spent the afternoon at Slane Castle and the associated distillery. From there we drove to Drogheda where we stayed in a hotel. On day 4 we visited Newgrange in the morning and in the afternoon we visited the Battle of Boyne. The day ended with a nice whiskey walk in Drogheda and we ended up in the local pub. On day 5 we visited Malahide Castle in the morning and then drove to the airport of Dublin for the return flight.

Best travel time for the east coast of Ireland

When you think of a holiday in Ireland you think of green landscapes and sheep, but also a lot of rain. Ireland is not known for sunshine and tropical temperatures. But the east coast of Ireland is sunny and dry compared to the rest of Ireland. On the coast it is pretty warm in the summer, but in the interior it is slightly cooler.

east coast of Ireland, Tips for discovering the east coast of Ireland


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