Ten Truly Great Things About Living in Kells, Co. Meath

1. Kells has a rich and vibrant history to rival any in Ireland, and indeed the world, and has been a living, breathing and inhabited town for thousands of years. Living in Kells, one walks the routes stepped by High Kings, Queens, saints, monks, Norman Lords.

Kells attracted:

  • Queen Maeve to camp here awhile
  • High King Cormac mac Airt to move from Tara to Kells
  • Colmcille to accept the grant of the Hill of Kells for his monastery, and his monks return here from Iona a few hundred years later
  • Hugh de Lacy to build his dwelling castle in Kells
  • the Taylour family to purchase Kells in 1706
  • Maureen O’Hara’s father to build his blacksmith’s forge here

On a sunny day in the mid-afternoon sitting on the monastic site or on the Cnocan in Tailteann, home of the pre-Olympic Games of Ireland, one can nearly hear the whisper of the past as one sweeps a glance across these ancient landscapes.  Close by are the 14th century flour mill, Martry Mill, and one can still see the indentation of Queen Maeve’s road at the back of Teltown House.

Take a memorable tour around the area with Ancient East Boyne Tours.


2. Kells has the wonderful Small Town Effect with a population of 5,000 in the town and in the region of 20,000 in the district. It’s small enough to know or recognise people, and big enough that you don’t know everyone! It’s lovely to be embraced by nature within minutes of leaving the heart of the town.

photo: John Moore


3. Kells is only a short drive to Dublin with the new M3 motorway. If one takes the bizarre notion of visiting our nation’s capital, one can be about one’s business and back to Green Sanity within an hour!  And it is a short distance to travel for tourists wishing to visit.

4. Kells is in the right place at the right time. Fortunately the Celtic Tiger didn’t ruin the integrity of the town and it is an outdoor museum for the Culturally Curious or the Great Escapers, categories of tourists that Fáilte Ireland has identified that will love what we have.  With the new Boyne Valley branding, “the birthplace of Ireland’s Ancient East”, we are bound to see more and more people visiting to capture the magic of Kells.

5. Kells has a great community spirit. There are many groups doing different things all for the love of it, be it history, heritage, theatre, culture or sports.

Many groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Hay Festival Committee, the Kells Local Heroes, the TypeTrail, the Kells & District Tourism Network, Kells Arts Club, the Save the Cross Committee, Kells Archaeological & Historical Society and many, many more, have worked hard to push for the recognition of Kells in its own right as an important and historically rich town and a cultural centre.

The Kells Silver Band – the oldest brass band in Meath – play at different events but have notably maintained a tradition for 170 years of playing at Colmcille’s Well on the Feast Day of Colmcille.

The Kells Musical & Dramatic Society have provided top class entertainment for the town for over 40 years, with a wealth of local talent.

There are many more groups not mentioned here but needless to say the town of Kells would not be such a vibrant place without them.


6. Kells has a wonderful array of sporting resources – from the two 18-hole courses at Headfort Golf Club (in the top 10 of the best golf courses in Ireland).

There are magnificent fishing facilities in the Blackwater River and other areas managed by the Kells Anglers Association since 1893.

Here you will find many clubs, including rugby, soccer, football, hurling, handball, tennis, pitch & putt, golf, swimming, karate and tennis.

Out of Kells have come international golfer Damien McGrane, and the Kells Handball Club won medals at the World Handball Championships in Calgary, Canada, in 2015, with Gary McConnell winning the A title and Christy McGovern taking gold in the Golden Masters Doubles, with Dunshaughlin native Egin Jensen. Michael Sheridan won silver with Tyrone’s Mark McCartan, in the Masters Doubles event.

For those with an equestrian streak, there are great riding resources with the Kells Equestrian Club, the Carlanstown Cross Country Schooling Course, and the popular Meath Hunt has several meets in the general area of Kells, including the traditional Boxing Day meet in the town.

7. Kells has an enviable pedigree – it is on the Tentative List with UNESCO to become a World Heritage Site, based on its early Christian importance on a European wide scale, and within its bounds stands Headfort House, now a private school, but which hosts the only remaining Robert Adam interiors in Ireland. Restoration of the Eating Parlour was undertaken with support from the Irish Georgian Society and the World Monument Fund.

Kells also boasts Ireland’s, and possibly the world’s only inland lighthouse, the 18th century Spire of Lloyd.


8. Looking to locate or relocate your business? You could do no better than Kells – an outstanding location for business.

With the new M3, Kells is easily accessible from all parts of the country, and is an hour’s drive from Dublin Airport / City Centre.  Kells has a state of the art Business Park with super fast broadband and a newly laid Bord Gais pipeline, as well as a young and educated population. On the Business Park is also the Kells Enterprise & Technology Centre.

Through the Connect Ireland programme, we have seen international businesses elect to move to Kells and enjoy the facilities here.

Kells Business Park & Enterprise Centre. Notice the ring forts in the landscape.

