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Slane - Meath - Village

circa 1930's

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Photo Details

  • County: Meath
  • Town: Slane
  • Scene: Village
  • Date: 1910 (estimate)


  • Digitally remastered
  • 10' x 8' printed on quality photo paper, larger sizes also available
  • Also available mounted & framed, ask for details
  • Colour images can be printed in black& white if preferred.
  • Read about Slane below


Slane (Irish: Baile Shláine) is a village in County Meath, Ireland. The village stands on a steep hillside on the left bank of the River Boyne at the intersection of the N2 (Dublin to Monaghan road) and the N51 (Drogheda to Navan road). In 2006 Slane's population was 1,099, having grown from 823 in 2002. The population of the village and the surrounding rural area was 1,587 in 2006, up from 1,336 in 2002. The village centre dates from the 18th century. The village and surrounding area contains many historic sites dating back over 5,000 years.

The Village

The village center is a good example of 18th century town planning. At the center of the village stands four near identical Georgian houses. The four houses stand at the intersection of the two main streets in the village. The four houses and four streets form an octagon. This feature is known as The Square. The two main streets in the village feature 18th century gray limestone buildings with slate roofs, oriel windows and stone steps and archways.

The Hill of Slane

To the north of the village is the top of the Hill of Slane. There are a number of historic sites located around the top of the hill. Oral tradition says that St. Patrick lit a Paschal fire on this hill top in 433 CE in defiance of the High King Laoire who forbid any other fires while a festival fire was burning on the Hill of Tara. The Hill of Slane can be seen from the Hill of Tara which is about 16km away. Logaire was so impressed by Patrick’s devotion that, despite his defiance (or perhaps because of it), he let him continue his missionary work in Ireland.

It is believed that the Hill of Slane was a center of religion and learning for many centuries after St. Patrick. The ruins of a friary church and collage can be seen on the top of the hill. It is known that the friary was restored in 1512. The ruins include a 19 m high early gothic tower. The friary was abandoned in 1723.

The traditional Christian hymn Be Thou My Vision is set to an early medieval Irish folk song named Slane which is about the Hill of Slane.

On the west side of the hill there are the remains of a twelfth century Norman motte and bailey. This was the seat of the Flemings, barons of Slane. The Flemings moved to a castle on the left bank of the River Boyne. This is the current location of Slane Castle. The Flemings were lords of Slane from the twelfth century until seventeenth century when the Conyngham family replaced them as lords of Slane during the Williamite Confiscations.

Slane Castle

Slane Castle stands on the river about 1 km upstream from the center of the village. The castle grounds have been the site of large rock concerts since 1981. This concert has never been free. There is an ancient well in the grounds of the castle near the river. In Irish mythology, the well blessed by Dian Cecht so that the Tuatha Dé Danann could bathe in it and be healed.

Slane Mill

Slane Mill stands on the north bank of the River Boyne beside the N2 bridge. The mill is a five story cut stone building. When the mill was completed in 1766 it was the largest flour mill in Ireland. The water powered mill continued to be a flour mill until the 1870s when roller mills replaced grindstones. The mill was converted to scotch flax.

Slane Bridge

The N2 crosses the River Boyne south of the village. The road descends a steep hill from the village and makes an almost ninety degree turn onto the 14th century bridge. This bend has been the scene of at least 20 fatalities in living memory. As you climb the hill towards Slane village the wall on the right hand side of the road has a number of small white crosses, each representing a death on this stretch of road. Most of the crashes have involved heavy good vehicles which are not able to slow down sufficiently to make the sharp bend after picking up speed on the hill. Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority have installed a number of traffic calming measures over the years in an attempt to make the bend onto the bridge safer, however crashes still occur. It was hoped that the opening of the M1 motorway would divert a lot the heavy traffic from the village but there is evidence that many heavy goods vehicles still use the N2 (and thus Slane bridge)in order to avoid paying the toll on the M1 bridge.

Near Slane

There are many other historical sites in the area around Slane. The Brú na Bóinne complex of Neolithic chamber tombs lies on the River Boyne 5 km down river from the village. This includes Newgrange, a passage tomb built c. 3200 BCE.

Across the river from the village stand the ruins of Fennor Castle.

In the grounds of Slane Castle are the ruins of St. Erc's Hermitage. This consists of a late fifteenth or early sixteenth century chapel and an earlier dwelling.

The site of the Battle of the Boyne is 10 km down river, east, from Slane.

Slane Electoral Area

Slane is also the name of a Local Electoral Area encompassing a large area of eastern County Meath from Lobinstown to the Irish Sea. This area includes other towns which are actually larger than Slane such as Duleek, Stamullen and the portions of the environs of Drogheda which are in County Meath. The total population of Slane Electoral Area was 32,126 in 2006.

Notable Locals

  • John Boyle O'Reilly (1844-1890) Poet, publisher, and member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
  • John Cassidy (1860-1939) Artist and sculptor.
  • John Connolly (1750-1825) Second bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of New York.
  • Francis Ledwidge (1887-1917) Poet killed in action during World War I.