Ireland has some of the most fascinating ancient attractions in the world. Chosen from our list of Neolithic and Megalithic sights as part of our look at Historic Ireland are eight of the oldest attractions to check out in Ireland this summer. Discover ancient castles, megalithic burial sites and prehistoric stone forts, remnants of which still exist today.
1 Hill of Tara, County Meath
Once the ancient seat of power in Ireland, the Hill of Tara is said to be one of Ireland’s oldest settlements. Over 140 kings are believed to have reigned at the location over many hundreds of years. There are ancient monuments to view whilst visiting the prehistoric remains, including the Neolithic passage tomb, also known as the ‘Mound of Hostages‘, thought to date back as far as 3500 BC.
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2 Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, CoUNTY Sligo
Carrowmore is the largest collection of megalithic tombs in Ireland, and among some of the oldest in Europe, dating back to around 4500 BC. Approximately 30 tombs are visible to this day, with many being damaged or destroyed due to quarrying over the past couple of hundred years. Access to the tombs can be tricky for some and suitable footwear is highly recommended for the day.
3 Mountsandel Mesolithic Site and Fort, County Londonderry
Buried away in the woodlands just off the River Bann in Coleraine, County Londonderry – Derry, is the oldest known settlement in Ireland. Originally discovered in the 1970s by a man named Peter Woodman, Mountsandel goes back some 10,000 years to the Mesolithic period, with archaeological evidence of some of the artefacts used over 9,000 years ago.
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4 Céide Fields, CoUNTY Mayo
Céide Fields in North Mayo are the oldest known field systems in the world, thought to date back as far as 5,000 to 6,000 years. It’s an incredibly fascinating site to visit, with most of the remains being preserved by bog land and a beautiful backdrop landscape, populated with stunning rock formations and colourful flora. Visitors can learn more about the history of the attraction by viewing the multi-award-winning visitor centre.
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5 Drombeg Stone Circle, CoUNTY Cork
The Drombeg Stone Circle is one of Ireland’s most famous stone circles, thought to date back as far as 153 BC and 127 AD. The famous formation of stones is set on the rocky coast of Glandore, County Cork. The ancient site is among the most popular megalithic sites in Ireland for visitors and tourists, with plenty of pictures to be taken during your trip.
6 Dún Aonghasa, CoUNTY Galway
The largest of the prehistoric stone forts on the largest of the three Aran Islands, Dún Aonghasa is thought to have been constructed around 1100 BC and re-fortified around 700–800 AD. It is highly recommended that good footwear is worn when trekking the rigorous terrain and extra care is needed as there are no fences or barriers at the cliff edge.
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7 Cavan Burren Park, CoUNTY Fermanagh
Formed over 300 million years ago, the Cavan Burren Park in County Fermanagh is scattered with ancient monuments, prehistoric walls and megalithic tombs. Take time to walk round the Cavan Burren Park Visitors Centre to gain a better insight into the history of the area. You can then explore its range of stunning walking trails including a multi-access route and various sights of interest.
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8 Navan Fort, CoUNTY Armagh
Navan Centre and Fort is one of Ireland’s most famous and ancient archaeological sites, known to be the former seat of the High Kings of Ulster. The Navan Centre offers some fun activities for all ages, with shows, exhibitions and walking trails for families to explore the surrounding landscape.
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Have you experienced some of these Ancient Sites (or Others) In Ireland?
Tell us about your experience of Ireland’s most ancient sites in the comment section below.