Oldcastle, Co. Meath
On his visit to the Loughcrew hills, also called Sliabh na Caillíghe (The Hill of the Witch) Jonathan Swift heard tales of the “monster woman” who once ruled the area. She was the local incarnation of An Cailleach Bhéara, the Hag of Beare.
Portaferry, Co. Down
Tara Fort sits on a prominent hilltop southeast of Portaferry, on Northern Ireland’s Ards Peninsula. Thomas McKeating claimed that "these fairies were supposed to be seen sittin’ underneath a tree, singin’ and playin’ their music."
Dingle, Co. Kerry
You can still feel the community pack
This place: it’s like going into a turfstack,
A core of old dark walled up with stone
A yard thick…
“In Gallarus Oratory,” 1969
Killeavy, Co. Armagh
The earliest oral traditions speak of the Dé Danann. Later poets re-worked these legends into ballads celebrating the conflicts with the Viking. Thus the terms Danann and Dane became confused, with the Danes given the credit for the construction of the ancient monuments.
Glandore, Co. Cork
Drombeg presides over a view that gently swoops down to the Atlantic a mile distant. Its organically sculpted, honey-colored stones form a circle that seems unlikely to be associated with the dying victims of human sacrifice.
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?
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.
Knockanevin, Co. Cork
Just below the hill from the crumbling stone oratory are four standing stones, the remains of a stone circle. The oratory’s entrance, unique in Ireland, is composed of three similar pillars. Can these have been removed long ago from the stone circle?
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.