On your Ireland tours you may pass through Drogheda…and near this town is a true hidden gem.
Downstream from Droghedas docks , the viaduct carrying trains on the Dublin – Belfast line spans a 200 foot deep gorge.
Continuing East for a mile or so along the Baltray Road will bring you to this impressive feat of 19th century engineering by Sir John MacNeill.
Beyond the viaduct you reach some pleasant woodland …… Part of this belongs to Beaulieu House , a private domain that claims to have been Ireland’s first unfortified mansion , built between 1660 and 1666 after Cromwell’s departure , when the land was confiscated from the family of Oliver Plunkett and given to Sir Henry Tichbourne , whose descendants reside there today.
The house has a hipped roof in the artisan style and an almost perfectly preserved interior. Most rewarding of all is a fabulous picture gallery , with a collection ranging from contemporary portraits of William and Mary on tall canvases by the court painter Van Der Wyck to an intense collection of early 20th century Irish art. The exquisitely designed walled garden , thought to be one of the first of its kind in Ireland , is well worth visiting in its own right.