A visit to the beautiful Louth county will surely be one filled with instant history lessons and quirky urban legends. With myths and tales attached to most of its attractions, you’re bound to experience not just the sights but its rich history as well. Here’s a list to guide you with the best things to do in Louth, and to be sure that you’ll make the most of your stay.
Things you'll find in this article
- 12 Best Things To Do In Louth
- 1.Smarmore Castle
- 2.County Museum Dundalk
- 3.Knockabbey Castle
- 4. St Peter’s Church, Drogheda
- 5.Beaulieu House and Gardens
- 6.Old Mellifont Abbey
- 8.Clochafarmore Standing Stone
- 9.The Kildemock Jumping Church
- 10.Proleek Dolmen
- 11.Stephenstown Pond Nature Park & The Dairy Maid Coffee Shop
- 12.Carlingford Lough
12 Best Things To Do In Louth
Smarmore Castle is one of the smallest castles in Ireland and is one of those Irish castles where a family actually lived for a long time, like centuries. This castle dates back to the 14th century and was the residence of the Taafe family from 1330 until the 1980s. It is certainly one of Louth’s attractions and is situated between Collon and Ardee.
Decades ago, it was sold for half a million Euros and all its contents were auctioned off. The castle was then converted into a hotel, and at present, houses a center for the treatment of alcoholism and addiction. The castle isn’t open to the public but you can explore the grounds and marvel at the grand structure from a distance.
Address: Smarmore near Ardee County Louth Ireland A92 YY22
Phone: +353 41 986 5080
2.County Museum Dundalk
The award-winning museum County Museum Dundalk houses permanent exhibitions, temporary displays, and hosts music recitals and film screenings. Situated in the town of Dundalk, County Louth, it is set inside a beautifully restored late 18th-century warehouse. The museum was funded by Dundalk Town Council, started in 1994 and celebrates County Louth’s rich, social, industrial and cultural history from the Stone Age up to the present day, in its exhibition galleries.
It also has a 72-seater theatre where visitors can watch a short film introducing the attractions of County Louth or see concerts and recitals.
Tuesday to Saturday – 10.00am – 5.00pm
Sundays and Monday – Closed
Bank Holidays – Closed
Adults – €2
Children – €1
Family – €5
Groups of 10+ – 20% Discount
School Groups – 50c per Child
Address: 8 Jocelyn St, Townparks, Dundalk, Co. Louth, A91 EFY9, Ireland
Phone: 042 9392999
Formerly called Thomastown Castle, Knockabbe is located in County Louth and was built around 1399. It has gone through many improvements since it was built, and each of the families who lived there left their mark. Knockabbey Castle has some of the finest historical water gardens in the country, which dates back to the 11th century.
Thriving in the gardens are a wide variety of trees and even tulips, and an afternoon or even a full day of strolling around Knockabbey makes for one of the more unique things to do in Louth. The 30 acres of lush greens, which include meadows, herbaceous border, formal Victorian gardens with restored glasshouse and parkland also introduces you to Irish gardening history.
Address: Philipstown, Co. Louth, Ireland
Phone:+353 1 6778816
4. St Peter’s Church, Drogheda
Located in the center of Drogheda, this gothic church houses the shrine of Saint Oliver Plunkett, and his preserved head even forms the centerpiece of the shrine. With an older church built in its place, parts of that structure were incorporated into the present building. The interiors of St. Peter’s include fine sculptures, a spectacular high altar made from marble and stained glass windows.
Saturday Vigil 6:15 pm
Sunday 8:00 am, 11:00am, 12:15pm
Weekdays 10:30 am & 8: 30 am
Address: St Peter’s Parish, Drogheda Co.Louth
Phone: 353 41 983 8537
5.Beaulieu House and Gardens
One of the earliest unfortified houses in Ireland, the historic Beaulieu House and Gardens has been home to two families, the Plunketts and the Tichbournes, for over 800 years and is one of the prettiest places to visit in Louth. Located near Drogheda, County Louth and situated on the banks of the Boyne, it was built between 1600 and 1666.
Beaulieu House has impressive interior design, a grand staircase, a high eaved roof, dormered attic, and red brick window dressings, reflecting a variety of design influences. The house hasn’t been altered much since it was built and the last improvements made on the Interior décor, paintings, wood carvings, and grand staircase were done back in 1723.
Beaulieu has four acres of gardens surrounding the estate and like the house, hasn’t been changed much.
By Appointment only.
