Ireland Journals

Ireland's Heritage Card - Your Ticket to History

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An April 2012 trip to Ireland by MilwVon

Rock of Cashel Photo, Cashel, Ireland More Photos
Quote: Ireland's Office of Public Works (OPW) manages over 700 National Monuments throughout The Republic. The OPW Heritage Card is an annual pass that can be purchased, allowing for free entrance to all sites that charge an admission fee. This journal shares 10 of these Heritage sites.

OPW's Heritage Card

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Story/Tip

OPW Site Grennan Castle  Photo, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Quote:
The Republic of Ireland's Office of Public Works (OPW) has been around since 1831 and today is responsible for the preservation and conversation of over 700 historical monuments and landmarks throughout Ireland. Most of these are free and often only noted by signboards along some rural road through the countryside. Grennan Castle sitting out in a County Kilkenny is one such example. It was one of our first stops that we just happened upon during a day trip. Through the work of OPW, these landmarks' stories can be told to those passing by who otherwise would have no way to know about the historical ruin they are viewing.Around 100 of these historical sites have received signi...Read More

Clonmacnoise Cathedral

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Attraction | "Significant Religious Site in Irish History"

At Clonmacnoise Photo, County Offaly, Ireland
Quote:
Clonmacnoise is actual a collection of buildings of religious and defense significance. The "cathedral" in the IgoUgo auto-fill is a bit misleading in that while yes, there are the ruins of a cathedral on the grounds, there is so much more there.The monastery of Clonmacnoise was founded in the mid 6th century along the River Shannon. By the 9th century it was a significant center of Christianity in Ireland. In addition to the cathedral, there are also ruins of seven churches dating between the 10th and 13th centuries plus two round towers and three sandstone high crosses.Two of the three high crosses are relatively in tact and have been moved to inside the exhibit area to pr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 16, 2012

Clonmacnoise Cathedral
River Shannon South of Athlone
Shannonbridge, County Offaly
+353 905 74195

Dublin Castle

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Attraction | "Ireland's Independence Was Achieved Here in 1922"

Dublin Castle Photo, Dublin, Ireland
Quote:
Dublin Castle was original built in 1204 under England's King John as a fortification against the Vikings who had a presence in Dublin for nearly 300 years. Later in the 16th century it became more of a palace than a fortress, serving as the home to England's colonial rule over Ireland including the military and government officials and offices until the time of their surrender to Irish leadership in 1922. Today Dublin Castle serves as an official building where State events including the inauguration of every President of Ireland to date, since her independence in 1922. Foreign dignitaries including Heads of State have come to Dublin Castle. In 2011 England's Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of E...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 12, 2012

Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle
Dublin, Ireland
+353 1 677 7129

Dun Aonghasa

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Attraction | "#1 Attraction on Inis Mor"

Dun Aonghasa Photo, Galway, Ireland
Quote:
Every visitor to the Aran Islands and Inis Mor in particular have seen the spectacular aerial photos of this fort on the Atlantic Ocean coast. Dun Aonghasa is a World Heritage Site. Built sometime between 1,500 and 2,000 BC it stands today mostly in ruin as a reminder of the accomplishments of prehistoric man living here in Ireland. The concentric limestone walls are still impressive today given the volume of rock that was used and the expansive area that was protected from attackers.What struck me the most, was the fact that the inhabitants of this area felt the need to build a fort for protection given this area is 300 feet above the sea and would seem naturally protected by the sheer...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 13, 2012

Dun Aonghasa
Kilronan
Co. Galway, Ireland
+353 99 61104

Glendalough Monastic Settlement

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Attraction | "Nice Area For a Weekend Picnic"

Glendalough Monastic Settlement Photo, Glendalough, Ireland
Quote:
This was our first sightseeing stop after arriving in Dublin earlier that morning. Admittedly, after the overnight flight from Chicago and a late breakfast at Avoca, we were pretty tired. But I knew that if we were going to see Glendalough, this would be our only opportunity to do so.Glendalough Visitor Center is operated by OPW (Office of Publc Works) and contains several exhibits that tell of life there at St. Kevin's 6th century settlement. There is also a short film that tells about the history of not only St. Kevin but also this region contained within the Glendalough National Park. The Market Cross has been moved to inside of the center so as to protect it from further erosion f...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 16, 2012

Glendalough Monastic Settlement
Visitor Centre
Glendalough, County Wicklow
0404/45325

Jerpoint Abbey

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Attraction | "Outstanding National Monument - Religous Ruin"

