Our Ancient East Tour brings you to what tourists call the “dawn of civilisation.” We transport you into the prehistoric age of the world famous Newgrange monument in the Boyne Valley where you walk among tombs predating the Pyramids of Giza. Travel safely and comfortably into early Christian Ireland, among the breath taking beauty and serenity of the world renowned tourist destinations including Monasterboice, the charming Slane Village and legendary Battle of the Boyne. Wander through 5,000 years of history in an exploration of land once walked by kings, knights, and Vikings.
After we pick you up from your Dublin location going northwards, we arrive shortly at Newgrange, dated at 3,200 B.C. Older than Stonehenge in the U.K. and the Great Pyramids of Giza. Touch the stone-work and travel back in time with us. Newgrange is a large circular mound 85 meters (93 yards) in diameter and 13.5 meters (15 yards) high with a 19 meter (21 yard) stone passageway and chambers inside. During the Winter Solstice, the chamber is aligned with the rising sun. The passage is 19 metres and leads you into a chamber with three alcoves. Investigate the 97 large stones called kerbstones, surrounding the tomb. Some are engraved with megalithic art. Newgrange is now recognised by some as an ancient temple. Knowth and Dowth are similar mounds nearby, that together with Newgrange have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
You step back into the 6th century in Monasteboice, situated in County Louth. This monastic settlement was founded by Saint Buite in the 600s. While the original monastery is gone, the remains of the two 10th century churches are still evident. A walk through the churchyard is a walk through one of the longest working burial grounds in the world. Trace your hands across history at Muirdeach’s Cross, which is the Cross nearest the graveyard entrance. Famous world-wide for its outstanding example of a High Cross of the Early Christian period in Ireland. It is a monolith, 17ft high. The West Cross is the tallest High Cross in Ireland at 7 metres high. There is a third but much less spectacular North Cross.
We journey on to the vibrant and historic town of Drogheda, world famous for its Saint Laurence’s Gate, and its displayed head of Saint Oliver Plunkett in the nearby Saint Peter’s R.C. Church. Saint Laurence’s Gate, is widely regarded as one of the finest of its kind in Europe. It consists of two lofty circular towers, connected together by a wall, in which there is an archway. Saint Peter’s in West Street is world famous for housing the shrine of Saint Oliver Plunkett. The church facade is an imposing structure in the Gothic style, built of local limestone.
The walled area of the Mediaeval Drogheda enclosed one hundred and thirteen acres, making it one of the largest walled towns of the time. In 1649, Cromwell breached the walls and sacked the town, massacring two thousand Royalist sympathisers and deporting captives as slaves to Barbados. Drogheda surrendered to King William after the Battle of the Boyne.
We lead you to the memories of one of the most famous battles in the Irish calendar. At the Boyne Visitor’s Centre you recreate the period in which the battle took place. Listen to history come alive showing how King William had 36,000 men and King James had 25,000 – the largest number of troops ever deployed on an Irish battlefield. English, Scottish, Dutch, Danes and Huguenots (French Protestants) made up William’s army (Williamites), while James’ men (Jacobites) were mainly Irish Catholics, reinforced by 6,500 French troops sent by King Louis XIV. At stake was the British throne, French Dominance in Europe and religious power in Ireland.
William’s camp was on the north side of the river. James’s was on the south side with the two armies facing each other. King James’s army retreated across the River Nanny at Duleek and regrouped west of the Shannon to carry on the war. Approximately 1,500 soldiers were killed at the Boyne.
We will journey along in Deluxe Tour comfort on to the sedate and pleasant Slane, North of the Boyne, to an estate village with fine Georgian houses near the River Boyne. Walk along the home of many large manors and castles, in the birthplace of the famous poet Francis Ledwidge, who died in the first world war.
The majestic Slane Castle welcomes you. Created in the late 18th century for the Marquis of Conyngham, the 1,500 acre estate’s castle was badly burned in 1991 and is in the process of restoration. It has been home to many music artists with their outdoor concerts including Queen, and Bruce Springsteen. It also houses a Gothic Revival Ballroom created for King George IV. Its picturesque backdrop of the River Boyne complements your view.
Travelling in Deluxe Tour style just above Slane village is the Hill of Slane, where the first Easter fire was lit by Saint Patrick in 433 to symbolise the arrival of Christianity. The act was in direct defiance of Laoghaire, the Celtic King of Ireland. The hill was also the site of a monastery and church which was raided by the Vikings, the Normans, and Cromwell’s troops. Today the church tower gives a panoramic view of the Meath countryside.
Just 10 miles away (16 kilometres) is the Hill of Tara. The aura of the East continues in this County Meath spot, best known as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland but has been an important site since the discovery of a late Stone Age passage tomb. As you explore the history of this landmark attraction, let the magic and mystery of the Stone Ages wash over you. The Hill of Tara was at the height of its power as a political and religious centre in the early centuries after Christ. Held sacred by people from the Neolithic era, Tara was believed by worshippers to be a dwelling place of the gods and an entrance to the world of eternal joy.
|1st February to 31st October|
|Monday||9.00 - 18.00 approx|
|Tuesday||9.00 - 18.00 approx|
|Wednesday||9.00 - 18.00 approx|
|Thursday||9.00 - 18.00 approx|
|Friday||9.00 - 18.00 approx|
|Saturday||9.00 - 18.00 approx|
|Sunday||9.00 - 18.00 approx|