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    Ancient Ireland

    Ireland has a long history. Learn about the Neolithic, prehistory, Bronze and Iron Ages and early Medieval Ireland. 

    Exploring Ireland's Ancient Heritage

    Ireland is a small island with a long and rich history. The prehistoric an early medieval peoples who called this amazing place home left behind a plethora of fascinating sites to visit and discover. Learn about a few our our favourites here, with new items added regularly.

    Newgrange & Boyne Valley Tombs

    Ireland’s largest Neolithic tomb, this incredible monument is over 5,000 years old.

    Aligned with the Winter Solstice, every year the inner chambers are illuminated with the winter sunlight. Full of Neolithic art carved into the monoliths, learn about this ancient place that is now a UNESCO heritage site.

    Though Newgrange is the most famous in the complex, there are a number of associated sites, including the impressive cairns of Knowth and Dowth.

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    Carrowkeel Tombs

    Quite possibly the coolest ancient place in Ireland, a series of tombs sit perched atop several small, rugged hills in County Sligo, on Ireland’s west coast.

    With 14 tombs in Bricklieve hills and another dozen satellite sites within a few kilometres, these incredible monuments pre-date Newgrange, Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza. Aligned with the summer solstice, the inner chambers of the opened cairns are light up by the sunset.

    To this day, visitors are still making the climb on the solstice every year to witness the end of the longest day of the year.

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    The Hill of Tara

    Back on the east coast, the Hill of Tara is an exceptional site encompassing ringforts, passage tombs, mounds, earthworks, Christian sites, and more.

    The Hill of Tara is one of the Royal sites of Ireland – in fact, it was here at the Hill of Tara where the High Kings of Ireland were once crowned, and it is one of the most significant ancient sites of the Emerald Isle.

    Part of Ireland’s wonderful Ancient East region, Tara is still a place of discovery and wonder, drawing many visitors to this otherwise quiet part of Ireland every year, with a number of ancient, historic and archeological monuments comprising the site.

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    The Grianan of Aileach

    The Grianan of Aileach, located at the top of Donegal, is an ancient Iron Age stone fort. Perched atop the heather-capped Greenan Hill, the round fort is visible from afar. Once the high seat of the ancient kings of this corner of Ulster, one of the four ancient kingdoms, the Grianan of Aileach is an impressive ancient site.

    Ireland was once full of thousands of such stone forts, also called cashels, offering shelter and protection to the ancient peoples of Ireland. Though plundered and ruined, the fort was eventually rebuilt in all of its former glory.

    Read more about this great stone cashel in the wilds of northern Donegal.

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    Summer & Winter Solstices

    Though not a site themselves, the solstices and the equinoxes were important to the ancient peoples of Ireland.

    Many of their great monuments were built so that they aligned with either the rising or setting sun of the summer or winter solstice.

    Though Ireland has long been Christianised, interestingly the tradition of celebrating the solstice has continued to this day, to at least some extent.

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    History of Ireland

    Love history? Have a read through our Brief History of Ireland page for more info on this amazing island.

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    As Recommended By...

    You'll be in good company on a Wilderness Ireland Trip. Some of the biggest and best known names in the business have recommended us.

    Los Angeles Times
    National Geographic Adventure
    Men's Health
    USA Today

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