With good schools, extra-curricular activities to get involved in, award winning restaurants, a new primary health care centre, spa rooms, farmers markets and a great shopping centre, it also offers a high quality of life for individuals and families.


9. Kells is a Festival Town! We are gearing up with great anticipation for:

  • the Kells Road Races (back in action in 2018) – one of Ireland’s biggest biker attractions, pulling in fans by the tens of thousands.

  • the Hinterland Festival (June 22 – 25) – formerly the Hay Literary Festival, which changes the brand of the 5th annual summer literature festival in Kells, County Meath to extend its reach to include artists and writers from the regions and the hinterlands.
  • the Guth Gafa Documentary Film Festival (meaning ‘captive voice’)  ( 4-7 August ), celebrating its 11th year and bringing not just the best documentary films in the world, but the award-winning directors who make them, to a rural Irish audience.

10.     Kells is a Foodie Town!  With the award winning restaurant the Vanilla Pod, and Therese’s Café (both in the Headfort Arms Hotel, itself a winner and runner up of the Winner of The National Hotel & Catering Gold Medal Award for several years running, and recently listed as a ‘New Entry’ on the coveted McKenna Guides 100 Best Places to Stay in), and The Bective, and not forgetting The Forge, one is spoilt for choice for good food.

Most restaurants serve local produce, and you can relax and enjoy “place on a plate” in eateries such as the BOOKMARKet Cafe, the Butterfly Garden Café, Bits’n’Bites Café, Stackd, the Round Tower and more!

The Bective Restaurant is one of the best places to eat fish in Ireland.

Relax on a Saturday and take a wander to a farmer’s market such as Sheridan’s Cheesemongers and shop for fresh produce, have coffee and enjoy the good life.

Award-winning craft butcher Thomas Doherty in Kells is a must-visit for his prizewinning sausages and black and white puddings that are served in Dublin’s five-star Merrion and Marker hotels. His pork and leek sausages have been crowned supreme champions by the Craft Butchers of Ireland.

Kells is a great location for “From Farm to Fork” with local farms such as Jim Ryan’s family run business producing beef, lamb and port, Hogans, famous for its turkey farm, and Maperath Farm, producing turkey and geese.

Check out the Boyne Valley Food Series for foodie events in the Kells area.

Whether you are coming for a day, a week, a month or a year – you are welcome to Kells in our ancient tradition of hospitality!

For more information, email us at hello@ancienteastboynetours.com



12 thoughts on “Ten Truly Great Things About Living in Kells, Co. Meath

  1. What aboyr Kells Musical and Dranatic Society who for over 40 years now are provuding top class entertainment with musicals plays pantomimes and variety shows. With a wealtb of very talanted adults and teens not to mention training over 100 chuldren fkr the stage and helping at every event in kells providing costumes props sound etc. I think we deserve a mention.

    1. John,

      Well pointed out and amended!

      ‘Twas an early morning post and amended a couple of things since!

      Kind regards,

  2. Hi Lucy, what a lovely post! It’s sure to attract new visitors to Kells, well done!

    Btw I would really love to book a tour round Teltown… when is the next one?

    1. Ali- you can tour Teltown whenever you want – just give me a bell!! or drop me an email.

      1. How do I contact you, Lucy? There doesn’t seem to be contact information on the blog, or else I’m missing it! 😁

    1. Kells is a lovely town it has not changed I left kells 1960 it is still a great town. I love to come home every year as all my family live there .

  3. Doesn’t this all sound fab and it is fab, all true, so, why cant the most important town in historic religious events in the world, ” we were thought this in art history”, so close to the capital even before the M3 motorway, why, why cant we cash in on this.

    All the outdoor beauty, history, monuments, talent, folklore, trails and walks, music, bands, both brass and rock, drama, poets, artists, actors, story tellers, writers, comedians and just plain old everyday good carectors. No matter if you are a stranger you will always be invited into a true Kells persons home for “a Sup a Tae” , (probably not the new Dublin Imagents thow.)

    And then there’s the sport. Kells has an excellent football, hurling club, a great Soccar club, Tennis club, probably one of the best swimming clubs in the country and a world wide famous Handball club with the best Handballers in the world coming from Kells. Plus the Shooting Club the Angling club, the Gardening and Vegatable Allotments and the Meath Hunt Horse and Hound club in Kells, which leads me to this…

    How we havnt hat a major Game Fair in Kells just feckin amazes me. With Headfort House on our doorstep, the river for the fishing and gundog scurries, the woods for clay shooting, and the grounds for all the other parifinalia of a game fare. We are sitting on a goldmine here but we just cant seem to find how to tap into it. We are rich in every way a town could hope for, but ye know what we’re all guilty of not letting it happen even me who’s venting my anger right now, you know a great man once said never a truer thing, ” no one made a greater mistake, than he who done nothing because he could only do a little” And ye know what it will probably be an outsider who will make this work and more power to ’em, coz we cant seem to. Peace and best wishes, Niall Mc Govern, Kells born and raired!

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