Have You Heard? It’s Ireland’s Ancient East

Where can you find 5,000 years of European History spanning Ancient Ireland, Early Christian Ireland, Medieval Ireland and Anglo Ireland? Ireland’s Ancient East – that’s where.  

The route starts at Newgrange and the Boyne Valley, moves through Clonmacnoise, Glendalough and the Rock of Cashel, before finishing in Cork.

Described as a celebration of ‘the golden age of Ireland’s Saints and Scholars’, this new initiative aims to mirror the massive success of the Wild Atlantic Way and offer people in Ireland and visitors from abroad a chance to re-imagine the way they look at the country.

Here are 8 of the top highlights of Ireland’s Ancient East:

1. Newgrange is the oldest known deliberately orientated structure in the world. Ireland’s best known passage tomb dates to c.3,200BC. After 5000 years, the roof at Newgrange is still waterproof.


2. Ireland’s most beautiful High Cross, Muiredach’s Cross, at Monasterboice, County Louth is also the tallest remaining Celtic High Cross in Ireland and is a ‘must-see’ on Ireland’s Ancient East Trail.

Muiredach’s Cross at Monasterboice
Muiredach’s Cross at Monasterboice

3. Near Clonmacnoise, County Offaly, Ireland’s oldest known bridge crossed the River Shannon. Underwater archaeology in the 1990’s revealed the remains of a great wooden bridge and it was found to date from 804AD and is 120m in length.

4. Lockes Distillery in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath is the only example in Ireland of a small pot distillery. It was licensed in 1757, produced whiskey for over 200 years and is now open as a museum.

5. The only planned and permanent Quaker Settlement in Ireland can be seen at Ballitore, County Kildare and is likely to prove a very popular stop off on Ireland’s Ancient East tour.

6. Fans of the film Braveheart can visit Trim Castle in County Meath. This castle is important as it is Ireland’s largest Anglo-Norman Castle.  

 Trim Castle in County Meath
Trim Castle in County Meath

7. County Laois is the location for the Timahoe round tower, which is one of the most beautiful round towers in Ireland. Built in the 1100s the entrance is decorated with carvings of human heads with flowing beards and mustaches.

8. Loughcrew, County Meath is thought to be possibly the oldest cemetery in the world. It tells of Ireland’s neolithic cultures. As legend has it, the burial mounds there were created by a witch flying overhead and dropping pebbles on to the landscape!

Whether you are interested in Ancient Ireland, Early Christian Ireland, Medieval Ireland or Anglo Ireland, Ireland’s Ancient East is a chance to get up close and personal with some amazing historical stories in the most magical and inspiring way.
Posted on February 26, 2016

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