County Meath

County Meath (/miːð/; Irish: Contae na Mí or simply an Mhí) is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Mid-East Region. It is named after the historic Kingdom of Meath (from Midhe meaning "middle" or "centre").[2] Meath County Council is the local authority for the county. At the 2016 census, the population of the county was 195,044.[1] The county town of Meath is Navan. Other towns in the county include Trim, Kells, Laytown, Ashbourne, Dunboyne, and Slane.

It is one of only two counties outside the west of Ireland to have an official Gaeltacht (the other being County Waterford, which has the Gaeltacht An Rinn) and the only county in Leinster to have an official Gaeltacht.

County Meath

Contae na Mí
Coat of arms of County Meath

Coat of arms
The Royal County
Tré Neart le Chéile  (Irish)
"Stronger Together"
Location of County Meath
Dáil ÉireannMeath East
Meath West
EU ParliamentMidlands–North-West
County townNavan
 • TypeCounty Council
 • Total2,342 km2 (904 sq mi)
Area rank14th
 • Total195,044
 • Rank9th
 • Density83/km2 (220/sq mi)
Vehicle index
mark code
Trim Castle 6
Trim Castle, Trim

Geography and political subdivisions

Meath is drained by the River Boyne. The county is the 14th-largest of Ireland's 32 counties in area, and the ninth-largest in terms of population.[3] It is the second-largest of Leinster's 12 counties in size, and the third-largest in terms of population.

The county town is Navan, where the county hall and government are located, although Trim, the former county town, has historical significance and remains a sitting place of the circuit court. County Meath also has the only two Gaeltacht areas in the province of Leinster, at Ráth Chairn and Baile Ghib. Meath has seven land borders and also a small stretch of coastline stretching from Mornington to Gormanston beach. The counties bordering Meath are: Dublin, Westmeath, Louth, Offaly, Kildare, Cavan, and Monaghan.


There are eighteen historic baronies in the county.[4] They include the baronies of Morgallion and Ratoath. While baronies continue to be officially defined units, they are no longer used for many administrative purposes. Their official status is illustrated by Placenames Orders made since 2003, where official Irish names of baronies are listed under "Administrative units".

Local government and politics

There are 40 elected members of Meath County Council. Fine Gael holds 13 seats, Fianna Fáil holds 10, Sinn Féin holds 8, and there are 9 independents. There are two Dáil constituencies, Meath West and Meath East, which together return 6 deputies to Dáil Éireann. Fianna Fáil currently holds 1 seat in each constituency, Fine Gael holds 2 in Meath East and 1 in Meath West, and Sinn Féin holds 1 in Meath West. Previously there was only one Meath constituency. Fianna Fáil held three seats out of five in the Meath constituency between 1987 and its abolition in 2007; Fine Gael won the other two seats in four of the five general elections in that period, with the exception of 1992, when it lost a seat to the Labour Party (which was regained in 1997). Meath East lies entirely within the borders of the county; Meath West includes part of the neighbouring county of Westmeath. Part of the county along the Irish Sea coast, known as East Meath, which includes Julianstown and Laytown-Bettystown-Mornington, is included in the Louth constituency.


The county is colloquially known by the nickname "The Royal County", owing to its history as the seat of the High King of Ireland.[5][6][7] It formed from the eastern part of the former Kingdom of Mide (see Kings of Mide) but now forms part of the province of Leinster. Historically, the kingdom and its successor territory the Lordship of Meath, included all of counties Meath, Fingal and Westmeath as well as parts of counties Cavan, Longford, Louth, Offaly and Kildare. The seat of the High King of Ireland was at Tara. The archaeological complex of Brú na Bóinne is 5,000 years old, and includes the burial sites of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth,[8] in the north-east of the county. It is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.[9]

Places of interest

Dangan Castle, Co Meath, Ireland, 1840
Dangan Castle

Contemporary references

In Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone With The Wind, it is mentioned that Gerald O'Hara, Scarlett O'Hara's father, was born in County Meath. Tara is the name of the Georgia plantation on which the O'Hara family resided.

