Prehistoric passage tombs, lively medieval towns and stunning monasteries are just some of the intriguing attractions that make up the eastern half of the Emerald Isle: Ireland’s Ancient East. So, if you fancy securing the gift of the gab or delving into authentic Irish myths and legends – visiting the east of Ireland is a must during your getaway to Ireland. Here are our top highlights of Ireland’s Ancient East.
The Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary
Also known as Cashel of Kings, the Rock of Cashel is situated in the heart of Tipperary in the charming town of Cashel. And, it’s not actually a rock.
Once an ancient royal site, the Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster for several hundred years before the Norman invasion.
According to legend, two very well-known individuals from Ireland’s ancient history are associated with this spot. The first being St. Patrick, who is said to have arrived in Cashel in 432 AD and the second being Brian Boru who was crowned High King there in 1002.
Blarney Stone and Blarney Castle, Co. Cork
The Blarney Castle, located northwest of County Cork, dates to 1446.
The castle was built over size hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains: Cormac McCarthy and has attracted the attention of visitors and locals alike ever since.
The Blarney Stone is built into the walls of the Blarney castle. Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney stone, you’ll have the ‘gift of the gab’.
Newgrange, Co. Meath
This Neolithic monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, is one of the most impressive man-made wonders on our small island.
It is thought that Newgrange was constructed about 5,200 years ago. To put that into context, that makes Newgrange older than the Great Pyramids of Giza! This large mound was built by a farming community that dwelled on the lands of the Boyne Valley.
It’s ringed by nearly 100 large kerbstones, some of which are engraved with megalithic art.
Powerscourt Estate and Gardens, Co. Wicklow
Located south of Dublin City Centre in County Wicklow is Powerscourt Estate and Gardens.
Said to be one of the world’s greatest gardens, Powerscourt Estate is set against the backdrop of the Sugarloaf Mountains and boasts 47 acres of stunning trees, shrubs and flowers – ideal for a relaxing walk and discovering magnificent hidden treasures.
Kilkenny Castle, Co. Kilkenny
Founded just after the Norman conquest of Ireland, few buildings on our lovely island boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Kilkenny castle.
From the abundance of history, the rolling parkland and the stunning rose gardens; this site easily earns its place on our list of top highlights of Ireland’s Ancient East.
If the weather is in your favour, feel free to bring a picnic along with you to truly take in the wildlife surroundings.
Glendalough, Co. Wicklow
Known as ‘the valley of the two lakes’, Glendalough in County Wicklow offers spectacular scenery and rich history in abundance.
Charming wildlife, stunning monuments and beautiful lakes can be spotted in every corner in Glendalough making it a ‘must experience’ during your time in the east of Ireland.
Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly
Located on the banks of the River Shannon is the sixth century monastic site of Clonmacnoise.
Time seems to stand still in this site and after a simple walk amongst the ruined churches and round towers, you’ll find yourself immersed in the stories of the saints and scholars of Ireland’s Golden Age of learning.
Hill of Tara, Co. Meath
Situated between Navan and Dunshaughlin in County Meath, the Hill of Tara was once the traditional inauguration site of the ancient High Kings of Ireland.
Consistently celebrated in Irish myths and legends, the Hill of Tara plays a significant part of Ireland’s Ancient East history and boasts a stunning view of the Irish landscape when you reach the top.
Hook Head Lighthouse, Co. Wexford
Hook Head Lighthouse in County Wexford is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world.
Voted as one of Ireland’s favourite attractions, Hook Head was built over 800 years ago and boasts spectacular sea views.
Opt for a guided tour and hear all about the myths and legends of medieval times as well as life as a light keeper.
We hope you enjoyed our highlights of Ireland’s Ancient East!
Are you thinking of taking a trip of a lifetime to the Emerald Isle? Get in touch with our team who would be more than happy to help you plan your dream getaway!