Prehistoric and Celtic sights in Ireland: Exploring Ireland's history

Prehistoric and Celtic sights in Ireland: Exploring Ireland's history

Ireland is a country with lots of Celtic history and heritage. That’s why there are still many remains of Celtic or prehistoric buildings and sights all across the island. From stone circles to monastic settlements, these architectural marvels stand as silent witnesses to Ireland's Celtic past. In this post we’ll show you some of the most captivating Celtic sights in Ireland.

 

The best places to see Prehistoric and Celtic sights in Ireland

Newgrange

Our journey begins at Newgrange, a masterpiece of Neolithic architecture set in the hills of County Meath. Built over 5,000 years ago, this passage tomb is renowned for its precise construction and intricate megalithic art. The massive sone structure with its corbelled roof not only served as a burial site but also as a celestial calendar, illuminating the inner chamber with the light of the winter solstice sunrise. Newgrange is also part of a World Heritage Site along with the passage tombs of Knowth and Dowth: The Brú na Bóinne, also called Boyne valley tombs consist of ninety different monuments.
 

Glendalough Monastic Settlement

Nestled within the tranquil valley of Glendalough lies a collection of weathered stone ruins that once formed a thriving monastic settlement. Founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century, this sacred site served as a center of learning and spirituality for centuries. The remains of churches, monastic cells, and a round tower bear witness to the architectural skill of the people who inhabited this secluded valley. Glendalough's atmospheric beauty continues to attract visitors until today. That is why it is part of our Glendalough and Wicklow Mountains day tour.
 

Photo by Yoshihiro on Unsplash


 

Dun Aengus

On the windswept cliffs of the Aran Islands – on Inis Mór – stands Dun Aengus, or Dún Aonghasa. It is not known when exactly the structure was built, it is however assumed that most of it is older than 3,000 years. The stone fortress commands panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Its concentric stone walls and defensive features speak to the strategic prowess of its builders, who relied on natural resources and sheer ingenuity to construct their stronghold.

 

Poulnabrone Dolmen

In the windswept landscape of the Burren in County Clare, the Poulnabrone Dolmen stands as a reminder of Ireland's prehistoric past. This ancient portal tomb, dating back over 5,000 years, consists of a large capstone balanced atop two upright stones. As this it forms a sheltered chamber where the remains of the dead were laid to rest. Poulnabrone Dolmen is located on a circular mound and was probably used for rituals during the Bronze Age.
 

Photo by Ulrike R. Donohue on Unsplash


 

The Hill of Tara

In the heart of County Meath, the Hill of Tara rises above the surrounding landscape, crowned with ancient earthworks and standing stones. This sacred site was once the political and spiritual capital of Ireland, serving as the seat of the High Kings and a center of religious ceremony and royal inauguration. The remnants of ceremonial enclosures and the iconic Lia Fáil, or Stone of Destiny, evoke the mystery of Ireland's legendary past. The Hill of Tara remains a place of pilgrimage and is therefore also one of the main stops on our Celtic Boyne Valley Tour.

 

Rock of Cashel

Set atop a limestone outcrop in County Tipperary, the Rock of Cashel stands as a striking symbol of Ireland's medieval heritage. This historic site is home to a collection of well-preserved ecclesiastical buildings, including a round tower, a Romanesque chapel, and a majestic cathedral. For centuries, the Rock of Cashel served as a seat of ecclesiastical and royal power, witnessing the tumultuous events of Ireland's history. Its imposing silhouette against the sky is a reminder of the enduring legacy of Ireland's Celtic-Christian civilization and can even be seen when driving in the distance. If you want to witness the Rock of Cashel along with other castles, have a look at our Blarney Castle Tour.
 

Photo by Ingo Doerrie on Unsplash

 

Celtic sights and more – Ireland’s mystical past

Ireland's ancient buildings stand as monuments to the creativity, spirituality, and resilience of its people. From Neolithic tombs and Celtic ceremonial sites to medieval monasteries, these sights offer a glimpse into Ireland's rich heritage.

So, whether you're drawn by history, archaeology, or simply the beauty of ancient craftsmanship, a journey to these Celtic buildings is sure to leave a lasting impression. Uncover the mysteries of Ireland’s past!

Header image by Joachim Riegel on Unsplash

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