The tiny Georgian village of Slane is located along the River Boyne. Slane Castle is its largest attraction, built during the 18th century in the vicinity of a large natural amphitheater. The estate has been the scene of numerous outdoor concerts since the year 1981, when owner Lord Henry Mountcharles held the first. In that first Slane concert, U2 performed as a backup band.
Other recognizable artists who have performed at Slane Castle over the years include David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. The largest Slane crowd ever recorded was 70,000 attendees, at an REM concert.
Slane Castle fell victim to a destructive fire, and was renovated and reopened to the public in 2001. A guided tour is available, which features the extraordinary plasterwork and stained glass windows, and a ballroom especially built for a visit from King George IV in 1821.
A man named Capability Brown, a famous local landscaper, was responsible for the beautiful grounds.
Nearby Historical Attractions
Also near Slane are several sites of religious importance, including the Hermitage, a 16th century religious structure built on the site where St. Erc, who was converted by St. Patrick, lived the life of a hermit. The ruins of the church include the tower, nave and chancel. On nearby Slane Hill, it is said that St. Patrick lit the Paschal Fire in 433, signaling the beginning of his efforts to convert the people of Ireland to Christianity. From the top of the 500-foot high hill, the entire 25-mile length of the Boyne Valley is visible in breathtaking form.
Slane Castle. Image by Hilary Gaunt