Slane, Co Meath
Dowth means “darkness.” And darkness is what’s left for the visitor today. The electricity has been turned off and entrance is generally prohibited. Dowth was named from the darkness that fell on it when the king and his sister committed an unforgivable act.
Inishmore, Co. Galway
Dun Aengus is precariously perched on the edge of a vertical cliff, perhaps parts of it already fallen down into the churning waters of the Atlantic nearly 100 meters (300 feet) below.
Finnis, Co. Down
Binder’s Cove souterrain may have been constructed as a place of refuge where its owners could escape when threatened, torches ablaze as they raced into the narrow tunnel. Today’s visitors need no flaming torches; they have the benefit of solar-cell lighting.
Knockainey, Co. Limerick
This sacred hill of the fairy queen Áine, who was known as both sun goddess and love goddess, was a ceremonial site long before the first stirrings of a Celtic mythology. It remains sacred for some visitors today.
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?
Downpatrick, Co. Down
The Mound of Down, wildly overgrown with bushes and trees, is but a short walk down the hill from Down Cathedral. The Mound dates from the Iron Age; the Cathedral was first constructed in the 12th century.
Tulla, Co. Clare
Did the memory of a first-century warrior’s grave so impress itself upon the early Dalcassians that they enshrined its sanctity for the inauguration of their own princes from the 5th to the 16th century, including the illustrious Brian Boru?
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.”
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.