Famous Anglo-Irish MP Charles Stewart Parnell was elected member of parliament for Meath in Westminster in 1875 until 1880. Today he is locally commemorated by a small garden and courtyard in Kells town centre.


Population of County Meath (graph)
Graph showing the population change in Co. Meath.

The population of Co. Meath suffered significant decline between 1861 and 1901, almost halving (110,373 to 67,497); it stabilised between 1901 and 1971 (67,497 to 71,729); and there was a substantial increase between 1971 and 1981 to 95,419. This increase was mainly due to a baby boom locally. The population then continued to increase at a constant rate, before increasing at an explosive rate between 1996 and 2002, from 109,732 to 134,005. This is due primarily to economic factors, with the return of residents to live in the county, and also an echo effect of the 1970s baby boom. The census of 2011 gives a figure of 184,135, including a dramatic increase in inward migration to the county, much of it from neighbouring Dublin and Drogheda.

This population growth has seen divergent trends emerge in recent years, with mild depopulation in the north and west of the county being more than offset by large increases in the population of the eastern and south-eastern parts of the county, principally owing to inward migration to districts that have good proximity via road to the business parks on the western outskirts of Dublin. The accession of Poland and Lithuania to the European Union in 2004 resulted in a significant influx of workers from these countries to work in low-wage sectors, including agriculture, quarrying, construction and catering.

Main immigrant groups, 2016[10]
Nationality Population
 United Kingdom 9,699
 Poland 4,229
 Lithuania 3,131
 Romania 1,402
 Latvia 1,092
 Nigeria 945
 United States 930
 India 465
 Moldova 456
 South Africa 442

Urban areas and populations

Town Population 2016
Navan 30,173
Ashbourne 12,679
Laytown-Bettystown-Mornington 11,872
Ratoath 9,533
Trim 9,194
Dunboyne 7,272
Kells 6,135
Southern environs of Drogheda 5,000[11][12]
Duleek 4,219
Dunshaughlin 4,035
Stamullen 3,360
Enfield 3,239
Athboy 2,445
Oldcastle 1,383
Slane 1,369
Ballivor 1,809
Longwood 1,581
Kentstown 1,179

Irish language

There are 2,533 Irish-language speakers, or Gaeilgeoirí, in County Meath,[13] with 1,299 native speakers in the Meath Gaeltacht. The Gaeltacht is split into an area northwest of Navan and east of Kells, known as Baile Ghib and Domhnach Phádraig, and an area close to the towns of Athboy and Trim, known as Rath Cháirn.[14] In addition, there are 1,304 pupils attending the seven Gaelscoileanna outside the Gaeltacht area.[15] The Greater Dublin area has the highest number of Irish-medium schools in Ireland.


In farming, cattle, dairying, potatoes and grain are historically common in Meath. Recently production volumes have decreased due to competition for labour from other sectors of the economy. Migrant labour from Eastern Europe has helped however. Meath is Ireland's leading county producer of potatoes, and a significant producer of beef, barley, milk, wheat, and root vegetables.

Europe's largest underground lead-zinc mine, Tara Mines, has operated in the area since 1977, at a location to the west of Navan. Current ore production from the mine is 2,600,000 tonnes of ore per year, containing over 200,000 tonnes of zinc metal.[16] Glacial deposits of gravel exist in a band stretching from the Offaly border at Edenderry, to the sea at Laytown. This is the basis of a long quarrying tradition. A large cement plant near Duleek is situated in this territory.

An increasing proportion of Meath residents commute into Dublin, with a resulting shift to a services based economy in the developing dormitory towns.

Meat processing occurs in Clonee and Navan. Navan was historically a manufacturing town, and involved in the household goods sector. Navan was a centre of the Irish furniture industry, though this declined as a source of employment. Navan was also a centre in the Irish carpet-making industry, before this was lost to overseas competition.[17]

Horse-breeding and -training is also undertaken in the county, and there is localised tourism in Trim, Kells, Tara and the Boyne Valley.



