The Emerald Isle is steeped in history, so it’s no surprise that historic places can be found in all four corners of the country.
Ireland is both ancient and beautiful. There are many historical places in Ireland to discover where one can find a strong connection with the past.
Ireland has a long and diverse history, a history that has often been troubled and linked to battles, tragedies, and rebellions. But it is also a history of perseverance, hope, and survival. This history and emotion come alive at Ireland’s historical sites.
In this article, we will explore our top 10 picks for historical places in Ireland that every history buff will love.
10. Reginald’s Tower – Ireland’s oldest building
Waterford’s Reginald’s Tower is Ireland’s oldest complete building and was the first building ever to use mortar. The 13th-century tower was the city of Waterford’s main protection and a marvel of medieval architecture. The tower has acted as an arsenal, a prison, and even a mint!
Address: The Quay, Waterford, Ireland
9. Clonmacnoise – Ireland’s oldest monastery
Clonmacnoise, located in County Offaly, is one of Ireland’s oldest and most important monasteries. It is located on the banks of the River Shannon and was founded in 545 AD by Ciaran of Clonmacnoise. It is one of the most famous and most visited monastic sites in Ireland today.
Address: Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge, Athlone, Co. Offaly, Ireland
8. Leap Castle – Ireland’s most haunted castle
Leap Castle, situated in Offaly, was built in the 15th-century and is not only a historically important place but is known as one of the most haunted locations in Ireland. The castle has played host to many horrifying incidents.
Address: R421, Leap, Roscrea, Co. Offaly, Ireland
7. Dunbrody Famine Ship – Ireland’s darkest days
The Dunbrody Famine Ship in Wexford gained notoriety during the famine as it was frequently used to transport Irish emigrants to America. On the New Ross waterfront, where the original famine ship once departed from, stands a replica ship which visitors can board.
Address: N Quay New Ross, New Ross, Co. Wexford, Ireland
6. Céide Fields – Ireland’s oldest fields
The Céide Fields in North Mayo are an ancient Neolithic landscape and the world’s oldest known field systems. The fields date back to 5000 BC! The fields remained hidden for over five millennia until they were unearthed in the 1930s.
Fields, houses, and tombs had all been concealed and perfectly preserved underneath the bogland.
Address: Ballycastle, Co. Mayo, Ireland
5. Hill of Tara – throne to the High King of Ireland
The Hill of Tara, near the River Boyne in County Meath, was, according to tradition, the seat of the High King of Ireland. The Hill of Tara is 500 feet high and provides stunning views of the Meath countryside.
There are several ancient monuments to be found on the Hill of Tara, the oldest of which is the Mound of Hostages, which is over 2000 years old.
Address: Castleboy, Co. Meath, Ireland
4. Rock of Cashel – strong and powerful
The Rock of Cashel, located in County Tipperary, is a stronghold that has stood watch over Tipperary for over 1000 years. The Rock of Cashel has proven to be one of Ireland’s most popular historical sites.
It was the traditional seat for the Kings of Munster for hundreds of years before the Normans invaded.
The Rock of Cashel has four main structures: The round tower, the cathedral, the hall of the vicars choral, and the jewel of the rock, Cormac’s Chapel, which is considered one of the best examples of 12th-century Roman architecture remaining in Ireland.
Address: Moor, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
3. Glendalough – peace and tranquillity
The monastery at Glendalough, County Wicklow, was founded in the early 6th-century by St. Kevin who sought an isolated place for religious reflection. He certainly found it with Glendalough.
Glendalough is a beautiful and historic place to visit, surrounded by the stunning backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains.
The monastery was successful and attracted disciples for over 900 years.
Address: Derrybawn, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
2. Newgrange – ancient and beautiful
Newgrange, County Meath, is an ancient ceremonial site and megalithic cemetery over 5,000 years old. Newgrange is older than the Egyptian pyramids of Giza and 1,000 years older than Stonehenge!
Newgrange has officially become a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its passage tomb naturally aligned to mark the Winter Solstice.
Address: Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland
1. Giant’s Causeway – mystical and majestic
The Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, is a historical site steeped in ancient Irish legend. According to folklore, an Irish warrior giant, Finn McCool, created the Giant’s Causeway because he wanted to avoid getting his feet wet when walking from Ireland to Scotland.
Address: 44 Causeway Rd, Bushmills BT57 8SU
Exploring these ten historical places in Ireland will surely satisfy the history buff inside you.