Monasterboice (Mainistir Bhuithe) Tours
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The late fifth century monastic settlement of Monasterboice is home to a collection of religious ruins, including a cemetery, churches, a 92-foot (28-meter) tall round tower, and—the highlight—three ancient high crosses. Used to preach Christianity to the mostly illiterate population, the crosses are adorned with biblical carvings.
To visit Monasterboice, which is less than an hour’s drive from Dublin, you can travel independently or join a Celtic history-themed day tour, which usually stops at Hill of Tara, the seat of Ireland’s ancient high kings; Newgrange passage tomb; and one or more castles in the area, such as the Norman-era Trim Castle and the late 18th-century Slane Castle. Some multi-day tours from Dublin to Northern Ireland include the Monasterboice site.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Monasterboice is a must for history enthusiasts.
- Entrance is free, though donations—which go toward site upkeep—are welcome.
- There are restrooms and a parking lot at the site.
- Monasterboice is wheelchair accessible via level, gravel paths.
How to Get There
Monasterboice is situated in County Louth, about 5 miles (9 kilometers) northwest of the town of Drogheda. The best way to arrive is by car (bring a map as GPS may be spotty) or as part of an organized tour with included transportation.
When to Get There
Despite the historical significance and artistry of the high crosses, Monasterboice does not attract large crowds. To see the site at its most tranquil, come in early morning or late afternoon.
The Highlights of Monasterboice
The stone tower, where Christian monks hid during Viking attacks, is one highlight. Of the Celtic crosses, the most famous is Muiredach’s High Cross, also known as the South Cross. Standing 18 feet (5.5. meters) tall, it is one of the country’s finest examples of early medieval sculpture, with intricate depictions of biblical tales carved onto it, including that of the crucifixion. The cross is thought to have been once brightly painted, though no color remains.
Address: Co. Louth, Ireland
6 Tours and Activities to Experience Monasterboice (Mainistir Bhuithe)
Set out for a two-day exploration of Northern Ireland from Dublin. Visit the Celtic ruins of Monasterboice and enjoy Belfast's incredible Titanic Experience, an interactive walk-through telling the story of the ill-fated ocean liner. Spend free time exploring the streets and sights of the lively capital, including places like the renowned Crown Liquor Saloon and the Grand Opera House. The following day see sights recognizable from the HBO series 'Game of Thrones,' then depart for The Giant's Causeway, thousands of interlocking basalt columns that are Northern Ireland's only UNESCO-listed site.
Delve into the fairytale landscapes of Northern Ireland on a 3-day tour of the remarkable region from Dublin. With a guide, you’ll explore the historic city of Monasterboice and visit Dark Hedges, a spectacular location featured on hit TV series ‘Game of Thrones’. Summon your courage to cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, gasp at the UNESCO-listed wonder of Giant’s Causeway and take a walking tour of medieval city, Derry. See, too, the majestic Dunluce Castle and Drunmcliff Abbey. Select between hostel and B&B accommodation options and receive breakfast each day.
Explore Northern Ireland’s bustling capital and discover top city attractions with ease on this Belfast day tour from Dublin. Follow your guide through Belfast — where RMS Titanic was built in the early 20th century — and learn of the city’s rich maritime heritage. Hear about Northern Ireland’s many colorful customs and traditions, and perhaps meet a few of Belfast’s locals along the way. Admire the famous Celtic crosses at Monasterboice in County Louth, and gain insight into Northern Ireland’s rich medieval history as you wander through the 14th-century ruins.
Little Gem Tours specialise in crafting unique, private experiences of Ireland. Our Newgrange tour takes you to the dawn of Irish civilisation with a journey into the past. We explore the main attractions of the Boyne Valley as well as the hidden gems with off the beaten path exploring. Our guides are professional, knowledgable, fun and have a genuine passion for their island.
The Boyne Valley is to Irish people what Israel is to Christians. The Boyne Valley is historically the most important part of Ireland. On this tour you’ll be taken back through the mists of Ireland’s ancient history, spanning over 5,000yrs to visit Newgrange (an ancient passage tomb older than the Pyramids), The Hill of Tara (the old capital of Ireland), Slane (where St. Patrick secured his legacy), Monasterboice Monastery (famed for its elaborately carved High Crosses) and Trim Castle (a mighty spectacle from the 12th century). Why people love this tour: 1. Walk into a tomb that’s over 5000 years old and be moved by its majesty & mystery. 2. Stand atop the Hill of Tara (Ireland’s historic cultural, spiritual and political capital), contemplating its huge significance whilst peering at Ireland’s endless verdant stretches before you. 3. The myths, legends and histories of St. Patrick, ancient Gaelic Kings, battles and societies open up a whole world that you never knew existed.
On this tour you will have the opportunity to visit one of the oldest towns in Ireland: Drogheda. Our tour starts with a visit to Bru na Boinne. It represents the archaeological heritage of the Boyne Valley which includes the megalithic passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth.Be aware that we are not going to go inside the Chamber, just outside visit. Then we will stop at Hill of Slane, ruins full of mystery, history and myth. Quick drive to Monasterboice High Cross and Rounder tower. Before we stop to have a rest and boost our energy at Drogheda village, we will have a quick stop at St. Laurence Gate. Drogheda is a great place to try some Irish food, just follow the instructions from your tour guide and enjoy We drive back to Dublin to visit our last attraction: Guinness Storehouse PLEASE NOTE: WALKING INVOLVED MISSING YOU ALREADY!!
Price varies by group size
Price varies by group size
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Monasterboice (Mainistir Bhuithe)?
The best ways to experience Monasterboice (Mainistir Bhuithe) are:
- 2-Day Northern Ireland Tour from Dublin Including Belfast and Giants Causeway
- 3-Day Northern Ireland Tour from Dublin: Giant’s Causeway & Titanic Experience
- Belfast Day Tour From Dublin: Including Titanic Experience
- Newgrange & The Boyne Valley Private Day Tour - Little Gem - (Prices per group)
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