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Ancient Ireland


Ireland is home to a wealth of Neolithic and megalithic sites ranging from tombs like Newgrange to standing stones, dolmens and fairy forts. Our itineraries include many of them. We are expert designers of customised itineraries for all group types and sizes. During the last couple of years requests for spiritual tours have increased making Ireland obviously the ideal destination.

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, when the Sun is at its highest point in the northern hemisphere. In ancient pagan societies the Summer Solstice was hugely significant, it was a time when the power of the Sun was at its highest and was seen as an important time for fertility, when the harvests of the coming year were blessed. This significance is mirrored in the places of worship and burial sites, from standing stones to pyramids and tombs, that Neolithic pagan cultures built throughout the world and many were designed in alignment with the sun at this sacred time of the year, when the sun was at its most powerful. There are some 40,000 ancient megalithic and Neolithic sites across the British Isles and Ireland, from burial chambers, to stone circles and former dwellings of ancient societies, some dating back nearly 5,000 years, predating the Egyptian pyramids by 6 centuries.


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Knowth (Bru Na Boinne) & Brownshill Dolmen & Carrowmore Megalithic Tomb

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Poulnabrone Dolmen & Proleek Dolmen Dundalk & Megalithic Cairn Loughcrew

The stone circles are a megalithic tradition of monuments consisting of standing stones arranged in rings. These were constructed from 3300 to 900 BCE. Ringforts, ring forts or ring fortresses are circular fortified settlements that were mostly built during the Bronze age up to about the year 1000. They are found in Northern Europe, especially in Ireland.

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Beaghmore & Cahersiveen & Hill of Tara

The prehistory of Ireland has been pieced together from archaeological evidence, which has grown at an increasing rate over the last decades. It begins with the first evidence of humans in Ireland around 10,500 BC and finishes with the start of the historical record around 400 AD. For much of Europe, the historical record begins when the Romans invaded; as Ireland was not invaded by the Romans its historical record starts later, with the coming of Christianity. Today the visitor can evidence prehistoric dwellings in the form of ruins or reconstructions.

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Craggaunowen & Fahan Bee Hive & Gallarus Oratory

Christianity first came to Ireland between the 3rd and 5th Centuries and while much of Europe was plunging into the Dark Ages, Ireland provided a beacon of light. The Early Christian site Clonmacnoise founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian grave-slabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of grave-slabs are on display in the visitor centre. Founded by St. Kevin instead, Glendalough was an ecclesiastical settlement set in a glaciated valley with two lakes, the monastic remains include a superb round tower, stone churches and decorated crosses. The monastic settlement Monasterboice was founded in the late 5th century by Saint Buithe who died around 521. The site includes the remains of two churches built in the 14th century or later and an earlier round tower, but it is most famous for its high crosses.

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Clonmacnoise & Glendalough & Monatserboice
Ireland also has a vast number of castles dotting the countryside, from romantic ruined castles and castle towers, to the fine stately castles of Irish Chieftains and Irish Castle Hotels . Ireland has castles that are filled with history and character and there even some haunted castles to discover. Most castles you'll see in Ireland are less than ostentatious; they were not built to be the royal palaces that you'll find in Britain, as Ireland has had no royalty for a thousand years. Instead they were fortified homes for chieftains, or Anglo Norman settlers and were designed primarily for defence. Many of these castles are medieval in origin, dating from the 11th to the 15th century. While some of the more elaborate and elegant castles you may find owe their origins to the flamboyant Georgian era or the neo-Gothic revival in the Victorian Age.

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Bunratty Castle & Dunluce Castle & Rock of Cashel

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Dunamase Rock & Trim Castle & Ballycarbery