Knockanoura, Co. Clare
These are, in legend, a band of robbers turned to stone. As Mary Harrison explains, there was something so powerful about these stones that her frightened horses would not come near them.
The Burren, Co. Clare
This exquisitely-proportioned monument sits just off a main tourist route, its spacious new parking area accommodating dozens of buses disgorging daily many hundreds of their polyglot passengers. Some arrive sadly misinformed.
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.
Goleen, Co. Cork
From its construction in the late Stone Age the Altar Wedge Tomb, with its dramatic waterfront location on Toormore Bay, was the site of ritual practices that continued in the 18th century when the tomb was used as a “Mass Rock.”
Rostellan, Co. Cork
Nearly submerged by the tide, the Rostellan Dolmen is the only example of such a “Diarmuid and Gráinne’s Bed” to wear a garland of seaweed. In legend, Diarmuid placed seaweed on a sheltering dolmen to protect his lover and himself from Fionn’s magic vision.
Kells, Co. Meath
The Teltown Fair was said to include Olympic-like competitions of strength and agility, even horse races and staged battles. There was also a nearby spot where young men and women could join in a yearlong trial marriage.
“The scene is one so solemn and so sad that none should enter here but the pilgrim and the penitent.” (Lord Dunraven, 1875)
“The thing does not belong to any world that you and I have lived and worked in: it is part of our dream world.” (George Bernard Shaw, 1910)
Castlebaldwin, Co. Sligo
The Carrowkeel passage tombs are only 20 minutes from the rushing traffic of the N4. But they are a world apart: a transition from a modern community to a landscape of deserted blanket bog and heather-covered hills, punctuated with jutting limestone cliffs and rift valleys.
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.