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.
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.
Achill Island, Co. Mayo
All ancient monuments carry within their stones a poignant reminder of the lives of long-departed people. However the stones of Keel East sit adjacent to an even starker memento of life gone by: an entire deserted village.
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?
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?
Moynalty, Co. Meath
Ireland has remnants of more than 45,000 ringforts. There were once many more, now leveled and lost. That so many have survived is due in part to their being known as the homes of the fairies.
Anascaul, Co. Kerry
The drama of the Anglo-Irish conflict, explosively played out here in 1650, was—more than 300 years later—the backdrop for the 1970 film Ryan’s Daughter, filmed here and elsewhere on the Dingle Peninsula.
Bruff, Co. Limerick
There is no other spot in Ireland so rich in the evidence of prehistoric habitation and ceremony, and also in the mythic traditions of men and gods. The largest stone circle in Ireland lies close to a scenic lake reputed to harbor a magical realm beneath it.
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.