Portballintrae, Co. Antrim
In legend, these 40,000 interlocking blocks of stone were the first segment of a roadway stretching across the sea to Scotland. It was built, the story goes, by Fionn mac Cumhaill so that he might battle Benandonner, his rival across the sea.
Portnoo, Co. Donegal
This dolmen is a monumental shape-shifter, suggesting visual allusions, or acting as a megalithic Rorschach Test. People have described it as resembling a whale, a dolphin, an alligator, a fish, and the Concorde jet. Here you can view it from every angle and decide for yourself.
Sneem, Co. Kerry
The local peasantry called the building Staig an air, which was translated as “Windy House, or “The Staired Place of Slaughter.” It was said to be either a temple or an observatory, and has been attributed to other ancient cultures—Druids, Phoenicians, and Danes.
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.
Ballyferriter, Co. Kerry
There is little left to see at Dún An Óir. The earthworks from the hastily-constructed 1580 fortification have been eroded by weather and waves. There is no evidence of the November day centuries ago when 600 people were slain on this spot.
Termon, Co. Donegal
The Rock of Doon is a craggy eminence with a storied past and a glorious panoramic view. On its flat summit there was reputed to be an inauguration ceremony in which the tribal leader was joined symbolically with the powers of nature during a brutal pagan rite.
Ballyferriter, Co. Kerry
Near the town of Ballyferriter are two stone monuments vividly bringing into the landscape the stories of an enchanted cow whose milk was ever flowing. The Glas Gaibhnenn gave milk freely to all, until she was tricked by an evil woman.
Malin More, Co. Donegal
After Cloghanmore was dug out of the bog in the nineteenth century, it was “a ruinous pile,” with its roofing-stones tossed aside by road and building contractors who used it as a stone quarry. Paddy the Miner, however, believed that the tomb held hidden treasure.
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.