Ireland is a land of intriguing history, deep blue skies, and old, old stone. If you find yourself there, plan to visit these sites, some of the country’s loveliest and most interesting.
Surrounded by rolling hills and filled with tall grasses and wildflowers, Kilmalkedar is located on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. This religious site dates back to medieval times. Associated with Saint Brendan and Saint Maolcethair, Kilmalkedar includes the remains of a twelfth-century Hiberno-Romanesque church and a cemetery with weather-worn tombstones.
Constructed in the mid-1800s, the Caha Pass is a winding road in the Caha Mountains between Glengarriff and Kenmare. This sandstone range is located in County Cork on the Beara Peninsula. Steep and grassy, Caha is home to grazing sheep. The narrow road is full of switchbacks, as well as tunnels that bore into the mountains. Tricky to navigate, it is subject to low-hanging mists that can make driving an adventure.
This waterfall is less than five miles from Killarney and sits inside the Killarney National Park. Several trails loop around the area and pony rides are available to carry visitors from Muckross House to the Torc Waterfall trail. As you walk to the falls, you’ll encounter trees, boulders, and logs covered in vibrant green moss. The waterfall drops twenty meters from the Owengarriff River.
Cliffs of Moher
Remember the Cliffs of Insanity in The Princess Bride? Those were the Cliffs of Moher. They’ve been featured in the Harry Potter series of movies and other famous films as well. Running along the County Clare coast, these windswept cliffs reach heights of up to 700 feet. Standing here, you’ll see just how blue the Atlantic Ocean can be.
Accessible by ferry, Inis Mór sits off the west coast of Ireland. It is the largest of the three islands that make up the Aran Islands. With a population of fewer than 1,000 residents, Inis Mór is the home to colonies of seals, prehistoric hill forts, and Na Seacht dTeampaill. At Na Seacht dTeampaill, you’ll find the remains of two seventh-century stone churches and monastic dwellings, as well as tombstones.
Poulnabrone is a megalithic tomb in County Clare on the Burren, an area of glaciated karst. The limestone tomb’s three vertical stones support one horizontal one. Constructed by Neolithic peoples, Poulnabrone contains the remains of at least 33 individuals placed there sometime around 3500 B.C.
Although the tomb is roped off to protect it from visitors, you can stand quite close to it. Watch your step, though. A patchwork of small stones surrounds the tomb, and it’s easy to catch your foot and turn your ankle.
Situated in County Antrim off the coast of Northern Ireland, the Giant’s Causeway is a head-scratching sight to behold. Tens of thousands of hexagonal basalt columns perch here, some nearly forty feet high. Tumbled rocks spread across the area, forming a treacherous walkway into the ocean. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1986.
These seven places are just a few of the highlights in a land of natural beauty, historic landmarks, and congenial residents. Be sure to visit all of Ireland, both the independent Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Author: Jeanie Bryan
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