Hi everyone. I hope I find you all well. So this week we continue our tour of Irish historical sites with a trip to the province of Munster. Ireland’s most southerly province is made up of the counties of Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, Cork, Kerry and Waterford. As you can imagine, there is an embarrassment of riches to see when visiting this province. Time to get on the virtual road and discover 5 of my favorites.
Irish Historical Sites. 5 to see in Munster
1. Poulnabrone Dolmen, County Clare
We start our tour of Munster in the stunning lunar-like landscape of the Burren in County Clare. There are around 170 dolmens in Ireland and Poulnabrone is one of the most impressive. What we see today is the exposed structure of the original portal tomb. Hard to believe that these structures remain standing after some 4000 years or more! At the time of excavation in the 1980s, some 33 human remains were found along with objects made of stone and bone dating back to between 3800 BC and 3200 BC.
2. Bunratty Castle, County Limerick
We now venture into neighboring County Limerick. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, especially with our American visitors. This beautifully restored 15th century castle is the 4th castle to be built on this site. A trip to Bunratty Castle has so much to offer including guided tours of the castle, medieval banquets, the folk park and the stunning walled garden.
3. Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary
Next up, it’s a trip to Tipp to see the iconic Rock of Cashel, another must-see on any Irish visit. This incredible collection of buildings rises majestically out of County Tipperary’s Golden Vale. This was the original seat of the kings of Munster. Among the buildings that still survive today a round tower, a Gothic cathedral, an abbey and a fifteenth-century Tower House.
4. Skelligs, County Kerry
So next up, we’re off to the magical Kingdom of Kerry. We take the ferry from the Iveragh Penuinsula to experience the true magic of Skellig Michael, the largest of the two islands. No one has lived there since the monks left in around the year 1100. The 6th century monastic settlement which remains is incredibly well preserved. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The birds rule here with the undisturbed islands providing the perfect place for many colonies of seabirds to thrive.
5. Blarney Castle, County Cork
We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to historical sites to see in Munster and no trip to the province would be complete without a visit to the world famous Blarney Castle in County Cork. Of course we all know about the kissing of the Blarney Stone and its promise of bestowing the Irish “gift of the gab”. The 15th century castle is probably Ireland’s most popular and commands spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The gardens and grounds are also a joy to wander around and include such delights as the Fern Garden and the Poison Garden!
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Slán go fóill!