Portaferry, Co. Down
This monument, known locally as “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."
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?
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.
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.
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?
Fore, Co. Westmeath
St. Féichín’s presence continues to influence the community of Fore, where both pilgrims and locals are able to blend native folk beliefs into the practice of their faith.
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.
Killaloe, Co. Clare
Within a trench dug into the ringfort the archaeologists discovered evidence of a rectangular wooden building, paved with large slabs of stone and containing a central hearth. Can this be where Brian Boru, the “Emperor of the Gael,” lived as a youth?
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.