A hire car is the easiest way to make the most of your stay. From Dublin, drive along either the M1 motorway, the N2 or the N3 - they all travel north through County Meath.
The town of Navan in the heart of County Meath is just 33 miles from Dublin International Airport (www.dublinairport.com). It takes about 45 minutes from the airport to Dublin city centre with Air Coach (www.aircoach.ie); a taxi costs about €35 (www.cabhire.net).
The main coastal line between Dublin and Belfast passes 30 minutes of your time on its run through County Meath to Drogheda via Laytown (www.irishrail.ie).
Country code for Ireland: +353. Navan: (0)46.
The Complete Poems of Francis Ledwidge - the poet hailed from Slane. Or tuck into a book by an author who lived in Meath: Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegana, or Mary Lavin's The Shrine and Other Stories.
Do go / Don't Go
There are two seasons in County Meath: the Flat season and the National Hunt season. Rainfall is quite high but that creates the fish-filled rivers and the luminous green of the countryside - when the sun shines you'll realise why it's called the Emerald Isle.
Minicabs are your only option here: Navan Free Phone Cabs operates 24 hours a day and can be contacted locally on 1800 313233. Otherwise, ask your hotel to book your transport.
About 15 per cent is appreciated.
Bring your riding and fishing gear: Meath is famous for both activities, and it's claimed that steeds run faster and jump higher here. Local legend also has it that the fish in the county's rivers can talk. Blarney, no doubt.
Traditional Irish music and dance abounds; catch a formal performance or an exuberantly informal pub gig; see www.comhaltas.ie for listings. The Snail Box near Slane (www.snailbox.ie) and Brogans in Trim (+353 (0)46 943 1237) both host regular evening shows. For insights into the Celtic past, visit the Brú na Bóinne Centre (+353 (0)41 988 0300) near Donore to see the eerie megalithic tombs of Newgrange; it's very popular in summer, so go early to avoid the crowds.
Dublin's boutique shopping is hard to beat, but there are some excellent craft and artisan studios in County Meath. We particularly liked Thomas Diem Pottery in Ashbourne (+353 (0)1 835 9083) and Seamus Cassidy's woodturning studio in Navan (+353 (0)41 982 5032). If you want to sample some of the delicious local produce, Oldcastle has a farmers' market on Fridays, while Kells holds its market on Saturdays.
Also known as the Hills of the Witch, the Loughcrew cairns near Oldcastle are a series of tombs dating back at least 4,000 years. The trek up is steep, but the views from the top are breathtaking - that's if you have any breath left to take. Around the spring and autumn equinoxes, the sun illuminates the central chamber of the largest tomb.
The Hill of Slane is where St Patrick is said to have lit a holy fire to burn the snakes out of Ireland. There are the dramatic ruins of a Franciscan monastery on the hilltop and, if you can climb your way up the twisting staircase in the belltower of St Patrick's church, you'll be rewarded with one of the best views in the county.
Easter Monday The Irish Grand National is run at the Fairyhouse Racecourse in Ratoath (www.fairyhouseracecourse.ie). May The Drogheda Arts Festival brings five days of street theatre, song and dance (www.drogheda.ie/artsfest). The Tattersalls International Horse Trials sees Ireland's finest bloodstock on show (www.tattersalls.ie). July Le Chéile Festival in Oldcastle is a small yet hugely rich celebration of arts and music (www.lecheile.com). The Midlands Music Festival is a showcase for rock, pop and folk (www.midlandsmusicfestival.ie). August Slane Castle hosts the biggest live gigs in Ireland (www.slanecastle.ie); the Rolling Stones played in 2007. September The autumn equinox is marked by druidic ceremonies at ancient sites, particularly the Hill of Tara; similar events take place on the summer solstice in June.