Address: Beaulieu House and Garden Drogheda, Co. Louth, A92 PD3R Ireland
Phone: 353 (0) 41 983 8557
6.Old Mellifont Abbey
Ireland’s first Cistercian monastery is the Mellifont Abbey, founded in 1142. It is located just 10 minutes from Drogheda, and among its most visited parts are the monks’ chapter house and an octagonal 12th-century lavabo, which was used by the monks when washing their hands.
The Abbey’s visitor center houses an exhibition on the work of masons in the Middle Ages, with fine examples of their craft on display, as well as remnants of the abbey’s gate and its church. This place is only accessed through a stone stairway, while the Visitor Centre is accessible for guests with disabilities.
30th May – 4th September: Daily 10.00 – 18.00
Last admission 45 minutes before closing.
Average Length of Visit: 1 hour
Address: 2 Dominick St, Mellifont, Drogheda, Co. Louth, A92 PR84,
Phone: (041) 9826103
Said to have been founded by a follower of St. Patrick, Monasterboice is one of Ireland’s monastic sites. Located close to Drogheda, the remarkable ruins include a cemetery, 2 churches, one of the tallest round towers and two of the tallest high crosses in Ireland which are what attracts visitors to this site mostly. The round tower is about 30 meters high and was used as a watchtower and refuge for monks. Like most towers, it is not open to the public but it is quite picturesque and along with the rest of Monasterboice, is one of the best things to see in Louth.
8.Clochafarmore Standing Stone
An impressive monument that stands at over 3 meters high and 1.3 meters wide; and like most standing stones believed to mark locations where great events took place, Clochafarmore is associated with the greatest hero of Irish folklore – Cúchulainn.
Located in Knockbridge County Louth, the name Clochafarmore comes from the Irish Cloch a Fhir Mhóir which means ‘Stone of the Big Man’. The field where it is located is locally called ‘The Field of Slaughter’. A rather weird etymology and even stranger nickname for its location, but a visit here make for one of the best things to do in Louth, especially if you’re into walking and Irish folktales. To get here, you’ll climb a low stile, cross a single-strand electric cattle fence and walk for 200 meters across a grazing field.
9.The Kildemock Jumping Church
The Kildemock Jumping Church dates back to the 14th century and part of its west gable now stands inside the wall of the original foundation. Situated just 4km south of Ardee in Millockstown, County Louth, this religious ruin is not without a quirky legend attached to it. It got its strange name from an old tale that says that the west gable of the building jumped two feet inside the wall of the original foundation to exclude an excommunicated church member who had been buried in the church. The structure does look like it is trying today something so if only to marvel at this spectacle, make this a part of your Louth itinerary.
An interesting structure that comes with several quirky myths and tales, the grand Proleek Portal Tomb is situated in the parklands of Ballymascanlon Hotel. It is called a portal tomb because legends say that the two large stones, that sit in the upright position, serve as a portal or a way into the funeral chamber.
If only for these strange myths, the Proleek is definitely worth visiting. There’s another tale that says that if a stone stays on top of the dolmen if you throw it up there – you will be married in a year. So whether you’re looking to get married or simply want to hear more about what folks have to say about Proleek a trip here is surely a treat when you’re in Louth.
Address: Proleek, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland
Phone:+353 42 9352111
11.Stephenstown Pond Nature Park & The Dairy Maid Coffee Shop
An ideal venue for picnics, Stephenstown Pond Nature Park and the Dairy Maid Coffee Shop is an 8km lakeside green space. A day at the Stephenstown is one of the best things to do in Louth on weekends, as it offers fun and relaxation all in one place. You can stroll along the lakeshore or simply hang out nearby on your picnic mat.
You can also feed the ducks and swans, as you enjoy the peaceful scenery. You can enjoy some delicious homemade goodies at The Dairy Maid Coffee Shop, which is housed at the 19th century Burns Cottage previously owned by the sister of Irish poet Robert Burns.
May – September: 08.30am – 20.30
October – April: 09.00 – 17.00
May- September : 09.30am – 17.00pm
October-April 09.30am – 17.00pm
Address: Stephenstown Pond Project, Knockbridge, Dundalk, Co. Louth,
Phone: +353 42 937 9019
A lough, or lake with a rich history, its name Carlingford was given due to a Viking activity and the settlement on the southern shore. The lake first appeared after the ice age, and Carlingford has been a witness to so many activities all throughout its history. At present, the town where it is located and also its namesake remains as one of Ireland’s well-kept medieval villages. With its protective walls, narrow streets, Friary, and urban Tower structures, a stroll along Carlington is like stepping into an old era, making it one of the more interesting points of interest in Louth.