Take a Tour Through Irish History
Ireland is brimming with history, and most of it is still preserved in the lush natural landscape of this storybook part of the world dubbed the “Emerald Isle”.
If you are fascinated with Irish culture and history, consider these must-see attractions with some dating as far back as the Neolithic period. From ancient megalithic tombs to dramatic coastal cliffs which bore witness to invasions and shipwrecks, Ireland is an interactive map of history with visually stunning sights and an injection of fun and humour from the happy-go-lucky Irish people.
The capital of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin boasts a long history which spans Vikings, raids, rebellions, and a strong literary heritage.
Begin your historic tour of Ireland in the city’s main square. The 18th century Merrion Square is one of the most intact Georgian squares in the heart of Dublin city. Surrounding the square, you will find Government Buildings, the Natural History Museum, Leinster House, and the National Gallery of Ireland; all of which features a rich insight into Ireland’s beginnings. It is also here in Dublin where many significant people in history have resided, including famed writer & poet Oscar Wilde.
Dublin is home to Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university, which also houses the world’s oldest book - the Book of Kells, completed in the 9th Century.
For the lovers of both history and a good tipple, look no further than the famous Guinness Storehouse. It is here you can learn about the national drink of Ireland, its history, and even learn how to pour the perfect pint!
2. Blarney Castle
The medieval Blarney Castle had its current structure erected in the 15th century, but has roots dating back a further 500 years. Blarney Castle is significant to Irish history as it has been a witness to over 1,000 years of historical events, including attempted attacks by Queen Elizabeth’s troops as well as housing the famous Stone of Eloquence, situated at the top of the castle. This stone hangs upside-down over a sheer drop and legend says that if you kiss it, you will receive the gift of eloquence! There are many legends surrounding the origins of this stone, with many believing it was a magical stone upon which kings were crowned.
The castle also houses the ‘Poison Garden’, containing a collection of poisonous plants from all over the world.
3. Dingle Peninsula
The scenic Dingle Peninsula was once named “the most beautiful place on earth” by National Geographic. The breathtaking scenery has supported various tribes, archaeological sites, and monuments for 6,000 years.
Along this stretch of the south-west coast of Ireland, there are more than 2,000 monuments still preserved for the history buff to visit and see. Some of the most famous monuments and landmarks include the Blasket Heritage Centre at Dunquin, which provides an interactive journey into the history of the Blasket community and its people.
While on the scenic loop, explore the Gallarus Oratory, a Celtic church built between the seventh and eighth century.
The village of Foynes is home to the Flying Boat Aviation Museum, where the romantic era of transatlantic passenger flights was commissioned. Foynes is also the birthplace of Irish Coffee, invented one night in 1942 to ‘warm up’ cold passengers.
5. The Cliffs of Moher
The 8-kilometre stretch of rocky outcrop is Ireland’s most popular natural attraction. The spectacular cliffs overlook the Atlantic Ocean. The rocks that make up the cliffs were formed over 300 million years ago and have been a majestic backdrop for many films, including the popular Harry Potter franchise.
The Cliffs have inspired and attracted many legends and stories of folklore over the years, including the tales of the ‘Mermaids of Moher’ and the ‘Lost City of Kilstiffen’.
6. Aran Islands
The Aran Islands make up a group of three islands accessible only by ferry or plane. These islands are lined with over a thousand kilometres of ancient stone walls and forts including one of the oldest archaeological remains in Ireland.
The Dun Aengus Fort stands at the highest point on the cliffs on Inis Mor, and was home to the Aran Island chiefs, who controlled the western sea passages. The Islands are also the birthplace of the Aran sweater.
The settlement of Belfast dates back to the Iron Age. The now-capital of Northern Ireland still holds many historical points of attraction including one of Belfast’s oldest traditional Irish pub. ‘Kelly’s Cellars’ is famous for its pints of Guinness and their homemade Irish beef stew. The 200-year-old pub still has most of its original features, making it an authentic experience when it comes to dining in Ireland.
The Titanic Museum explains the history of Industrial Belfast and how it’s connected to the famed ship, the Titanic.
And while in the city, explore The Europa hotel, also known as “the most bombed building in Europe’. This building endured 28 bomb attacks during the ethno-nationalist conflict known as the Troubles during the late 20th century.
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