All posts by irishtourist

Druid Chair


In the town land of Ballybrack (An Baile Breac) to the south east of Dublin city, is a well preserved portal tomb, located 100m north of the Loughlinstown River and 1km east of Dublin Bay and the Irish Sea. It is sited on a small green in the middle of a modern housing estate; 20m from a busy road and in the local area is known as “Cromlech Fields” and is marked on the OSI map as “Dolmen” and on the historic map as “Cromlech”. During construction of the houses, a small scale excavation was undertaken to determine the extent of the site but no artifacts were uncovered. Its huge capstone has an estimated weight of 40 metric tons and has an almost polished underside. The tomb entrance faces east, with the pair of portal stones measuring between 1.55m and 1.4m in height and the impressive capstone measures 2.2m in length, 2.05m in width and 1.2m in depth. There is no door stone remaining and the
back of the capstone rests directly on the ground surface.

Giant’s Causeway

giants-causeway

The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It is also known as Clochán an Aifir or Clochán na bhFomhórach in Irish and tha Giant’s Causey in Ulster-Scots.

It is located in County Antrim on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles (4.8 km) northeast of the town of Bushmills. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and a national nature reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant’s Causeway was named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven or eight sides. The tallest are about 12 metres (39 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres (92 ft) thick in places.

Much of the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site is today owned and managed by the National Trust and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. The remainder of the site is owned by the Crown Estate and a number of private landowners.

Dream Island For Sale

Dornish Island

This 19-acre island is located in Clew Bay, Co Mayo and offers stunning views.

One of its former owners is legendary singer John Lennon, who purchased it in 1967.

His wife Yoko Ono sold it after the Beatles man’s tragic death to its current owners.

The island also homed marine pilots in the 1880s, who used to guide ships into Westport harbour.

Dream Castle for Sale

Glin Castle

Glin Castle is a romantic castellated mansion enjoying a glorious setting within some 380 acres of mature parkland and benefiting from being superbly positioned overlooking the Shannon estuary, on the periphery of attractive Glin village and less than 1 hour’s drive of Limerick city centre and Shannon International airport.

This is one of Ireland’s most historic properties Glin Castle has been in the FitzGerald family, hereditary Knights of Glin, for over 700 years. The romantic and fairytale title of the Knight of Glin dates back to the early 13th Century. The title is an anomaly, akin to Irish chieftainships, and illustrates the Gaelicization of a powerful Norman family. In spite of the usual series of massacres, attainders, and confiscations, the Knights of the Glen, or Valley, have somehow managed to retain their lands at Glin for over seven centuries.

Glencolmcille Folk Village Museum

Glencolmcille Folk Village Museum
Glencolmcille Folk Village Museum
Glencolmcille is a coastal district in the southwest Gaeltacht of County Donegal. While Gleann Cholm Cille is still an Irish-speaking community, English has been steadily replacing Irish as the main language, with only 34% of the people speaking Irish on a daily basis in 2002. Cashel is the main village in the district.

The name translates into English as “valley of Colm Cille”. Saint Colm Cille, or Columba, is one of Ireland’s three patron saints (along with Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid). Colm Cille and his followers lived in the valley for a time and the ruins of several of their churches can still be seen there.

This thatched-roof replica of a rural village in Ireland’s most north westerly county offers a glimpse into daily life as it was during past centuries.

The Folk Village Museum is a cluster of several small cottages, called a ‘clachan’, perched on a hillside overlooking the sandy curve of Glen Bay Beach in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) of South West Donegal. Designed, built and maintained by the local people, the Folk Village is one of Ireland’s best living-history museums.

Fort Dunree

Fort Dunree
Fort Dunree
Fort Dunree located on the west side of the Inishowen peninsula, is a Napoleonic period fort built by the Royal Navy. The fort is located on a rocky promontory accessed over a natural fissure. It was remodelled in 1895 to have 2 x 4.7 inch (119 mm) QF guns below, and later 12 pounder (5 kg) QF and 2 x 6 inch (152 mm) guns in a battery above. The top of a hill overlooking the site was walled in to form a redoubt.

The guns at the Fort were manned by the Irish Army until decommissioned following World War II.

The fort is now a military museum with detailed exhibitions, many restored guns such as BL 6 inch Mk VII naval gun and an old military camp. There are also displays about the area birds, marine life and coastal vegetation.

Other facilities include a gift shop, auditorium, café and trail walks.

