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Destination Ireland The Emerald Isle
Top 10 Irish castles in the Emarald Isle
Brooding ruins on windswept hills to restored masterpieces, Ireland’s castles can be looked at, walked through, clambered over, dined in – even slept in! Here are 10 of our favorites.
1. Cahir Castle: Feudal fantasy abounds at this river-island site with moat, turrets, towers, defenses and dungeons. This castle is one of Ireland’s largest.
2. Kilkenny Castle: Rising above the River Nore, this is one of Ireland’s most visited heritage sites.
3. Dublin Castle: Center of British power in Ireland for over 700 years and home to the world-famous Chester Beatty Library. Check out the beautiful State Apartments.
4. Dunguaire Castle: Chess-piece style castle erected around 1520 by the O’Hynes clan. Plow through a big group meal at a medieval banquet held here.
5. Rock of Cashel: This ancient fortified home of kings is just the tip of the iceberg for moody and forlorn ruins hidden away in the surrounding green expanse.
6. King John’s Castle: Limerick’s showcase castle is best viewed from the west bank of the River Shannon. Seek out medieval weapons, like the trebuchet, and walk the magnificent castle walls.
7. Blarney Castle: Crowds flock to this 15th-century castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. Bend over backwards on the battlements, give it a kiss and don’t forget to take in the views.
8. Ross Castle: See the cunning spiral staircase at this County Kerry gem. Every step is a different height to break an attacker’s stride.
9. Trim Castle: Truly impressive castle that briefly returned to its former glory in 1996 as a location for Mel Gibson’s Braveheart.
10. Ashford Castle: Once owned by the Guinness family of stout fame. Peek into its immaculately restored interior by sleeping there or just dining there.
Also visit Newgrange.
Newgrange is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, about one kilometre north of the River Boyne. It was built about 3200 BC, during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.
Newgrange, recently restored, is a great circular mound of earth and stone 250 feet in diameter encircled by a ring of standing stones. The interior is solid except for a single stone-lined and stone-capped passage 62 feet long and 3 feet wide which terminates close to the centre of the mound in main chamber with a corbelled vault 20 feet high and three recessed chambers.
The entrance, in front of which is a massive curbstone (10 feet long, 4 feet high) carved with spirals and lozenges, incoporates a roof box which allows the sun, at sunrise on the morning of the winter solstice on December 21, to penetrate the full length of the interior passage all the way to the main chamber. A similar carefully calculated phenomenon is also found at Abu Simbel in Egypt.
Fascination of Ireland
The video below is well worth viewing, if Ireland interests you and you are planning a visit.
Ireland is one of Europe's most green and mysterious islands and everyone who visits this isolated island in the Atlantic Ocean is given a very warm welcome.
Dublin is the capital of the Irish Republic and it is a city of musicians, poets and dreamers, as well as being a financial centre. Its many old buildings indicate its long and dramatic past. It was founded by the Vikings within a wonderful valley where the River Liffey flows into the Atlantic Ocean. After the Vikings, the Normans conquered the city and ruled over it for seven hundred years and under King Henry The Eighth Dublin became the capital of what was then a British colony. South west of Dublin is Kildare, the heart of Ireland's horse racing.
In 1902 the Irish national stud, Tully House, was founded there. Rich and eccentric Scottish brewery heir, Colonel William Hall-Walker, had the idea of a creating unique horse breeding scheme that would be based upon astrological calculation. The Wicklow Mountains are a natural paradise of mountains, swamps and lakes, beautiful valleys and a fascinating mountain landscape to the south of Dublin. Jerpoint Abbey near Thomastown dates back to the twelfth century and is one of the most beautiful Cistercian ruins in Ireland.
The Cistercians built the monastery in characteristic style and one of the stone sarcophaguses is said to contain the bones of Holy Nicolas who was buried there by the Crusaders. Although much of it has remained unspoiled, Ireland has undergone much change. It is a land of great natural beauty, healthy commercial success and excellent hospitality: a wild green island set in the wild Atlantic Ocean!
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