It depends on your priorities. Newgrange (ancient burial site - www.newgrange.com) is a short drive off the M1 near Drogheda.
The Cooley peninsula and the town of Carlingford (www.carlingford.ie) is a pleasant scenic diversion just north of Dundalk. it would add about 25 miles to the trip north.
Further north, the Mourne Mountains to the east of Newry (www.discovernorthernireland.com/mournes) are also very scenic, but could add a further 25-40 miles to the journey depending on route taken.Edited: 23 May 2012, 06:54
Thank you Domhnall. We are planning on doing Newgrange on our last day (at the end of our circle we're spending the night in Ardee).
I'll check out the other suggestions!
If you are just looking for a quick coffee stop the motorway services just south of Dundalk or the outlet north of Newry are fine. If you want to see some sights along the way there is Monasterboice just off the motorway north of Drogheda but I don't know if there are any facilities there, even if you don't stop there you look out for the round tower on the left hand side as you come up the hill out out of Drogheda. If you are looking for a nice lunch you could call into the town of Dundalk where the newly revamped town square is looking very well. You could also take a detour via Carlingford which is beautiful but this would add and hour or so onto your journey.
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