Dunboyne Castle Hotel, Meath, is spacious and modern. Visiting the luxurious Seoid Spa is a treat and the Ivy Restaurant provides top-quality food. If you want to combine relaxation with adventure in a fascinating part of Ireland, Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa is an ideal place to stay.
Also known as ‘Valley of the Kings’, Boyne Valley is a mythical region of Ireland. There are over 5,000 years worth of historical sites dotted across the rolling hills, lush fields, and along the banks of the River Boyne. Exploring the area is like taking a trip back through time. But there’s more to Meath than historic monuments and medieval ruins. There are also villages, organic farms, and art studios to explore, as well as lots of opportunities to get active outdoors.
Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa isn’t actually a castle – it’s a modern hotel with 145 bedrooms. But it was built on the grounds of the former Dunboyne Castle, which was destroyed during the Cromwellian invasion. The deluxe rooms are comfortable and spacious, and you can request one with a private balcony. Alternatively, if you’d like garden views and an open-plan living area, you could choose an executive room. Whichever room you choose, expect comfy beds, a Samsung HD TV, in-room controlled air conditioning, and a spacious bathroom.
I was booked into a Junior Suite, which meant I had bedroom and living areas that were big enough to run around in, as well as two bathrooms. If you’re looking for somewhere special to retreat to, a suite might be worth considering.
The Seoid Spa at Dunboyne Castle Hotel is a luxurious, Middle Eastern-themed spa. Dimly lit and scented with incense, it’s relaxing from the minute you step inside. It would be easy to spend hours in the hydrotherapy pool and thermal suite. But there’s an extensive list of spa treatments, so you’ll have to leave the pool at some stage. Treatments include massages, sugar scrubs, seaweed baths, a dry flotation bed, and the Rasul Mud Chamber. You can also book a facial or make an appointment in the Nail Studio.
The 2 AA Rosette-winning Ivy Restaurant is all about modern cuisine with a creative twist. Most of the ingredients are from local suppliers and the menu is a fun one. John Nagle, the Executive Chef, has been listed in the Michelin Guide, so you can expect quality and flavour from every dish. If you have room for dessert, there’s a passionfruit, coconut, and ganache tart that’s almost too rich to finish.
The Terrace Lounge in Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa is great for lunch, coffee, or afternoon tea. Also, it offers some healthier lunch options, like the superfood salads and lentil pittas. If you’re feeling less virtuous, the stone baked pizzas look tempting.
Explore the Surrounding Area
There’s a lot to see in the Boyne Valley. The combination of heritage sites, beautiful landscape, and outdoor activities means you could fill a few days with activities:
Take a drive along the winding roads of rural Meath to the Loughcrew Cairns. Built in about 4000 BC, these megalithic structures are very well-preserved. Located on the Slieve na Calliagh hills, they’re incredible examples of passage chambers. Cairn T sits on the highest hill in Meath, so after you’ve made the short hike to the top, you’ll get the best views in the county. Stop at the Loughcrew Megalithic Centre, where you can book a fun and informative tour of the cairns and Maggie’s Cottage.
The River Boyne flows through countryside and towns that are rich in history. Getting out on the water is one of the best ways to experience its magic. Boyne Valley Activities, an eco-certified company, runs kayaking and rafting trips. If you feel like taking a more relaxed approach, you could try their ‘Floating Through Time’ tour. Groups float through the medieval town of Trim in a raft and learn about the town’s history.
Hill of Slane
Steeped in myth and history, the Hill of Slane rises to 158 metres over the surrounding countryside. The significance of the hill dates as far back as prehistoric times. It’s also associated with St.Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland – it’s thought that he lit the first Pascal Fire there in 433 AD. Historic ruins and monuments still stand on the Hill of Slane today and there are free tours during the summer months. Alternatively, you can explore the hill yourself throughout the year.
Planning a trip to Dunboyne Castle Hotel, Meath?
- Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa is 18 kms from Dublin’s city centre and 21 kms from Dublin International Airport.
- If you visit the Seoid Spa, try the Voya full-body massage. It’s incredibly relaxing.
- Special rates for spa breaks are offered on the hotel’s website.
- A buffet breakfast is included in the price of booking.
Many thanks to Discover Boyne Valley for hosting my trip. As always, all opinions are my own.