Hollywood, Co. Wicklow
The green Wicklow Hills setting provides a serene background for this sad tale of merriment gone wrong, the piper and his dancers suddenly turned into blocks of stone because they were dancing on the Sabbath Day.
Ballyvourney, Co. Cork
St. Gobnait’s monastic site contains two holy wells and the reputed grave of this sixth-century holy woman within a ruined prehistoric tomb. It also features a striking sheela-na-gig figure, said by some to be an image of the saint, and by others to be a remnant of a pagan goddess religion.
Slane, Co Meath
In 1699 the proprietor of the townland of New Grange needed stones for building. He dug into the scrub-covered mound on his land and soon discovered the mouth of a “cave.” What he found was Ireland’s most significant archaeological treasure. Newgrange is one of the oldest buildings in the world.
Slane, Co Meath
Dowth means “darkness.” And darkness is what’s left for the visitor today. The electricity has been turned off and entrance is generally prohibited. Dowth was named from the darkness that fell on it when the king and his sister committed an unforgivable act.
Finnis, Co. Down
Binder’s Cove souterrain may have been constructed as a place of refuge where its owners could escape when threatened, torches ablaze as they raced into the narrow tunnel. Today’s visitors need no flaming torches; they have the benefit of solar-cell lighting.
Glanworth, Co. Cork
This tomb was built two millennia before the ascendancy of the Celts, whose legends named this monument the “Bed of the Witch [or hag].” Can it be possible that a folk memory from the Late Bronze Age about the woman whose decapitated remains were found here was somehow preserved in oral tradition?
Doagh, Co. Antrim
A visitor to the Doagh Holestone might find the ground blanketed in flower petals, the remnants of a visit by newlyweds come to clasp hands through the hole. Their family and friends attend this modern rendition of a time-honored local practice, blissfully unmindful of earlier, more pagan activities at the site.
Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry
In 1910 T.J. Westropp called Dunbeg “the most complex and remarkable of the Irish promontory forts.” But archaeologists have few finds from the site. Why would the prehistoric inhabitants of Dunbeg bury their refuse when it was so easy to toss it over the edge of the cliff?
Myths and Megaliths
The ancient Irish made their mark on the land with great stone and earthen structures. The legends that developed were thought to be among the earliest voices from the dawn of western civilization.