Ireland’s 5 Most Ancient Attractions
From Mesolithic discoveries along the north coast to remains of ancient stones located further south, Ireland is awash with ancient attractions that existed thousands of years ago and, today, lie waiting to be discovered. It may even surprise you to hear that some of Ireland’s most ancient sites even pre-date the world famous Stonehenge and Pyramids of Eygpt. With that in mind, below is a list of five attractions at least 5,000 years old, which are all possible to visit as part of a trip around Ireland today.
1 Brú na Bóinne, County Meath
Brú Na Bóinne, located in the heart of the Boyne Valley in County Meath, is over 5,000 years old and one of Ireland’s most-visited historic sites. Brú Na Bóinne is the Irish translation of ‘Palace of the Boyne’ and is home to Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, with Newgrange being the largest and most well-known site. The site was the first in Ireland to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 and every year a special Solstice winter celebration is held at the site.
Find the latest hotel deals in County Meath and enjoy a longer break in the area.
2 Mountsandal Mesolithic Site and Fort, County Derry-Londonderry
Mount Sandel Mesolithic site, based beside the River Bann in Coleraine, is said to be the oldest identifiable archaeological site in Ireland, dating back some 9,000 years ago. The site was excavated by Peter Woodman of University College Cork in the 1970s. Woodman found numerous structures representing what would have been homes for Ireland’s first settlers in and around 7,000 BC. At the site, various artefacts were uncovered, including microliths, a collection of small stone flakes and tools such as flint axes, needles and hide scrapers. Located beside Mount Sandel Mesolithic site are also the remains of Mount Sandel Fort, an Iron Age fort. Today, visitors can access the whole area free of charge.
See the latest hotel deals in the area today and visit Mount Sandel as part of a night away or longer break along the north coast.
3 Hill of Tara, County Meath
Some of Ireland’s first settlers are said to have arrived in this stunning part of Ireland almost 6,000 years ago, with the remains of several monuments leaving evidence of this. What’s more, there is a small Neolithic passage tomb at the site, The Mound of Hostages, which is thought to date back as far a 2500-3500 BC. The Mound is said to have been the location of hostages for Niall of the Nine Hostages, one of Ireland’s most prolific kings.
In addition to having monuments dating back some 6,000 years ago, The Hill of Tara also holds some of the most historic Celtic monuments in Europe, with the remains of the famous ‘Stone of Destiny‘ still existing on the site. The ‘Stone of Destiny’ was the coronation stone for some of Ireland’s most well-known High Kings, with over 140 kings reigning from the Hill.
Find the latest hotel deals in County Meath and tie in a trip to the Hill of Tara with an exploration of Brú Na Bóinne.
4 Carrowore Megalithic Cemetery, County Sligo
Dating back almost 6,000 years, Carrowmore is one of the most significant megalithic areas in Ireland. The site has a large collection of megalithic tombs in Ireland and is known to have had the largest megalithic cemeteries in Ireland, and oldest one in Europe, dating back to around 4000BC – 4500BC.
There are almost 30 tombs remaining in Carrowmore today, with several sites being extensively damaged due to quarrying over the last 100 – 200 years. The monuments at Carrowmore are mainly ancient stone circles, although some of them have central passages to explore.
Today, visitors can find out more about the cemetery at the site’s visitor centre and a restored cottage that lies within the grounds.
Check out the latest hotel deals in County Sligo and visit Carrowmore as part of a wider trip across the west of Ireland.
5 Ceide Fields, County Mayo
Céide Fields span some 1,500 hectares in the northern part of County Mayo. The area is considered by many to be one of the most extensive Stone Age visitor attractions in the world, with a series of field systems, ruined dwellings and megalithic tombs dating almost 5,000-6,000 years old.
On a visit today, visitors can spend time in the award-winning Céide Fields Visitor Centre to find out more about the site. A wonderful centre that looks out over some of Ireland’s most dramatic clifftops on to the Atlantic Ocean.
Check out the latest hotel deals in County Mayo and spend a few days enjoying the incredible west coast of Ireland.