Step back in time and discover “Ireland’s Ancient East”. The west coast of Ireland has always been associated with the wild and glorious beauty of the country but not many tourists are aware of the history and culture that’s spread out all over the east coast. From the countryside of Meath right down to the east coast of Cork, you can find ancient historic landmarks and world recognized heritage sites. After the huge success of the Wild Atlantic Way, visitors may be keen to enjoy some of Ireland’s finest history dating back over 5,000 years!
Unlike the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East is not a direct route allowing you to take in different attractions as you please. Many of them are quite close to one another so if you are staying in Dublin day trips leave from the city centre to many of the surrounding sites and locations. Ireland’s Ancient East has been broken into four pillars and focuses on specific landmarks and heritage sites rather than places.
- The Dawn Of Civilisation
Hear ancient myths and tales told by the locals of ancient warriors and druids that once ruled the country. These magical and inspiring stories are sure to send shivers down your spine as you hear all about Ireland’s ancient civilization. One of the most outstanding parts of “Ancient Ireland” is The Boyne Valley at Newgrange Co. Meath. Newgrange is Ireland’s most famous passage tomb and dates back to 3,200BC. Another great site and part of “Ancient Ireland” is the Brownshell Dolmen, Co. Carlow. This tomb is listed as a national monument and at 100 tonnes is reputed to be the heaviest capstone in Europe. Both of these represent thousands of years of history however if you were to choose which one to visit we recommend Newgrange!
Newgrange Passage Tomb
Early Christian Ireland
- The Golden Age of Monastic Pioneers
Ireland is known as the “land of saints and scholars” and for good reason too. Visit some of Ireland’s ancient universities and monasteries where Irish pioneering saints and monks dedicated their lives to writing some of the world’s greatest illuminated manuscripts. Learn about how their teaching spirituality was spread all through Europe adding glimpses of light in to the Dark Ages. Chose to relax and take in the luscious green landscape filled with peace and serenity or visit one of the many festivals or markets that are filled with excitement and electricity. Educate yourself about early Christian Ireland by visiting one of the many representative sites. Clonmacnoise Monastery is situated in Co. Roscommon and said to be the burial place of many of the High Kings of Ireland, whilst Glendalough is in Co. Wicklow and is possibly Ireland’s most famous monastery surrounded by beautiful lakes and forests.
- From Raiders to Settlers
If you have a keen interest in anything medieval and are planning a trip to Ireland then you will not be disappointed. There are numerous incredible sites still fully intact dating back to medieval times that are completely open to the public. Take a trip down the “Kilkenny Medieval Mile” and stop off at the wonder St. Canice Cathedral, built in the 13th Century it is Irelands 2nd longest Cathedral. Next along the mile is Kilkenny Castle built by the son-in-law to legendary Norman invader Strongbow to fortify the city and consolidate Norman position in Ireland. Thirdly, hear all about Irelands first and only witch trial which took place in 1324 after a woman was accused of poisoning and killing all four of her husbands! There are many other sites and places to visit on this incredible mile long adventure and a great day out for the entire family.
- Land, Life and Liberty
Anglo Ireland saw the colonialism of Ireland by the British, the infamous potato famine and a time of Empire, Rebellion, Innovation and Industry. Visit some of Ireland’s most elegant and beautiful stately homes like Castle Town House, Ireland’s largest and earliest Palladian style house. Take the “1916” walking tour around Dublin with a guide who will educate you in detail the events that occurred during the famous 1916 rising against the British in Dublin. For a relaxing day out visit the Powerscourt Gardens and Estate and take in all of its beauty.
Powerscourt Estate and Gardens
There are many more amazing sites, castles, houses and gardens to visit in the east and each of them have something unique and special about them. Ireland holds thousands of years of history so no matter what era you are particularly interested in there will definitely be something that will intrigue you. Take a look at theirishstore.com and see all the wonderful Irish goods that will complete your trip to Ireland.