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This page describes a town near Dublin. For the town in Derbyshire, see Ashbourne.

Ashbourne is in County Meath, 22 km northwest of Dublin city centre and the airport. It's a commuter town, with a population in 2016 of 12,679. You'd probably only come to visit Emerald Park (formerly Tayto Park); or if you flew into Dublin in the evening it would provide an overnight stop before you drove on northwest. The town was originally Killeglan or Kildeglan (Cill Dhéagláin, "Déaglán's church"). The area was bought up in the 19th century by Frederick Bourne, a transport entrepreneur, who set up a coaching inn and (presumably after much cogitation) renamed the place Ashbourne. He just happened to like ash trees, it's a mercy he didn't have a thing for eucalyptus.

Ratoath 5 km west is another commuter town, with a population of 9533 in 2016.

Dunshaughlin another 8 km west is the third commuter town, with a population of 4035 in 2016, and some abbey ruins.


Logo of Tayto Park

Potatoes are a staple food in Ireland - blighted harvests in the 1840s caused mass starvation and emigration. Yet already in the early 19th century they were also a luxury item, in the form of thinly-sliced deep-fried potato crisps. In North America these are called potato chips but in Ireland and the UK that denotes a thicker fried slice, also known as French Fries. The earliest known recipe for crisps is in The Cook's Oracle by William Kitchiner in 1817. They became popular as a kitchen or restaurant delicacy but evolved in the early 20th century into a mass-produced snack food, and the global market in potato crisps is now around US $ 17 billion. In 2022 you might pay €2 per kilo for potatoes but €15 for the equivalent weight in crisps; it costs nowhere near €13 to make them.

From the 1920s a little bag of salt was included in the packet, but crisps were unflavoured until the 1950s. In 1954 Joe "Spud" Murphy founded Tayto and offered Cheese & Onion and Salt & Vinegar flavoured crisps, and other companies vied to buy rights to use his techniques. The Tayto factory was based in Coolock on the north edge of Dublin; this closed in 2005 but production continues elsewhere. (Tayto (Northern Ireland), founded in 1956, is a separate company in County Armagh making similar products under licence.) Weird flavours that have been used for crisps include octopus, hedgehog, Cajun squirrel, white chocolate with pepper and cappuccino. They also come in different formats, such as the even saddle-shape of Pringles. In 2010, Tayto capitalised on their success by opening Tayto Park, Ireland's only major theme park, near Ashbourne.

In 2015 Tayto was sold to the German food company Intersnack. The firm will cease its connection to Tayto Park in 2023, and be rebranded to Emerald Park.

Get in[edit]

Ashbourne's main street

Ashbourne is 22 km northwest of 1 Dublin Airport (DUB IATA). By road from the city follow M2 / N2.

Bus Éireann 109A runs hourly, 24 hours, from Dublin Airport to Ashbourne (30 min) and continues northwest to Ratoath, Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells. At night it starts from the city Busáras. Don't take the 109, 109B or 109X from the city - these don't come through Ashbourne.

Go Ahead Bus 197 is a slower route from the airport via Swords, running hourly and taking an hour.

Bus 103 runs every 20 min from 05:00 to 23:30 from several stops in Dublin (but not Busáras) via Glasnevin to Ashbourne and Ratoath. It normally continues to Tayto Park but this is much curtailed in early 2021. Bus 103X is an extra commuter service M-F, with three into the city early morning and back out to Ashbourne in the evening.

Bus 105 runs hourly from Drogheda (for trains from Belfast) then every 30 min from Tayto Park to Ashbourne, Ratoath, Fairyhouse Cross and Blanchardstown (for Connolly Hospital).

The buses make several stops along Ashbourne main street, there isn't a station. For route maps and stop locations see the TFI route mapper.

Get around[edit]

Map of Ashbourne (Ireland)

Use Bus 105 between Ashbourne and Tayto Park. Bus 103 usually also runs there but is infrequent in early 2021.


