Navan is the county town of County Meath, 56 km northwest of Dublin.
Navan in Irish is An Uaimh, "the cave". This isn't cave country so it probably refers to a prehistoric souterrain - no-one knows where, but the area has many ancient remains. In 1848 there were reports of a souterrain found during construction of the railway viaduct, but it hasn't been re-discovered and was probably obliterated by the construction.
The town retained its medieval street pattern until the shopping centre was plonked in the middle, and it's now a modern place, part of the Dublin commuter belt, with limited sights or amusements. But as the county town it's the seat of local government and the area transport hub, so you might find yourself here on business or changing buses. In 2016 Navan had a population of 30,173, so it's among the dozen largest towns in Ireland. Famous people from Navan include Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857) who devised the Beaufort wind scale, the actor Pierce Brosnan (b 1953), and the comedian Dylan Moran (b 1971).
Bus Éireann runs frequently from Dublin:
- - 109 from Dublin Busáras via Drumshaughlin to Navan (one hour) and Kells, hourly daily 07:00-23:30. At night use the 109A.
- - 109A from Dublin Airport via Ashbourne, Ratoath and Dunshaughlin to Navan and Kells. It runs hourly 24 hours, and 00:30-05:30 it starts from city centre.
- - 109X from Dublin Busáras via Glasnevin to Navan, continuing to Kells, Carnaross, Virginia and Cavan Town. It runs hourly, daily.
- - NX from Dublin Beresford Place and other city stops to Blanchardstown and Navan, every 20-30 min daily from 05:00 to 23:30.
Bus 107 runs four times a day from Kingscourt, taking 45 min.
There isn't a town bus station, but the buses from Dublin stop at Market Square.
By road from Dublin follow M3 and reckon an hour.
Navan lost its railway service in 1963 but the line remained in use for freight and the track is still there. There's clamour to re-instate trains to this large commuter town, and in 2010 the line from Dublin reopened as far as M3 Parkway near Dunboyne, 30 km south. But there's no onward public transport from there, and progress has stalled on extension to Navan.
The sights around town are within hiking distance, but you need wheels to reach Hill of Tara or Brú na Bóinne.
Three buses orbit town starting from the shopping centre: 110A to Blackcastle Estate and Clonmagadden Fort and back, 110B to the hospital and Commons Road and back, and 110C to Johnstown Wood and Bailis Downs and back. They're normally every hour or two but are all suspended in early 2021.
- Navan town centre is modern. St Mary's RC Church south on Fair Green is an Italianate building opened in 1839.
- 1 Athlumney Castle is the ramshackle ruin of a 15th century tower house, with a Tudor fortified house tacked on circa 1600.
- 2 Donaghmore along the road to Slane has a 26.6 m Round Tower in the church graveyard.
- 3 Dunmoe Castle on the north riverbank is a 15th century keep, wrecked during the 1798 rebellion. There's an old chapel and graveyard nearby. Don't waste any time searching for C.J.'s Castles just north - they supply bouncy castles - but just think how different Irish history might have been.
- 4 Ardmulchan faces Dunmoe across the river. The church is a teetering ruined tower but there are nice views from the old graveyard. Ardmulchan House is a Scottish Baronial pile, a private residence, no tours. Downstream near Broadboyne Bridge is a passage tomb from circa 3000 BC.
- 5 Liscartan Castle along R147 the old road to Kells is another tower house, or perhaps a conjoined pair.
- 6 Hill of Tara: see Trim for this prehistoric and early medieval site.
- Navan Fort: sorry no, that's near Armagh. It's a prehistoric religious structure rather than a fort.
- What's on? Tune into LMFM on 95.5 / 95.8 FM or read Meath Chronicle weekly.
- Arc Cinema is within the main shopping centre.
- Solstice Arts Centre hosts exhibitions and events. It's on Railway St.
- Riverside walk: a footpath follows the south bank of the Boyne to Slane and beyond.
- Gaelic games: Meath GAA play Gaelic football and hurling at Páirc Tailteann, capacity 17,000. It's by the hospital 500 m south of town centre.
- 1 is at Proudstown on R162 three km north of town. They have a couple of flat-racing meetings in summer but mostly stage National Hunt jumps and chases Nov to Feb.
- 2 Royal Tara Golf Course is south near Hill of Tara. It's a parkland course of three nines, the main 18-hole circuit being the Cluide and Tara nines.
- Navan Shopping Centre is a large modern retail mall in the middle of town.
- Clustered in town centre are The Foundry, Bermingham's, Curry's, Clem's Lounge, The Royal, Forty-one and The Lantern.
- 1 Newgrange Hotel, Bridge St, Navan C15 A6WV, ☏ . Reliable mid-range place in town centre. B&B double €130.
- Athlumney Manor is a B&B on Kentstown Rd, 1 km east of town centre.
- 2 Ardboyne Hotel, Dublin Rd, Navan C15 C9YA, ☏ . Spacious clean hotel south edge of town. B&B double €80.
- Killyon Guest House is on Dublin Rd opposite Ardboyne Hotel.
As of April 2021, Navan has 5G from Eir and 4G from Three and Vodafone.
- Brú Na Bóinne Archaeological Park and the site of the Battle of the Boyne lie east between Slane and Drogheda.
- Drogheda is an interesting historic city in its own right.
- Trim has the best medieval castle in Ireland.
- Kells has remains of the abbey that for 800 years housed the Book of Kells.
- Glenelg if you're collecting palindromic destinations, though of course you'd have to return to Navan for the itinerary to qualify. Maybe that's what Roger Casement was trying to achieve when he set out on the bus, and returned to Ireland by sub.