Despite its short course, the Boyne has historical, archaeological and mythical connotations. It passes near the ancient city of Trim, Trim Castle, the Hill of Tara (the ancient capital of the kings of Ireland), Navan, the Hill of Slane, Brú na Bhóine (an archaeological site), Mellifont Abbey, and the mediaeval city of Drogheda. In the Boyne Valley can also be found other historical and archaeological monuments, like Loughcrew, Kells, Celtic crosses, castles, and more. Near the banks of the Boyne took place the Battle of the River Boyne in 1690.
This river was known since ancient times, and according to some authors, the geographer Ptolemy of Egypt draw a map of Ireland in the 2nd. Century including the Boyne, which he called Bovinda, and somewhat later Giradus of Wales called it Boandus. Referring to legendary stories, it was in this river where Fionn mac Cumhail captured Fiontán, the Salmon of Knowledge. It was also said that the river was named after the goddess Bóinn or Boann ('queen' or 'goddess'), according to F. Dinneen, lexicographer of the Irish Gaelic language, and Boyne is an anglicised form of the name.