  • The M1 motorway linking Dublin and Belfast.
  • The N2 / M2 motorway linking Dublin and Derry.
  • The N3 / M3 motorway linking Dublin and Cavan.
  • The N4 / M4 motorway linking Dublin and Sligo.


  • Hansfield, Dunboyne and M3 Parkway have a frequent service to Dublin city centre.
  • Laytown has a frequent commuter service. The station is located on Dublin's 'Northern Commuter Line'.
  • There is a commuter train service (Western Commuter Line) from Enfield. Although the service is very infrequent (only 8 trains a day to Dublin, with no direct trains between 4 pm and 9 pm), not many villages like Enfield have a commuter service at all.
  • Navan is currently served by a freight-only spur railway line from Drogheda the on the Dublin-Belfast main line, for freight traffic (zinc and lead concentrates from Tara Mines in Navan to Dublin Port) connecting at Drogheda. The direct rail line remains abandoned, though its path is reasonably intact, and plans are drawn up to reopen it in line with current government transport policy. However, this plan has now been put on hold due to the economic downturn.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: County Meath". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  2. ^ Everett-Heath, John (2010). The Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199580897. Archived from the original on 29 November 2016. A county with a name meaning ‘The Middle (Kingdom)’, a reference to its east-central location in the island. It was one of the five ancient kingdoms of Ireland at which time it included the modern county of Westmeath.
  3. ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 186–191. ISBN 0-340-89695-7.
  4. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland - Baronies.
  5. ^ Meath County Council. "Meath - a rich and royal land". Archived from the original on 10 June 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  6. ^ "County Meath - Newgrange, Slane Castle and the Book of Kells". Archived from the original on 9 March 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  7. ^ Rowan Kelleher, Suzanne (2004). Frommer's Ireland from $80 a Day (20th ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey, USA: Wiley Publishing, Inc. p. 204. ISBN 0-7645-4217-6.
  8. ^ "Brú na Bóinne | World Heritage | World Heritage Ireland". Archived from the original on 30 August 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  9. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Brú na Bóinne - Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne". Archived from the original on 4 October 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Population Usually Resident and Present in the State 2011 to 2016 by Sex, Aggregate Town or Rural Area, Birthplace, County of Usual Residence and CensusYear - StatBank - data and statistics". Archived from the original on 10 March 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  11. ^,36330,en.pdf Archived 25 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^,6769,en.jpg Archived 19 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "ArcGIS Web Application". Archived from the original on 28 November 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  14. ^ "An Mhí « Údarás na Gaeltachta". Archived from the original on 18 December 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Oideachas Trí Mheán na Gaeilge in Éirinn sa Ghalltacht 2010-2011" (PDF) (in Irish). 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Navan Historical Society - Navan Carpets". Archived from the original on 19 November 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.

External links

Coordinates: 53°40′N 6°40′W / 53.667°N 6.667°W

Brú na Bóinne

Brú na Bóinne (Irish: [ˈbˠɾˠuː n̪ˠə ˈbˠoːn̪ʲə], Palace of the Boyne or Mansion of the Boyne) or Boyne valley tombs, is an area in County Meath, Ireland, located in a bend of the River Boyne. It contains one of the world's most important prehistoric landscapes dating from the Neolithic period, including the large Megalithic passage graves of Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth as well as some 90 additional monuments. The archaeological culture associated with these sites is called the "Boyne culture".

Since 1993 the site has been a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO, known since 2013 as "Brú na Bóinne - Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne".

Hill of Tara

The Hill of Tara (Irish: Cnoc na Teamhrach, Teamhair or Teamhair na Rí), located near the River Boyne, is an archaeological complex that runs between Navan and Dunshaughlin in County Meath, Ireland. It contains a number of ancient monuments and, according to tradition, was the seat of the High King of Ireland.

Lord Lieutenant of Meath

This is a list of people who served as Lord Lieutenant of County Meath, Ireland.

