Meath's rich soil, laid down during the last ice age, drew settlers as early as 8000 BC. They worked their way up the banks of the River Boyne, transforming the landscape from forest to farmland. One of the five provinces of ancient Ireland, Meath was at the centre of Irish politics for centuries.
Today Meath's high-yielding land and plentiful water supply make it a vital agriculture centre. Its proximity to Dublin brought about unchecked growth during the Celtic Tiger's peak, however, and the larger towns are surrounded by soulless housing estates with heavy traffic at commuter time.
For visitors, though, there are numerous must-see attractions here, including many tangible reminders of Meath's absorbing history.