Keash, Co Sligo
It is a steep climb up a hillside, but the view from inside Cormac’s Cave makes it obvious how this location might have inspired the legends that surround it.
Burren Forest Park, Co. Cavan
Many of Ireland’s megalithic monuments—portal tombs, court cairns, or wedge tombs such as this one—are known locally as “the giant’s grave.” But this one, on a hilltop in Co. Cavan’s Burren Forest Park, has a giant story to go along with its name.
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.
Meigh, Co. Armagh
This spot might have been conjured by a Hollywood set designer. Who else might have put a magical lake on the summit of a mountain, with mysterious burial mounds at each end, one the home of a legendary witch who matched wits with the fabled Finn McCool?
Knockbridge, Co. Louth
The tragic end of Cúchulainn, half-supernatural hero of the armies of Ulster, occurred at this tall standing stone. Mortally wounded, he bound himself to this pillar to keep his enemies at bay until the moment of his death.
Cushendall, Co. Antrim
This tomb was known as “Cloughbrack” on early maps. It is unclear when it became connected with Ossian and the effort to reclaim Ireland’s ancient folkloric patrimony from the fabrications of an upstart Scotsman.
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.
Inishmore, Co. Galway
Dun Aengus is precariously perched on the edge of a vertical cliff, perhaps parts of it already fallen down into the churning waters of the Atlantic nearly 100 meters (300 feet) below.
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.