County Meath has been inhabited for millennia. The first settlers arrived after the most recent Ice Age, following the River Boyne and establishing the first cultivated farmland in the region. Speaking about these early settlers is more than mere whimsy and speculation. For evidence of this, look no further than the Brú na Bóinne necropolis, which was built well over 5,000 years ago.
County Meath’s historic importance isn’t limited to Neolithic times. It’s also home to the Hill of Tara, the fabled seat of Ireland’s high kings. When St Patrick arrived preaching the gospel in the 5th century, he ultimately staged a political showdown with the King of Tara. When the king issued a royal edict banning Christianity from the kingdom, St Patrick ascended the Hill of Slane and lit a signal fire on Easter Sunday. This rallying cry continues to this day, with a fire still lit on the Hill of Slane every Easter. Construction on Trim Castle, one of the most important medieval landmarks in the county, began in the 12th century. Much of the original walls remain to this day, and they even staved off a seven-week siege in the 13th century.
Settlement of Navan began in the 19th century, when the region was still largely forested. Settler Michael O’Meara arrived in 1840 and played an instrumental role in naming Navan. The settlement’s importance was tightly linked to its proximity to Dublin, a mere 50 km away. Today, the community serves as a bedroom community for Dublin-bound commuters, and also as a shopping hub for Dubliners.