  • Ashbourne is modern and nondescript, straggling along R135, and its medieval remains are tucked away beneath Lidl supermarket. Church of the Immaculate Conception is the 1880s RC parish church. The Arkle memorial commemorates the famous steeplechaser of 1957-1970. Although himself a gelding, he's ended up at the Irish National Stud in County Kildare, where his skeleton is a memento mori for all the impatient stallions outside.
  • Rath Cross is a memorial to "The Battle of Ashbourne:" it's north along R135 by the retail park, junction with Ballymadun Rd. As part of the Easter Rising of 1916, the "Fingal Volunteers" stormed the town police barracks. There was a shoot-out over several hours as police and rebel reinforcements poured in. Two rebels were killed but the barracks was captured and held for a couple of days; they surrendered when the main Rising in Dublin was crushed. The local rebels were sentenced to death but this was commuted to penal servitude.
  • 1 St Seachnall's Church is all that's left of the medieval abbey at Dunshaughlin. It's on R147, with the present C of I church (built 1813) just north.


  • What's on? Tune into LMFM on 95.5 / 95.8 FM or read Meath Chronicle weekly.
  • Vue Cinema is on the retail park 1 km north of town towards the M2 junction.
  • 1 Emerald Park (formerly Tayto Park), Kilbrew A84 EA02, +353 1 835 1999. Closed ufn. Theme park and zoo previously owned by Tayto the potato crisp manufacturers. One of the rides is the Cú Chulainn Coaster, a wooden rollercoaster with a 31 m—drop and a speed of 90.1 km/h. You can also tour the crisp factory. This Tayto is not to be confused with the entirely separate Tayto based near Portadown in Northern Ireland. Adult €35, child €31. Emerald Park (Q20971849) on Wikidata Tayto Park on Wikipedia
  • 2 Fairyhouse Racecourse, Fairyhouse Rd, Ratoath A85 XK30. This hosts flat-racing May-Sept and National Hunt (jumps and chases) Oct-April. The premier event is the Irish Grand National on Easter Monday, a 5834 m race over 24 jumps. On race days a special bus runs from Dublin Busáras. Adult €10-20, free parking. Fairyhouse Racecourse (Q5431012) on Wikidata Fairyhouse Racecourse on Wikipedia
  • 3 Ashbourne Golf Club is off Milltown Rd 1.5 km southeast of town. Blue tees are 5856 m, par 71, visitor M-F €30, Sa Su €50.


St Seachnall's church
  • Tesco, Aldi and Lidl are all in Ashbourne town centre.
  • There's a retail, business and light industrial park north along R135, with Argos.



Pubs in Ashbourne town centre are Stag's Head, Molly's, Foxs Den and Kelly's Bar. Fogarty's is within Ashbourne Court Hotel.


  • Ashbourne House Hotel, Frederick St A84 XN15, +353 1 835 8400. Smart midrange place in town centre, has parking. With Loft Restaurant. B&B double €100.
  • Ashbourne Court Hotel, Bridge St A84 XP86, +353 1 835 9300. Basic hotel but clean and in a good edge-of-town location. With Fogarty's Bar. B&B double €90.
  • 1 Pillo Hotel Ashbourne, Rath A84 KR91 (2 km north of town at terminus of M2), +353 1 835 0800. Boxy modern hotel at the end of the bypass gets good reviews for comfort and service. Double (room only) €130.
  • Ninemilestone is the south end of the bypass, junction 3 of M2. B&Bs here are Baltrasna Lodge and Aisling Guesthouse.


As of March 2022, Ashbourne has 5G from Eir and 4G from Three and Vodafone; Ratoath has 5G from all Irish carriers.

Go next[edit]

  • Dublin of course is a must-see, but it's also worth exploring the coast, from Howth north through Malahide, Rush, Skerries and Balbriggan.
  • Drogheda is a historic town, and a good base for seeing the Boyne Battlefield and prehistoric Bru-na-Boinne.
  • Kells has the remains of the abbey that for centuries kept the Book of Kells, and Oldcastle has the extensive Neolithic tombs of Loughcrew Cairns.

Routes through Ashbourne
DerrySlane  N  S  merges with
merges with  N  S  Dublin

This city travel guide to Ashbourne is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.