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Ireland's best historical and architectural sites?

Ireland's best historical and architectural sites?

Jun 13th, 2004, 04:42 AM
  #1  
JWH
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Ireland's best historical and architectural sites?

Hi. My wife and I are heading out to Ireland next week. We are flying into Shannon, renting a car and driving to the southwest, we will travel down the coast, then over to County Kerry (ancestoral home) and back up to Shannon. I love history and architecture. What are the must sees? Thanks. Jim.
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Jun 13th, 2004, 02:17 PM
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Ardfert
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Have a look at www.heritageireland.ie for the Irish government website
 
Jun 13th, 2004, 09:30 PM
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Jim, You seem to have two of the same postings going with different answers on each. This is what I replied to your other mirror question.

I agree with StephenG about Newgrange. But if you are not getting to the east coast you might consider some of these:

1. Bunratty Castle & Folk Park (Co. Clare) (not as touristy as you might think. It provides a good overview of an impressive furnished 15th Century castle and authentic cottages and houses as well as a nineteenth century street.

2. Cliffs of Moher & Burren (Co. Clare): nature's architecture. You can't get much more dramatic than almost 700 feet straight down to the Atlantic Ocean. Poulnabrone Dolmen (in the Burren).

3. Craggaunowen Project (Co. Clare): See how the Celts lived on artificial fortified islands and ring forts. Recreation of an ancient way of life.

4. Muckross House & Gardens (Killarney): Victorian mansion surrounded by impressive scenery.

5. Muckross Traditional Farms (Killarney): Recreation of Irish farm life in the 1930s.

6. Muckross Abbey (Killarney): 15th century abbey with a romantic history and setting.

7. Ross Castle(Killarney): 15th century keep set on a lake.

8. Gallarus Oratory (Dingle): Teeny tiny ancient church.

9. Beehive huts along Slea Head drive (Dingle).

10. Staigue Fort near Castlecove on Ring of Kerry: 2,500 year old stone fort.

11. The Druid's Circle (Kenmare): Stone circle with dolmen in center about 3,000 years old.

12. Charles Fort (Kinsale): 17th Century star-shaped fort.

13. Rock of Cashel: 200 foot high hill crowned by a round tower and littered with 2 acres of impressive Irish history including 12th Century Cormac's Chapel, the best of Irish-Romanesque architecture in Ireland.

14. Cahir Castle: One of the largest castles in Ireland.

15. Swiss Cottage (Cahir): Deliciously romantic thatched gingerbread cottage; unique in Ireland.
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Jun 14th, 2004, 08:40 AM
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JWH
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Thanks for the wonderful suggestions. We are looking forward to seeing these sites. Sorry about the double posting.
Jim
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Jun 14th, 2004, 01:37 PM
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Hi JWH:

Irish Eyes did a fabulous job with the list and I've been trying to rattle my brain to come up with a few more sites so I could pretend to be smart. Here's my best shot:

Within easy striking distance of the choices she mentioned:

Dunguaire Castle: This is just southwest of Galway and when the tide is in, has a spectacular location with water on three sides.

Gleninagh Castle: This is west of Dunguaire Castle on the coast towards Doolin. The road is very narrow and you may get attacked by cattle, which makes for an excellent story. I understand it is sometimes open, but I've only been able to walk up to the edge. The road to it is amazingly narrow, bordered by hedges with sharp things poking at your car.

Loher Fort: This is a not very often visited ring fort in remarkable condition along the Ring of Kerry just North of Coomakesta Pass. It's not easy to find but I have directions if you are interested. You can see the fort, but getting there is a bit more of a challenge.

Slightly further afield:

Clonmacnoise is one of the more remarkable sites in Ireland. It is directly north of Cahir and Cashel and just south of Athlone. If you're interested in Irish history, this is an important site.

Newgrange is also one of the biggies, but not close to where you will be. The closest version of those types of tombs can be found at Carrowkeel which is about 10 miles north of Boyle. This is probably to far out of the way, but the area has a number of megalithic hill top passage tombs and are sort of out in the middle of nowhere, far from the crowds.

OK, the best I could do.

Bill
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Jun 14th, 2004, 06:59 PM
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Bill, Everyone on the Internet already knows that you are very smart when it comes to Ireland. I would love to have the directions to Loher Fort. I know the free back way into Clonmacnoise that the locals use. But I dare not post it here or they will be inundated.
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Jun 15th, 2004, 09:24 AM
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hmmmm ... perhaps we could share. I had had the Heritage Card when we were in Ireland (and we arrived by boat), so it was covered by that, but the free back way? Sounds intriguing.

Here are the directions that I pulled from my web page.

"The trick is, to take the first road to the left, north of the Coomakesta Pass. It will be marked by a sign for the Sea View B&B (or Ocean view or something like that). When you get to the fork, turn up the Hill towards the B&Bs. The fort is a bit up the road on the right."

You'll see the ring fort from the pass and it is amazing how well the structure has survived.

You'll probably be the only people there.

Bill
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Jun 15th, 2004, 09:36 PM
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Bill, I have seen Loher Fort before but didn't have time to try and find it. In Ireland it sometimes takes all day to find things and I was just day tripping. Next time you're ready for the back way into Clonmacnoise let me know. But we must really keep it a secret.
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Jun 16th, 2004, 06:05 AM
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Your secret it safe with me. I'll seek you out next time I head that way.

Bill
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Jun 16th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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Bill, Thanks for the directions to the fort. It always pays to observe and talk with the locals when in Ireland. You can learn so much about the local areas and secrets.
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Oct 1st, 2005, 12:05 PM
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ttt
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Oct 2nd, 2005, 06:09 PM
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Won't mention all the OBVIOUS ones, as the guide books will be full of their praise.

Most 'bang' for the buck? Knocknakilla, if you can find it, has several standing stones, stone circles and stone rings, all packed into a little 1/4 acre, fenced in enclosure. You have to park on the side of the road, pass through a walk gate into a pasture (often full of sheep, and ALWAYS well dotted by their leavenings)and then walk carefully uphill a hundred or so feet through the muddy, boggey field. I find the view of the valley below a deeply spiritual experience. Also within sight, is a dolmen of dubious authenticity, but it IS facinating, never the less.

It is just off the Butter Road, South East of Millstreet.

www.millstreet.ie for info on other sites, places of interest in the area.
You might enjoy Kilmedy and Drishane Castles. Both are visible from nearby, though neither is open to the public.

I try to visit Knocknakilla every trip (but then, my wife's family hails from the area). It is one of the two places that I have instructed my children to scatter my ashes.
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Oct 3rd, 2005, 02:26 PM
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As you are landing in Shannon in the county of Clare have a look at www.clarelibrary.ie to see what is to be seen before you venture further.
ou can listen to the radio from your ancestoral home by logging on to www.radiokerry.ie and of course www.kerry-tourism.ie
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Oct 3rd, 2005, 03:58 PM
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Also a bit low-key and a trifle out of the way is Lough Gur, just below Limmerick. Might be worth a look. Many of the re-creations at Cragganoween are based upon the finding at Lough Gur. Not generally visited very much, but interesting to me, at least.
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