Hi Everyone. I hope I find you all well and looking forward to the weekend. While writing the Virtual Tour of Ireland blogs, it struck me just how many incredible old buildings there are in Ireland. From majestic castles to ancient burial tombs, we really do have our fair share. So this week, I thought it would be fun to take a tour of Ireland’s four corners and discover some of historical Ireland’s oldest structures.
Historical Ireland. 5 of Ireland’s Oldest Buildings
1. Reginald’s Tower-Waterford
We begin in Ireland’s sunny south east in the city of Waterford. Ireland’s oldest city is also home to Reginald’s Tower. Ireland’s oldest civic building has been in use for over 800 years! It was built in the early 13th century and apart from it’s strategic use as a watch tower, it has also served as a prison and a military store. Today it is a fascinating museum and boasts a host of Viking artifacts and Waterford treasures.
2. Christchurch Cathedral- Dublin
So next up we’re heading up to Dublin for a visit to the oldest building in the capital. The first cathedral on this site appeared around 1028 on elevated ground above the Viking settlement at Wood Quay. Extensive renovations took place in the 19th century restoring much of its medieval Gothic design. Inside you can visit the fantastic Dublinia exhibition which charts Dublin’s medieval past. Then there’s the intriguing 12th-century crypt, the oldest in Ireland.
3. Dún Aonghasa – Aran Islands
Our next stop is one of my favorite places in Ireland, the home of the Aran Sweater and this breathtaking prehistoric hill-fort. Dún Aonghasa sits dramatically atop a 100-foot cliff face at the edge of Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. The exact date of its construction is uncertain but it is believed the first structures date back to 1100 BC. Mind-blowing!
4. Killyleagh Castle- County Down
Well we couldn’t do a tour of historical Ireland without a visit to a castle-we certainly have our fair share! This castle visit takes us all the way up to the north of the country to Killyleagh Castle in Downpatrick, County Down. Parts of the castle date back to 1180 and it is home of Gawn Rowan Hamilton and his family making it the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland. The gate lodges are available to rent as holiday accommodation and from time to time concerts are held at the castle. Great place for a gig!
Our final stop simply has to be the jewel in historical Ireland’s crown. Truly extraordinary, the passage tomb at Newgrange hails from the Stone Age and is in the region of some 5200 years old. It predates the Pyramids and Stonehenge by some 500 years. Measuring 85 meters in diameter and 13.5 meters high it is surrounded by 97 kerbstones which display incredible examples of megalithic art. The passage and chamber are aligned with the rising sun at the Winter Solstice on 21 December when they are spectacularly illuminated.
So lovely to have your company for yet another journey around Ireland. Do join me on Monday when the Virtual Tour pulls into County Tyrone.
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Slán go fóill!