The town grew in importance when in the 12th century, Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Trim, had walls built around the area where the town is now situated. It thus became a defensive stronghold of the Pale. It has since been the center of trade in the area.
3 miles south of the town is Dunmoe Castle which is a 16th century ruin. The good views of the surrounding countryside are impressive. Navan was the birth place of Sir Francis Beaufort who in 1805 devised the internationally accepted scale for wind strength.
A 9 mile journey to the north east of Navan is the village of Slane where a castle overlooks the village. The castle is used every year as a venue for rock concerts . Acts who have appeared include Guns'n'Roses, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Bob Dylan, and more recently Robbie Williams and The Smashing Pumpkins.