Jerpoint Abbey Photo, Thomastown, County Kilkenny
Quote:
Today Jerpoint Abbey appears largely in ruin near the village of Thomastown. The Cistercian abbey was built in 1180 and still has much of its splendid carvings available for visitors to view. Some of the areas most notable to visit are located inside the chapel are several tombs with intricate carvings depicting religious figures of the time.Within the outer walls of the abbey, some of the cloister arcade wall remain in tact with several ornate carvings that decorate the pillars.This site was very active with Cistercian monks until the late 1530's when England's King Henry VIII began the dissolution process throughout England, Wales and Ireland. At the point that the Suppre...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 16, 2012

Jerpoint Abbey
Jerpoint
Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
+353 56 24623

Kilkenny Castle

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Attraction | "Rich History Spanning 600 Years"

David & His Mom Photo, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Quote:
Kilkenny Castle is worth a visit as perhaps the best barometer of life in this region dating back from the 12th century. Built in 1195 to overlook and guard the River Nore, it served as the residence to the Butler family for over 600 years. (This would be the same Butler family with ties to Jerpoint Abbey as connected through stone carvings found at the abbey bearing the same Butler coat of arms.) The Butler ownership ended in 1967 when the last family heir sold the deteriorating buildings to the City of Kilkenny for just £50. The Office of Public Works (OPW) took over the restoration and management in 1969 and has since opened it to the public. It should be noted that the Butler famil...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 16, 2012

Kilkenny Castle
The Parade
Kilkenny, Ireland
+353 56 21450

Kilmainham Gaol

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Attraction | "Not to be Missed"

Kilmainham Gaol Photo, Ireland, Europe
Quote:
Kilmainham Gaol is one of the 11 OPW (Office of Public Works) Heritage sites that we visited during our 15 days in Ireland. It was like saving the best for last!Kilmainham Gaol was a fully functional prison in Dublin City until 1924, shortly after Ireland gained independence from British rule (1922). Built in 1796, the building has been fully restored and is now open to visitors who want to take a look back into a very dark time in Irish history. The timing of our visit was especially sobering given that week was the 96th anniversary of the execution of 14 rebels involved in the famous Easter Rising rebellion against England. Almost all other leaders of prior Irish rebellions had also ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 12, 2012

Kilmainham Gaol
Inchicore Road
Dublin, Ireland
+353 1 453 5984

Rock of Cashel

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Attraction | "Rock of Cashel AKA St. Patrick's Rock"

Rock of Cashel Photo, Cashel, Ireland
Quote:
As you approach the Rock of Cashel, you cannot miss it from any road within a mile. It stands high above the Irish countryside. The side facing the village is a rather unspectacular view, however, as a large portion of the actual site is under renovation with large scaffolding obstructing the view of the medieval buildings.Dating back to 1100, visitors will marvel at how well preserved the tall round tower is. Standing at nearly 50 feet, this is one of the more iconic photos taken in this area of County Tipperary. Also on the grounds are a cathedral (13th century) and chapel (12th century), where much of the restorative work is currently being done. Visitors can go inside portions of ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 16, 2012

Rock of Cashel
Tipperary
Cashel, Ireland
+353 62 61437

Ross Castle

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Attraction | "Late Afternoon Visit - Bonus Stop"

Ross Castle Photo, County Kerry, Ireland
Quote:
Throughout our travels around Ireland, we found that often we did not have time to squeeze in everything that we had penciled in for the day. On several occasions we made impromptu stops along the drive which resulted in running out of time later. The number of lovely villages and stunning scenery was just too much to ignore.On the day that we took the Ring of Kerry day tour, we got back to Killarney a bit earlier than we expected. Given that Ross Castle was less than five minutes away from our drop-off point, we hustled to get there before their last admission at 5:00pm.We lucked out and got there just as they were closing out the group for the last guided tour of the day. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 15, 2012

Ross Castle
Ross Road
Killarney, Kerry
+353 64 35851

Swiss Cottage

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Attraction | "Worth the Visit While in Cahir"

Swiss Cottage Photo, County Tipperary, Ireland
Quote:
The Swiss Cottage is another heritage site that is operated by the Office of Public Works (OPW). It was built by the same family who had lived in Cahir Castle in the 1800's so touring it is a natural fit to the history lesson of this area. It is located about a mile from the Cahir Castle, along a river's edge walkway or you can drive to it via the town streets. Located at the backside of a large park, the parking lot is a good distance from the actual cottage and requires a bit of a walk including a substantial hill leading up to the cottage itself. This was one of the times that it was fortunate that we had Ellie's blue handicap parking hanging tag which could be used to secure parking...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 16, 2012

Swiss Cottage
Cahir
Kilcommon, County Tipperary, Ireland
+353 1 8366111