There were lieutenants of counties in Ireland until the reign of James II, when they were renamed governors. The office of Lord Lieutenant was recreated on 23 August 1831.

Páirc Tailteann

Páirc Tailteann (Irish pronunciation: [ˈpˠaːɾʲc ˈt̪ˠalʲtʲɛn̪ʲ]) is a GAA stadium in Navan, County Meath, Ireland. It is the home of the Meath Gaelic football and Hurling teams. The ground has had a capacity of between 30,000 and 33,000, but following a safety audit in 2011 the GAA reduced the authorized capacity to 10,000. This was later upped to 17,000. The county board in 2012 announced plans to refurbish the grounds. In 2013 Meath county board introduced a ticket system The name "Tailteann" alludes to the Tailteann Games, an ancient Gaelic festival held in Teltown (Tailtin) between Navan and Kells.

Páirc Tailteann is the venue of the annual Meath GAA club championship finals, the winners of which receive the Keegan Cup (for football) and the Jubilee Cup (for hurling). It is the principal G.A.A. stadium in County Meath. Recent redevelopments of the stadium include the installation of an electronic scoreboard to replace the old, manual scoreboard (the manual scoreboard can still be used in the event of problems with the electronic one) and the erection of floodlights.

R125 road (Ireland)

The R125 road is a regional road in Ireland, linking Kilcock on the County Meath / County Kildare border to Swords in County Dublin via the towns of Dunshaughlin and Ratoath.

The official description of the R125 from the Roads Act 1993 (Classification of Regional Roads) Order 2012 reads:

R125: Swords, County Dublin - Dunshaughlin County Meath - Kilcock, County KildareBetween its junction with M1 at Drinan and its junction with R132 at Miltonsfield via Crowscastle all in the county of Fingalandbetween its junction with R132 at Newtown in the county of Fingal and its junction with R147 at Main Street in the town of Dunshauglin in the county of Meath via Balheary Road, Watery Lane and Rathbeale Road in the town of Swords; Rathbeal, Roganstown, Tonlagee, Lispopple Cross, Killossery and Newbarn in the county of Fingal: Dun Bridge at the boundary between the county of Fingal and the county of Meath: Greenoge, Baltrasna, Ratoath and Grangend Common in the county of Meathandbetween its junction with R147 at Cooksland and its junction with R154 at Merrywell via Readsland, Knocks and Kilcooly all in the county of Meathandbetween its junction with R154 at Augherskea in the county of Meath and its junction with R148 at The Square in the town of Kilcock in the county of Kildare via Mullagh and Calgath in the county of Meath: and County Meath Bridge at the boundary between the county of Meath and the county of Kildareandbetween its junction with R148 at Harbour Street in the town of Kilcock and its junction with R407 at Duncreevan in the county of Kildare via Canal Bridge and Molly Ware Street at Kilcock in the county of Kildare.The route is 39 km long.

R152 road (Ireland)

The R152 road is a regional road in Ireland, linking the N2 in County Meath to Drogheda in County Louth via the town of Duleek.

The route is 19 km (12 mi) long.

R155 road (Ireland)

The R155 road is a regional road in Ireland, linking the R147 to the N2 in County Meath via the town of Ratoath, where it crosses the R125. It passes the main entrance to Fairyhouse Racecourse near the town.

The route is 14 km long.

R156 road (Ireland)

The R156 road is a regional road in Ireland, linking Dunboyne in County Meath to the N4 (near Mullingar) in County Westmeath. The road is single carriageway throughout. Many parts of the route have dangerous bends.

R157 road (Ireland)

The R157 is a Regional road between Dunboyne and Maynooth in Ireland. It connects to the M3 motorway (Blanchardstown to Kells). This route runs in Counties Kildare and Meath.

R158 road (Ireland)

The R158 road is a regional road in Ireland, linking Trim in County Meath to Kilcock in County Kildare. The road, which is single-carriageway throughout, has been extensively realigned in recent years at a cost of €22m, the section between Kilcock and Summerhill having been completed by Fallon Construction in August 2008.

