ByRoute 17.1 Co. Meath & Co. Cavan (SW)

Stackallen Bridge is the rather confusing name of a viaduct built in 1847 to carry the railway over the road in the townland of Dollardstown. (Photo –

Ardmulchan (Co. Meath / Central)

Ardmulchan / Ardmulcan (Árd Mullacháin – “the height of the hill of the little summit” / Árd Maelchon –”The Height/Hill of Mealchu”) derives its name from a Norman Motte, but features several prehistoric and early Christian archaeological sites, notably the Standing Stone re-erected on Carn Hill, the Carnuff Cairn and a passage tomb at Broadboyne Bridge.

The Battle of Ardmulchan, fought in 968 AD, saw the Dublin Viking king Amlaff Cuaran defeat the southern O’Neills.

Ardmulchan church, probably built on an ancient monastic site shortly after the nearby motte, consists of a ruined bell-tower and foundations of an undivided nave and chancel. Some say the walls once belonged to a castle built by the Tyrell family. Rather oddly dedicated to Saint Maelchon / Mealchu, a nephew of Saint Patrick’s, the church was suppressed in 1613; legend has it that, to prevent it being plundered, the church bell was thrown into a deep pool in the River Boyne called Loch Gorm (“Blue Pool”) opposite Taafes Lock, 200m north of the church. The graveyard is an exceptionally peaceful spot with fine views.

Ardmulchan House, a handsome red-brick mansion recorded by Lewis (1837) as “the seat of R. Taaffe, Esq“, and later home to several generations of the Martin family, was left abandoned for some years, but is now once again occupied and strictly private. Overlooking the derelict Boyne Navigation Canal, the mansion has great views of Dunmoe Castle across the River Boyne. (Photo byJP)

The Ramparts, a pleasant walking route between the Boyne Navigation Canal and the River Boyne, linking Athlumney at Navan with Broadboyne Bridge, taking in several scenic bridges, locks, weirs, historic buildings, meadows and wooded areas inhabited by varied wildlife, reaches its eastern end at what was until recently the demesne of the Hays / Hayes / Hayestown estate.

WWII era pillbox south of the Broadboyne Bridge spanning the River Boyne, one of approximately 40 built between the coast and Navan to defend against an expected invasion by British forces from Northern Ireland. (Photo by JP)

Ardmulchan Mill, formerly a tuck / fulling (wool / textile cleansing / thickening mill, is an atmospheric ruin overlooking the Ardmulchan / Stackallen weir on the River Boyne, damaged by flooding during the C19th and popular with canoeists / kayakers / whitewater rafters.

A video celebrating some of the beauties of Ardmulchan, accompanied by rather irritating Enya music, can be viewed here.

Ardmulchan is

The River Boyne is spanned by the C19th Broadboyne Bridge, sometimes aka the Stackallen Bridge. (Photo by JP)

Stackallen (Co. Meath / Central)

Stackallen / Stackallan is a community on the north side of the River Boyne.

Stackallan House

Stackallan House was built c.1715 for Gustavus Hamilton, (1642-1723), a noted politician and soldier who commanded a Williamite regiment at the Siege of Derry, the Battle of the Boyne and the Storming of Athlone, rose to become a Major General, fought against King Louis XIV of France and served as Vice-Admiral of Ulster. He was the third son of Sir Frederick Hamilton of Manorhamilton in County Leitrim, a Scottish immigrant who shared forebears with the Dukes of Abercorn, Earls of Arran and the Dukes of Hamilton. He was created Baron Hamilton of Stackallan in 1715 and Viscout Boyne in 1717.


His eldest son died in 1715, so the titles passed to his grandson Gustavus, who died without heir, as did his cousin Frederick, while the latter’s brother Richard, 4th Viscount Boyne, had 17 children. The 7th Viscount, daringly christened Gustavus Frederick, assumed in 1850 the additional surname of Russell (which was that of his father-in-law), and in 1866 was created Baron Brancepeth, of Brancepeth in the County of Durham, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, entitling him to a hereditary seat in the British House of Lords. The titles are still extant.

The mansion housed  St Columba’s College from its foundation in 1843 until 1849, when it moved to its present address

at Rathfarnham in County Dublin, and is currently the home of Glen Dimplex multi-millionaire Martin Naughton. (Photo –

Stackallen Lawn Tennis and Pitch & Putt Club regularly hosts prestigious competitions.

A pretty ornate C19th manual water pump stands beside the local school. (Photos here)

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