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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Shutterstock/Barnes Ian King John's Castle
heritage hotspots

Your summer in Ireland: 5 must-see sites in Louth

Take our challenge and tick off as many glorious sites this summer as you can.

EVERY CORNER OF Ireland has something unique to showcase – but how much of it have you seen? has been chatting to heritage officers in every part of the country to compile their top five picks that they think you might enjoy visiting this summer.

Heritage includes monuments, archaeological or architectural objects, seascapes, wrecks, geology, inland waterways, gardens and parks.

We are publishing recommendations for every local authority area over the course of a fortnight, along with the details you need to know to plan your visit.

Get motoring!


1.  Old Mellifont, Drogheda

Founded by St Malachy in 1142, Mellifont was the first Cistercian abbey in Ireland.

In 1938, the monks of Mount Melleray Abbey in Waterford founded a new monastery on lands which had been part of the property of Mellifont Abbey four hundred years before.

Amenities: There is full wheelchair access to the site. There are toilets, a car park and a picnic area.

Opening hours and costs: The site is open from 10am-6pm daily and entry is priced at €5 per adult, €4 for seniors, €3 for students and €13 for family tickets.

shutterstock_1062136247 (1) Shutterstock / VVlasovs Old Mellifont Abbey Shutterstock / VVlasovs / VVlasovs

2. Monasterboice High Cross and Round Tower

This monastic site contains two high crosses, the cross of Muirdeach and the Tall Cross, both from the 9th Century.

The round tower was used as a watch tower and refuge for monks during Viking attacks.

Amenities: There are toilet and car parking facilities, as well as wheelchair access.

Opening hours and costs: Entry is free and the site is open daily.

Monasterboice High Cross - Copy Monasterboice high cross

3. Cúchulainn’s Castle, Dundalk 

According to Irish mythology, this site was the birthplace of the warrior Cúchulainn.

The current 18th Century house was built on the site of a pre-Christian fort.

The ruin remains today for visitors to explore.

Amenities: Bear in mind, there are no toilet facilities at the site 

Opening hours and costs: This site is free to visit and open daily

4. Proleek Dolmen, Ballymascanlon

Located on the Cooley Peninsula, this Neolithic tomb stands at about 3 metres high.

Visitors are invited to throw a pebble on the capstone and if it stays there (according to legend) a wish can be granted.

Amenities: There are toilets, wheelchair access and car parking facilities

Opening hours and costs: The site is free to visit and open daily

Proleek Dolmen Proleek dolmen

5. King John’s Castle, Carlingford

King John’s Castle was built in the 12th Century by Norman knight Hugh de Lacy on a rocky outcrop overlooking Carlingford Lough.

It was the first stone building erected in the area and its ruins still stand today.

Amenities: There is no wheelchair access, but you’ll find toilets and car parking close by 

Opening hours and costs: The site is free to visit and open daily

shutterstock_98005685 Shutterstock / Barnes Ian King John's Castle Shutterstock / Barnes Ian / Barnes Ian

Thanks to Louth County Council heritage events office for recommendations.

TOMORROW: Top 5 must-sees in Mayo and Meath

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