Have you ever visited our local village, Slane? It’s well known for the iconic rock concerts held at Slane Castle, but Slane itself is a really lovely place with a fascinating history. Interesting shops and cafes always draw visitors – lots of people make a day of it on Thursdays, popping into our Farmers Market first and then going into the village.
The bridge crossing the River Boyne is probably the iconic image people have of Slane village. It’s a thirteen arch bridge dating back nearly 250 years. The Ramparts Walk starts at the bridge and goes along the riverside, past Rock Farm Slane and towards Navan. The power of the flowing river was originally harnessed to mill corn and then to make linen out of flax which became an important industry for Slane. The old limestone mill buildings and the lovely old mill workers cottages are still there.
In the heart of Slane village one of the first things people notice are four almost identical Georgian houses at the main crossroads (called The Square). These four houses are known as The Four Sisters and were built back in the 1700s when the village was redesigned as a planned town.
A lovely old cottage houses the Francis Ledwidge Museum commemorating the poet in the house where he was born. After leaving school he worked in the kitchens at Slane Castle. Ledwidge, a contemporary of WB Yeats, was tragically killed in World War I. One of his best known poems is the Lament for Thomas McDonagh beginning with the poignant lines, “He shall not hear the bittern cry, in the wild sky where he is lain”. The first verse is inscribed on his memorial.
The Brú na Bóinne complex of Neolithic chamber tombs including Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth are just outside Slane and are fascinating to visit. Also nearby is the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick is reputed to have lit a paschal fire in the year 433AD. The whole area of the Boyne valley is rich in heritage and history – no wonder we get visitors from all over the globe flocking here.