King John’s Castle

King John's Castle
King John’s Castle
King John’s Castle is a 13th-century castle located on King’s Island in Limerick, Ireland, next to the River Shannon. Although the site dates back to 922 when the Vikings lived on the Island, the castle itself was built on the orders of King John in 1200. One of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe, the walls, towers and fortifications remain today and are visitor attractions. The remains of a Viking settlement were uncovered during archaeological excavations at the site in 1900.
The walls of the castle were severely damaged in the 1642 Siege of Limerick, the first of five sieges of the city in the 17th century. In 1642, the castle was occupied by Protestants fleeing the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and was besieged by an Irish Confederate force under Garret Barry. Barry had no siege artillery so he undermined the walls of King John’s Castle by digging away their foundations. Those inside surrendered just before Barry collapsed the walls. However, such was the damage done to the wall’s foundations that a section of them had to be pulled down afterward.

Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle is a medieval castle that has been expanded over the centuries and turned into a five star luxury hotel near Cong on the Mayo-Galway border, on the shore of Lough Corrib in Ireland. It is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World organisation and was previously owned by the Guinness family.

A castle was built on this Monastic site in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman House of Burke.

After more than three-and-a-half centuries under the de Burgos, whose surname became Burke or Bourke, Ashford passed into the hands of a new master, following a fierce battle between the forces of the de Burgos and those of the English official Sir Richard Bingham, Lord President of Connaught, when a truce was agreed. In 1589, the castle fell to Bingham, who added a fortified enclave within its precincts.

Dominick Browne, of the Browne Family (Baron Oranmore) received the estate in a Royal Grant in either 1670 or 1678.[2] In 1715, the estate of Ashford was established by the Browne family and a hunting lodge in the style of a 17th-century French chateau was constructed. The double-headed eagles still visible on the roof represent the coat of arms of the Brownes.

In the late 18th-century a branch of the family inhabited the castle. In the early 19th-century, one Thomas Elwood was agent for the Brownes at Ashford and was recorded as living there in 1814.

Donegal Castle

Donegal Castle
Donegal Castle
Donegal Castle is a castle situated in the centre of Donegal town, County Donegal. For most of the last two centuries, the majority of the buildings lay in ruins but the castle was almost fully restored in the late 1990s.

The castle consists of a 15th-century rectangular keep with a later Jacobean style wing. The complex is sited on a bend in the River Eske, near the mouth of Donegal Bay, and is surrounded by a 17th-century boundary wall. There is a small gatehouse at its entrance mirroring the design of the keep. Most of the stonework was constructed from locally sourced limestone with some sandstone. The castle was the stronghold of the O’Donnell clan, Lords of Tír Conaill and one of the most powerful Gaelic families in Ireland from the 5th to the 16th centuries.

Donegal (Irish, Dún na nGall), translates as Fort of the Foreigner possibly coming from a Viking fortress in the area destroyed in 1159. However, due to hundreds of years of development, no archaeological evidence of this early fortress has been found. The elder Sir Hugh O’Donnell, wealthy chief of the O’Donnell clan, built the castle in 1474. At the same time, he and his wife Nuala, built a Franciscan monastery further down the river. A local legend[citation needed] tells of a tunnel connecting the two but no evidence for this has been found. The castle was regarded as one of the finest Gaelic castles in Ireland. This was indicated by a report by the visiting English Viceroy, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Sir Henry Sidney, in 1566, in a letter to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, the Lord High Treasurer, describing it as “the largest and strongest fortress in all Ireland”, adding:

“it is the greatest I ever saw in an Irishman’s hands: and would appear to be in good keeping; one of the fairest situated in good soil and so nigh a portable water a boat of ten tonnes could come within ten yards of it”

In 1607, after the Nine Years war the leaders of the O’Donnell clan left Ireland in the Flight of the Earls. In 1611 the castle and its lands were granted to an English Captain, Basil Brooke. The keep had been severely damaged by the departing O’Donnells to prevent the castle being used against the Gaelic clans but was quickly restored by its new owners. Brooke also added windows, a gable and a large manor-house wing to the keep, all in the Jacobean style. The Brooke family owned the castle for many generations until it fell into a ruinous state in the 18th century. In 1898 the then owner, the Earl of Arran, donated the castle to the Office of Public Works.

Doagh Famine Village

Doagh Famine Village
Doagh Famine Village
Illustrating how families and communities have survived in Ireland from the ever changing times since the famine to the present days economic difficulties.

Not just about the harsh times experienced by different generations but of the resilience and adaptability of people to overcome these which give a sense of hope.

The Famine Village tells the story of a family and community living on the edge and surviving, from the Famine of the 1840s to the present time.

Remoteness, isolation and reliance on small plots of land made this a harsh place to live.

Yet the same families have lived here for generations.

Learn how these people adapted and survived.

In brief, the Famine Village is an outdoor museum that tells the story of life in the area from the Famine back in the 1840s, through the 1900s to the present day.

Different to any other tourist attraction in Ireland the Famine Village depicts life in Ireland as it was, uncommercialised, interdenominational interspersed with humorous anectdotes of Irish life.

The tour last approximately 45 minutes.

The last guided tour starts at 4.30pm however entry is available up until the visitors centre closes at 5.30pm.