R160 road (Ireland)

The R160 road is a regional road in Ireland, located in County Meath and County Kildare.

R162 road (Ireland)

The R162 road is a regional road in Ireland, linking Monaghan Town to Navan, County Meath. The route is 80 km (50 mi) long.

R164 road (Ireland)

The R164 road is a regional road in Ireland, linking Kingscourt in County Cavan to the N51 near Athboy, County Meath.

R191 road (Ireland)

The R191 road is a regional road in Ireland, located in County Cavan and County Meath.

R194 road (Ireland)

The R194 road is a regional road in Ireland linking Longford in County Longford to Virginia in County Cavan to Moynalty in County Meath.

The road is 67 km (42 mi) long.

R195 road (Ireland)

The R195 road is a regional road in Ireland linking Castlepollard in County Westmeath to Virginia in County Cavan. It passes through the town of Oldcastle, County Meath and several villages and hamlets en route.

The road is 26 km (16 mi) long.

River Boyne

The River Boyne (Irish: An Bhóinn or Abhainn na Bóinne) is a river in Leinster, Ireland, the course of which is about 112 kilometres (70 mi) long. It rises at Trinity Well, Newberry Hall, near Carbury, County Kildare, and flows towards the Northeast through County Meath to reach the Irish Sea between Mornington, County Meath, and Baltray, County Louth.

Salmon and trout can be caught in the river, which is surrounded by the Boyne Valley. It is crossed just west of Drogheda by the Boyne River Bridge, which carries the M1 motorway, and by the Boyne Viaduct, which carries the Dublin-Belfast railway line to the east. The catchment area of the River Boyne is 2,695 km2.

The long term average flow rate of the River Boyne is 38.8 cubic metres (50.7 cu yd) per second.Despite its short course, the Boyne has historical, archaeological and mythical connotations. The Battle of the Boyne, a major battle in Irish history, took place along the Boyne near Drogheda in 1690 during the Williamite war in Ireland. It passes through the ancient town of Trim, Trim Castle, the Hill of Tara (the ancient capital of the High King of Ireland), Navan, the Hill of Slane, Brú na Bóinne (a complex of megalithic monuments), Mellifont Abbey, and the medieval town of Drogheda. In the Boyne Valley can also be found other historical and archaeological monuments, including Loughcrew, Kells, Celtic crosses, and castles.

This river has been known since ancient times. The Greek geographer Ptolemy drew a map of Ireland in the 2nd century which included the Boyne, which he called Βουουινδα (Bouwinda) or Βουβινδα (Boubinda). During the High Middle Ages, Giraldus Cambrensis called it the Boandus. In Irish mythology it is said that the river was created by the goddess Boann ('queen' or 'goddess'), according to F. Dinneen, lexicographer of the Irish Gaelic language, and Boyne is an anglicised form of the name. In other legends, it was in this river where Fionn mac Cumhail captured Fiontán, the Salmon of Knowledge. The Meath section of the Boyne was also known as Smior Fionn Feidhlimthe (the 'marrow of Fionn Feilim').

Trim, County Meath

Trim (Irish: Baile Átha Troim, meaning "town at the ford of elderflowers") is a town in County Meath, Ireland. It is situated on the River Boyne and has a population of 9,194. The town is noted for Trim Castle - the largest Cambro-Norman castle in Ireland. One of the two cathedrals of the United Dioceses of Meath and Kildare — St Patrick's cathedral — is located north of the river. Trim won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 1972, 1984, and 2014 and was the "joint" winner with Ballyconnell in 1974. Traditionally Trim was the county town of Meath, but this title was passed on over time onto larger, neighbouring town Navan

Trim Castle

Trim Castle (Irish: Caisleán Bhaile Atha Troim) is a Norman castle on the south bank of the River Boyne in Trim, County Meath, Ireland. With an area of 30,000 m², it is the largest Norman castle in Ireland. Over a period of 30 years, it was built by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter as the caput of the Lordship of Meath.

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