Ireland’s top 10 MUST-SEE prehistoric sites

A country with a rich culture and history, you’re going to want to get Ireland’s top ten must-see prehistoric sites on your bucket list.

Ireland’s top 10 must-see prehistoric sites.

Ireland’s history permeates throughout its stunning landscape. This history comes in the form of historical monuments and sites that predate history’s records.

From ancient stone circles to burial sites, Ireland has an abundance of prehistoric wonders waiting to be discovered.

In this article, we will take a look at Ireland’s top ten must-see prehistoric sites, each with its own fascinating history and story to tell.

10. Clonmacnoise – Ireland’s largest monastic site

Clonmacnoise is one of the most interesting areas to explore.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Clonmacnoise is one of the most interesting areas of Ireland to explore, thanks to the beautiful complex of ruins, including churches, towers, a castle, crosses, and hundreds of early Christian cross slabs.

These ruins date back to sometime between the 10th and 13th centuries and are well worth a visit.

Address: Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly, N37 V292, Ireland

9. Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery – the most Neolithic tombs in Ireland

Ireland’s top 10 must-see prehistoric sites.
Credit: Rory O’Donnell

Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery has the highest density of Neolithic tombs in Ireland, and it’s also the oldest. It also ranks as one of the top seven hidden gems across Ireland.

Located near Sligo Town, the remains of more than 35 passage tombs are found here, which were constructed nearly 6,000 years ago.

Address: Carrowmore, Co. Sligo, F91 E638, Ireland

8. Drombeg Stone Circle – the Druid’s Altar

Drombeg Stone Circle is also known the Druid’s Altar.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Also known as the Druid’s Altar, theories suggest that the Drombeg Stone Circle in County Cork was once used as a sauna or a pool to bathe centuries ago. However, other schools of thought suggest that the circle was used to brew beer.

This stone circle, which is said to date back to between 153 BC and 127 AD, once had a burial urn at its centre. This was discovered upon excavation.

Address: Drombeg, Glandore, Co. Cork, Ireland

7. Innisfallen Island – impressive archaeological remains

Ireland’s top 10 must-see prehistoric sites.
Credit: Flickr / howderfamily.com

Sitting approximately 1.6 km (1 mile) offshore from Ross Castle, Innisfallen Island is known to be home to some of Ireland’s most impressive archaeological remains from early Christian times.

The monastery was founded in this Killarney region back in the 6th or 7th century by St Finian the Leper. You’ll find lots to explore in this peaceful part of the world, one of Ireland’s top ten must-see prehistoric sites.

Address: Co. Kerry, Ireland

6. Skellig Michael – fascinating heritage sites

Skellig Michael is home to fascinating heritage sites.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Skellig Michael is home to a number of fascinating heritage sites that date back to sometime around 800 AD – for example, the small monastery. You can see this and more alongside the Skellig Ring.

Monks would’ve worked out of this monastery and lived in the beehive huts that still remain. This area is surprisingly very well preserved, considering its Atlantic location.

Address: Skellig Rock Great, Ireland

5. The Céide Fields – an award-winning site

Ireland’s top 10 must-see prehistoric sites.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

This remarked neolithic site in County Mayo dates back nearly 6,000 years and contains the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world.

An award-winning heritage site along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, this system of fields sits beneath the wild boglands of north Mayo and is a fascinating site to discover.

Address: Glenurla, Co. Mayo, F26 PF66, Ireland

4. Newgrange – one of Ireland’s oldest passage tombs

Newgrange is a 5,200-year-old passage tomb.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Newgrange is a 5,200-year-old passage tomb located in Ireland’s Ancient East. When it comes to Ireland’s top ten must-see prehistoric sites, the Neolithic burial grounds at Newgrange are certainly some of the most impressive.

In fact, these burial grounds predate the pyramids in Egypt. Two of Newgrange’s burial grounds are open to the public, so get down and explore!

Address: Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland

3. Glendalough’s monastic sites – a stunning part of the country

Ireland’s top 10 must-see prehistoric sites.
Credit: Flickr / Dale L Puckett

Glendalough in County Wicklow is one of Ireland’s most mesmerising, fairytale-like spots to explore. From wooded glens to stunning lakes and more, this picturesque area is home to some of Ireland’s most interesting prehistoric monastic sites.

The ruins of St Kevin’s Church, like the stone crosses, round towers, and stone churches, date back to the 11th century, making for some incredible scenic walks in Glenadalough. This is certainly one of the best things to experience in County Wicklow.

Address: Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

2. The Burren – a fascinating landscape

The Burren has a fascinating landscape.
Credit: Flickr / Michael Foley

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The word ‘Burren’ finds its origins in its Irish name, Boireann, which translates to ‘rocky place’ – very fitting when you see the landscape of the Burren.

The vast karst landscape of the Burren has been explored by travellers far and wide for centuries. This rocky surface was created by years of limestone being dissolved by acid rain, thus making it one of Ireland’s most unique places.

At the Burren National Park, there are megalithic sites to explore and numerous walking trails.

Address: The Burren, County Clare, Ireland

1. The Hill of Tara – one of Ireland’s most famous prehistoric sites

Ireland’s top 10 must-see prehistoric sites.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

The Hill of Tara is one of Ireland’s most fascinating ancient sites. It is an old burial site located in Skryne, County Meath.

This site has been used for over 5,000 years and became famous as the legendary headquarters of the ancient High Kings of Ireland.

There are many picturesque walks in the area, perfect for exploring the County Meath countryside.

Address: Castleboy, Co. Meath, Ireland

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