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?
Burt, Co. Donegal
Bus loads of schoolchildren drive up the winding road where the Grianán of Aileach dominates the summit. As the youngsters disperse to explore the fort they may not realize that it was actually assembled in 1837 from a disorganized jumble of stones.
Doagh, Co. Antrim
A visitor to the Doagh Holestone might find the ground blanketed in flower petals, the remnants of a visit by newlyweds come to clasp hands through the hole. Their family and friends attend this modern rendition of a time-honored local practice, blissfully unmindful of earlier, more pagan activities at the site.
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.
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.
Salisbury Plain, England
No, Stonehenge is not in Ireland. But according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Merlin the magician moved Stonehenge from Ireland to England as a memorial for Britons who had been treacherously slain by the Saxons at a truce meeting on Salisbury Plain.
Gleann Cholm Cille, Co. Donegal
The Turas is a religious procession that visits 15 different stations in the hills and valleys of this stunningly beautiful spot at the western edge of Co. Donegal. Some of the stations may have been associated with pre-Christian practices.
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.