Ireland Journals

Traipsing Through Irish History

Best of IgoUgo

An August 2009 trip to Ireland by travelswithkids

Newgrange Photo, Dublin, Ireland More Photos
Quote: Beginning in myths of prehistory, Ireland has an amazing concentration of historical wonders to see. Besides planned main sites, a visitor is tempted by an assortment of defensive towers, stone age monuments, graveyards, and much more. Best of all, they will all be experienced in the beautiful setting of Ireland.

Knowth Megalithic Passage Tomb

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Ancient History: Knowth Portal Tomb and Pre-historic site"

Knowth: Detail of Kerbstone Photo, Donore, Ireland
Quote:
5000 years old, Knowth, is a huge man-made mound which contains two passages to grave chambers deep in the interior. That makes it older than the pyramids of Egypt or Stonehenge. Its stone-age builders constructed it as a ritual site. An amazing aspect of their community is that despite their obvious skill in stone work, these ancient people apparently lived in simple tents or huts down closer to the river valley.Perched serenely atop a hill overlooking the River Boyne, the site includes the bright green grass of the huge main mound and 17 smaller satellite tumuli.Knowth, along with Newgrange and Dowth, is one of a trio of Megalithic Passage Tombs near to each other in Coun...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 28, 2009

Newgrange

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Ancient History: Newgrange Portal Tomb"

Newgrange Photo, Dublin, Ireland
Quote:
How many times in your life do you get to stand in a room constructed in prehistoric times? Newgrange is your opportunity to experience such a site. Not just old, but ancient. Prehistoric as in before anyone you have ever learned about. The builders of Newgrange were long forgotten before the time of Beowulf, Jesus, Buddha, Alexander, Moses, or King Tut.Owing to its more reconstructed state, Newgrange is the most spectacular of the three neighboring passage tombs of Knowth, Dowth, and Newgrange. Dating to around 3200 B.C., Newgrange is a massive man-made mound of earth 90 meters in diameter covering a long-hidden interior burial chamber. The interior chamber features a corbelled r...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 28, 2009

Newgrange
Slane
Co. Meath, Ireland
+353 41 24488

Proleek Dolmen

Attraction | "Masterful Stone Balancing"

Proleek Dolmen Photo, County Louth, Ireland
Quote:
One thing I've really enjoyed on my two trips to Ireland is that you can't drive 10 miles without encountering something worth stopping to see. Many of these sites are megalithic monuments: dolmen, gallery graves, standing stones, stone circles, and more. They are scattered all across Ireland, some in great shape, some barely recognizable.Proleek Dolmen is one of these stone-age constructions, only a couple miles detour off the main Dublin-Belfast motorway. A dolmen, or portal tomb, consists of typically three huge base stones, and another huge boulder balanced on top. They are called portal tombs because the base stones act as a doorway to the interior where a body would be interred. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 30, 2009

Proleek Dolmen
2 miles north of Dundalk
County Louth, Ireland

Navan Fort (Emain Macha)

Attraction | "Encounter The Time of Legends at Navan Fort"

Navan Fort (Emain Macha) Photo, Armagh, Northern Ireland
Quote:
Just west of the city of Armagh is Navan Fort and Visitor Center, the ancient seat of early Ulster kings and queens. Also known by its legendary name of Emain Macha, the site is a setting for several fabled and historical figures in early Irish history. One of the more prominent is Queen Macha. While pregnant, her husband wagered that she could win a footrace against a horse. She was forced to participate or have her unborn child killed. She won the race and gave birth to twins, but casting a curse on Ulster men for nine generations for having to endure the race.The Navan visitors center does a much better job of explaining this legend and several other Celtic heroes through displays and...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2009

Navan Fort (Emain Macha)
81 Killylea Rd.
Armagh, Northern Ireland

Grey Abbey

Attraction | "Irish Abbeys and Monasteries of the Middle Ages"

Angel from the Book of Kells Sign Photo, Dublin, Ireland
Quote:
Once St. Patrick started the ball rolling, Christianity flourished in Ireland during the middle ages. Many large and important monasteries were founded across Ireland and you can visit the ruins of many of them today. I am not exactly sure what the attraction of wandering through the rubble and partial walls is, but it is enjoyable. At a few of them, you are rewarded with viewing an ornately carved high cross, such as at Monasterboice, which is just off the main Dublin-Belfast motorway. One legacy of these monasteries is the Book of Kells, an beautifully illustrated bible produced about the year 800. The Book of Kells is on display at Trinity College in Dublin, along with other ancient books, incl...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 30, 2009

Grey Abbey Ruins Photo, Greyabbey, Northern Ireland
Quote:
A more recent type of history that is of interest to many visitors to Ireland is their Irish family heritage. Over 36 million Americans have some bit of Irish ancestry. This fact, coupled with the continued popularity of genealogy as a hobby makes tracing Irish family history a common goal of visitors to the island.During our recent trip, we were able to visit the graveyard containing the tombstone of my 3-great-grandparents, the towns they were from, and a field that was part of the actual farm that my 2-great-grandfather left to come to the U.S. It takes a lot of digging, a variety of good maps, and some luck to trace your family to specific locations back in Ireland. I was...Read More
Londonderry: protestant section murals Photo, Derry, Northern Ireland
Quote:
We're suckers for the chance to walk on city walls, so we decided to drive over to Londonderry for a day of our Northern Ireland vacation. It is one of the few cities in Europe whose inner core is still surrounded by intact, fortified city walls. Londonderry's thick walls date to 1618, built to protect protestant British colonists from the Catholics (local and English). While we came for the 400 year old battlements and history, we wound up getting an excellent lesson in the 20th century Catholic-Protestant "troubles" of Northern Ireland.After our lunch, we decided to book a walking tour (we'd also considered the double decker bus tours). It turned out to be a fantastic choice, as our e...Read More