43 Monuments to explore in Ireland
A country in the north-western Europe. Ireland, or Republic of Ireland shares its only border with Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. It is surrounded by the ocean in all it's other sides. About 40% of the countries 5 million population lives in the greater city area of Dublin.
Grianán of Aileach is probably the best known monument in Inishowen, County Donegal. Situated on a hilltop 250m above sea level the view from the stone fort of Aileach is breathtaking. The main structure is a stone ringfort, thought to have been built by the Northern Uí Néill, in the sixth or seventh century CE; although there is evidence that the site had been in use before the fort was built. It has been identified as the seat of the Kingdom of Ailech.
Grianán of Aileach is probably the best known monument in Inishowen, County Donegal. Situated on a hilltop 250m above sea level the view from the stone fort of Aileach is breathtaking. Although the hill is comparatively not that high, the summit dominates the neighbouring counties of Derry, Donegal and Tyrone. Located at the edge of the Inishowen peninsula.
This was once the ancient seat of power in Ireland – 142 kings are said to have reigned there in prehistoric and historic times. As Christianity achieved dominance over the following centuries, Tara’s importance became symbolic. Its halls and palaces have now disappeared and only earthworks remain. Tara forms part of a larger ancient landscape and Tara itself is a protected national monument under the care of the Office of Public Works, an agency of the Irish Government.
The Kilclooney Dolmen is a portal-tome or dolmen, prominent on the skyline north-north-west of Ardara. It well displays the classic features from which this type of monument derives its name. The monument comprises a huge capstone approximately four by six meters, supported by two 1.8 meter uprights, known as portals and a back stone on which the capstone rests. A notable feature of the back stone is the chocking stone.
Killone is a National Monument situated in a secluded and picturesque valley on the shore of Killone Lake, near Ennis Co. Clare. The ruins of the abbey, accessible through land used for grazing cattle, are located in the grounds of Newhall House, and include substantial remains of the abbey church together with a crypt.
This is one of the largest and finest stone forts in Ireland and was probably built in the early centuries AD before Christianity came. Approximately 29 metres in diameter the fort has thick walls some 3 metres wide and standing almost 2 metres high. Access to the fort is through a narrow entrance on the north eastern side of the walls. The site is owned by the Irish Government which has declared it a national monument.
Lackeen Castle, built in the 12th century is a fine example of an Irish tower house. Standing in a bawn, four stories high and featuring fine fireplaces.Standing in a bawn, four stories high and featuring fine fireplaces. A straight stair runs up to the first floor and a spiral staircase runs to higher levels, the third storey is vaulted. It is one of the iconic attraction in this area and attracts a lot of tourists.
Leac an Scail, is one of the tallest and most spectacular examples of a portal dolmen in Ireland, it is located near Knocktopher in County Kilkenny. It has been constructed using a large capstone resting on two large portal stones and a pillow stone resting on a backstone. It is now a visitor attraction and there are so many tourists arriving day by day.
The dolmen at Legananny is probably the most famous and certainly the most photographed megalithic monument in Northern Ireland. This tripod dolmen has a capstone over 3m long and 1.8m from the ground. It dates to the Neolithic period, making the monument approximately 5,000 years old. Such portal tombs were funerary sites for the disposal of the dead in Neolithic society. It is a State Care Historic Monument sited in the townland of Legananny, in Banbridge District.
The Loughcrew complex is a megalithic cemetery containing around 30 passage tombs and is situated around the summit of three hills near the town of Oldcastle, Co. Meath. There are four main types of tombs, each being named after a particular and defining feature. It is one of the four main passage tomb cemeteries in Ireland and is a protected National Monument. The area is also home to the Loughcrew Estate, from which it is named.
Loughmoe Castle is a ruined castle at Loughmore Village, near Templemore in County Tipperary, Ireland. The oldest part of the castle was built in the thirteenth century, and consists of a four-storey tower-house. Additions were made by the Purcell family in the seventeenth century. The house was the seat of the Purcell and Butler families and home of the Barony of Loughmoe. The Purcells were an Anglo-Irish family who originally arrived in Ireland during the Norman invasion in the 12th century.
The Lusitania Memorial is a tribute monument located in the town centre of Cobh, Ireland. It commemorates the 1200 victims of the Lusitania, a ship torpedoed by a submarine in 1915. Now, it is a popular tourist destination, largely because it offers cruises into the edges of the Atlantic Ocean, where passengers can see whales, but also because of its growing reputation in the field of gourmet food.
The Main Guard situated on Sarsfield Street is one of Clonmel’s most recognisable landmarks. It was built at the behest of James Butler the 1st Duke of Ormonde in 1674 to provide the town with a courthouse. The previous building which had served as a courthouse had been destroyed during the Siege of Clonmel in 1650.
Mainistir Bhuithe are the remains of an early Christian monastic settlement in County Louth in Ireland, north of Drogheda. The ruins are a National monument of Ireland and also give their name to the local village. The site includes the remains of two churches built in the 14th century or later and an earlier round tower, but it is most famous for its high crosses.
This megalithic monument is all it promised to be, the wedge-shaped remains of a passage tomb. There are five orthostats on each side of the passage with three large roofstones, there are four more stones at the western end which may be part of the kerb, very little remains of a cairn. I left feeling rather pleased that the tomb was actually on this farm and with no worries about its survival.
This cairn is next to an abandoned house. The excavations of this tomb occured in 1953, and the bones of at least 15 persons were found, all sorted by bones type, all the skulls together in a stack, all the long bones in another stack and so on. But since then things have changed a lot here, and most of the tomb revealed after the excavations is now lost again under the mound. Only a dozen stones are visible, with heights around 50-60 centimetres.
The Nenagh Heritage Centre is located in two stone Georgian buildings, built in 1840-1842 as the Governor's House and Gatehouse of an extensive Gaol complex for North Tipperary, which held thousands of prisoner's until its closure in 1887. It historically housed those sentenced to death by public hanging. Between 1842 and 1858, 17 Tipperary men were executed here. After its closure, the property was taken over by the Sisters of Mercy for educational purposes.
Nendrum Monastery was a Christian monastery on Mahee Island in Strangford Lough, County Down, Northern Ireland. Medieval records say it was founded in the 5th century, but this is uncertain. The monastery came to an end at some time between 974 and 1178, but its church served a parish until the site was abandoned in the 15th century. Some remains of the monastery can still be seen.
Newgrange is a Stone Age monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland. It was built about 3,200 BC (5,200 years ago) during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The site consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and chambers. Human bones and possible grave goods or votive offerings were found in these chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front, made mostly of white quartz cobblestones.