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County Meath, nicknamed “the Royal County,” is part of the province of Leinster in northeastern Ireland. The county’s extensive history as being the seat of the High King of Ireland is what brought to pass the nickname. As Meath is at an elevation of 152.49 feet, the county is influenced by a Marine west coast climate. The annual temperature for Meath is within the range of 50.09 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Much of Meath’s topographical form is flat; however, Loughcrew and the northern parts of Carrick are comprised of upland and hilly areas. One of County Meath’s prominent land features is the Hill of Tara. The Hill of Tara is relatively popular among tourists, as several mythical legends tell about the former kings that reigned at this site, which had previously been a seat of power. Other draws for tourism include nature preserve areas such as Newcastle Lough. This preserve features a 17-acre lake that contains a few fish species such as coarse fish, pike, and brown trout. Some of the wildlife inhabitants that reside on the land of Newcastle Lough are badgers, kingfishers, otters, and several types of bats.
County Meath covers an expanse of 2,342 kilometers squared in the northeastern regions of Ireland. The name by which Meath is known derives from the Irish word “an Mhí,” meaning “The Middle.” Out of Ireland’s 32 traditional counties, Meath is the 14th largest by land area and the 8th largest by population. As of the 2022 census, County Meath has a total population of 220,296 residents. The largest settlement in the county is Navan, which is located along the River Boyne in the heart of Meath. Moreover, Navan is additionally the county town for Meath.
Several historic sites characterize County Meath, many of which date back thousands of years. One particular draw for tourism is what is known as the Newgrange Stone Age Passage in the Boyne Valley. Newgrange is a dome-like structure that was built by Stone Age farmers nearly 5,200 years ago. According to Newgrange’s official website, the historical site is older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. About 97 considerably large stones called kerbstones surround the exterior of Newgrange. Many of these kerbstones have engravings of megalithic art. The roof of the passage is covered entirely with grass, and the structure as a whole occupies over an acre of land. Some classify this site as an “ancient temple,” similar to a cathedral, serving as a place of astrological, spiritual, and religious significance for many individuals. Visitors can access Newgrange solely by guided tours.
Another notable historical site in County Meath is the Hill of Tara (also known as Temair in Gaeilge). A fair amount of mythical legends tell about this site. It is said that 142 kings reigned in this former seat of power in Ireland. Some believe that Saint Patrick came to Tara to confront the ancient religion of the pagans at what was thought at the time to be “its most powerful site.” Situated atop the King’s Seat of Temair is one of the most prominently known of Tara’s monuments, Ireland’s Ancient Coronation Stone, or “Stone of Destiny.” Mythology tells that this stone was brought by “godlike people,” and many believed that it roared when it was “touched by the rightful king of Tara.” More recently, about 100 new monuments have been discovered on the Hill of Tara with the help of what is classified as non-invasive exploratory techniques.
Located in the Eastern and Midland regions of Ireland, County Meath is part of the province of Leinster. Bordering the north of Meath is County Monaghan, with Louth to the northeast, Dublin to the southeast, Kildare to the south, Offaly to the southwest, Westmeath to the west, and Cavan to the northwest. Between the rivers Boyne and Delvin, a portion of eastern County Meath is bordered by the Irish Sea. The majority of Meath’s topography is flat. In the far western areas of the county at Loughcrew and in the northern parts of Carrick, these particular upland features are more significant compared to other hilly areas in Meath. The Hill of Tara, situated south of Navan, is presumably one of the most prominent features of Meath’s topography, reaching a height of 509 feet.
County Meath is classified as a Marine west coast climate. The annual high in Meath is around 54 degrees Fahrenheit, with the annual low dropping around 42.82 degrees. Typically, July is the warmest month of the year as temperatures reach around 64.47 degrees. Contrastingly, the coldest month, February, has temperatures within the general range of 36.01 degrees Fahrenheit. Over the course of the year, Meath receives about 2.54 inches of precipitation throughout 176.45 rainy days. August, which receives around 3.38 inches of precipitation on average, is presumably the wettest month for the county. Meath is located at an elevation of 152.49 feet above sea level, and the county’s yearly temperature is around 50.09 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 0.05% lower than Ireland’s climatic averages.
One particular area in County Meath that is abundant in wildlife is Newcastle Lough. This nature preserve is home to a diverse range of habitats and animal inhabitants. A few of the more common habitats include reedbeds, wet grassland, and wet woodland. Many species may be found throughout these environments, namely badgers, pine martens, otters, kingfishers, crayfish, and six species of bats. Newcastle Lough is a that covers over 17 acres. Coarse fish, pike, and brown trout are some of the notable aquatic species that reside in the lake.
County Meath was given the nickname “The Royal County,” deriving from the county’s history as the seat of the High King of Ireland. More specifically, Tara had been serving as the seat of the High King of Ireland. Meath had previously been formed from the eastern part of the Kingdom of Mide but is now currently part of the province of Leinster. County Meath and Brú na Bóinne (the Boyne Valley) were some of the first areas that were settled in Ireland. The tombs that are currently on the site of Brú na Bóinne date back to 5,000 years ago, when they were first constructed. Furthermore, it is said that Saint Patrick first preached the Christian faith to Ireland in the Boyne Valley.
Brú na Bóinne translates to the “palace” or “mansion” of the Boyne. This area in County Meath contains many of Ireland’s notable prehistoric landscapes including passage tombs such as Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth. Brú na Bóinne can be found north of the city of Dublin near the east coast of Ireland. The tombs of Brú na Bóinne, more particularly Knowth, feature the largest assemblage of megalithic art in western Europe. In 2900 BC, the tombs experienced abandonment, and the surrounding areas served as the focus of ceremonies and rituals through the Early Bronze Age period. The passage tomb cemetery was created in Brú na Bóinne around 3300 BC, and at this time, the site was primarily farmland with some domestic houses. Throughout the Iron Age, several burials took place in close proximity to the main mound of Knowth.
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