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Transcript of Ireland
Ireland has a rich history and its evidence is found in the ruins of ancient monuments and castles, some of which are older even than the pyramids. The first settlers were probably from Scandinavia, who traveled to Scotland, then across to Ireland. The Irish Race is a combination of the three major originating tribes, which became known as the Celtic Race. Even today, the population of Ireland is predominantly of Celtic origin.
The Irish Landscape
The Republic of Ireland (Éire), is about five-sixths of the island of Ireland. Ireland is divided into 32 counties, and as you travel through them, you will notice that the nature of the landscape varies greatly, so that in a short period of time, you will feel as though you have travelled through different countries!
Brú na Bóinne
Brú na Bóinne, which means the ‘palace’ or the ‘mansion’ of the Boyne, refers to the area within the bend of the River Boyne which contains one of the world’s most important prehistoric landscapes. It is located close to the east coast of Ireland approximately 40 km north of Dublin city, about 8km west of the medieval town of Drogheda and about 5km east of the village of Slane.
The archaeological landscape within Brú na Bóinne is dominated by the three well-known large passage tombs, Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth, built some 5,000 years ago in the Neolithic or Late Stone Age. An additional ninety monuments have been recorded in the area giving rise to one of the most significant archaeological complexes in terms of scale and density of monuments and the material evidence that accompanies them. The Brú na Bóinne tombs, in particular Knowth, contain the largest assemblage of megalithic art in Western Europe.
Ross Castle and Ross Island, copper was mined here over 4,000 years ago.
Today you can see some of the more recent mine shafts, one which has a green shade from the copper below.
Cabra Castle Hotel is situated in County Cavan, and has a long and interesting history stretching as far back as 1760. There is a very distinct historical atmosphere to the castle and when you step inside you feel as if you are being transported back in time.
The stunning hallways and stairwells at Cabra Castle are particularly interesting as they are beautifully decorated with lots of traditional features, unique antiques and superb paintings.
Cabra Castle was once known as Cormey Castle – back in the days of Oliver Cromwell and James II. Nowadays, Cabra Castle is well known for its 100 acres of surrounding parkland. This stunning landscape is part of the Dún a Rí National Forest Park.
All around the county of Donegal are dotted ruins of old castles.
One of the most intact ruins was the ruins of Lough Eske Castle.
Of course probably the most famous of Donegal's castles is O'Donnells Castle, more commonly called Donegal Castle, in Donegal Town.
Built by the O’Donnell chieftains in the 15th Century, beside the river Eske in Donegal Town, Donegal Castle was rebuilt in Jacobean style in the 16th Century by Sir Basil Brooke, after Hugh O’Donnell burnt it to the ground rather than let it fall into enemy hands.
Steeped in history and mythology, the county expresses itself in the music, art, and poetry of its people, made so famous by WB Yeats and others.
From clear lakes and rivers to stunning beaches and dramatic mountains, Sligo is a place that will stimulate all of your senses.
Let the ancient sites, spectacular landscapes and rolling waves inspire you. The stories, trails and adventures will open your mind and invigorate your body.
Overlooking the megaliths at Carrowmore is the legendary Maeve's Cairn. It sits on top of Knocknarea, the only mountain around so easy to spot. The site is Neolithic and about 5000 years old. It is the alleged burial site of the Iron Age queen of Connaught, Maeve, who supposedly watches over Connaught from her vantage point to be ready for invaders from Ulster - another romantic Irish fable.
Benbulben or more correctly Ben Bulben is a huge formation of shale and limestone which is believed to have been formed during the Ice Age 320 million years ago. It can be seen for miles around as it dominates the countryside a little north of Sligo.
Many a Celtic Legend had its beginnings on or around Benbulben and when you see it and its stunning lines and curves, it's easy to see why it would inspire the storyteller.
Parkes Castle on the shores of Lough Gill, was built in the 17th century and was the home of Robert Parkes and family. In the courtyard there are what seem to be remains of a Tower House structure believed to have been built in the 16th century. This Tower House was owned by Sir Brian O'Rourke who was executed in London at Tyburn in 1591 for treason.
The Baron of Offaly, Maurice Fitzgerald, founded the Dominican Friary in the 13th century. The Abbey has been destroyed by fire in 1414 and has been attacked and ravaged in both the Tyrone War in the 16th century and in the Ulster Uprising in 1641. The Friars vacated the abbey in the 17th Century and later on in the 1850s, it was restored by Lord Palmerston.
It is well worth a look to see some beautiful carvings of Gothic and Renaissance tomb sculpture. The High Altar was sculptured in the 15th century and is the only one of its kind to be found in any Irish Monastic church.
Rosses Point is home to the Sligo Yacht Club and the County Sligo Golf Club, which hosts the annual West of Ireland Championship.
Starting at Aughris Pier, this walk leads out along the cliffs around Aughris Head. Spectacular Views of sea and mountains.
The Castle of Moygara was the principle fortress and dwelling of the O Gara family. The castle stands in a slight eminence with great views, particularly to the south. The building consists of a plain rectangular tower set within a nearly square bawn withflanking angled tower at each corner. These commanded the adjacent curtain walls as well as the timber papapets that would have existed in the original building. The main entrance was on the western side where, at a later time, an entrance porch was added to the original arched opening.
A trip down Memory lane for all the family. A visit to sligo Folk Park is a true experience of rural and Irish Heritage. Here in the heart of South County Sligo, the cultural history and heritage of the whole region comes vividly to life. This is a place, which is great fun for young and old. Children can discover how their great grandparents used to live and those who are still young at heart can rediscover how life used to be in days gone by.
Martin Byrne is a Failte Ireland approved tour guide covering ancient sites in the Northwest region. He is a qualified artist, archaeologist and plays traditional Irish music on the fiddle.
Martin specialises in the mythology, symbolism and astronomy of the pre-Celtic megalithic period, and works as a guide for the main Sligo megalithic complexes. County Sligo and the surrounding region has one of the richest archeological landscapes remaining in Ireland; Martin will guide you through the mythological, astronomical and archaeological significance of this landscape. Martin plays traditional Irish fiddle, and will enliven your tour with a few tunes!
Sligo is the main city in the Northwest of Ireland and the 12th largest overall. Like most Irish towns, the streets in the center of town are very narrow and were never designed for the high demands of today's automobile traffic.
Sligo's Irish name Sligeach - meaning shelly place - allegedly originates in the abundance of shellfish found in the river and its estuary, and from the extensive 'shell middens' or Stone Age food preparation areas in the vicinity.
Check in to the Clarion Hotel.
Turlough Park is a small demesne in Turlough Village, which is just a short distance from Castlebar in County Mayo. In the mid-19th century the Fitzgerald family commissioned Sir Thomas Newenham Deane to design the house, which was built in 1865.
A splendid landscaping scheme was implemented to compliment the design. The features of Turlough Park Victorian Gardens include terraces and a man-made lake and islands. The main focal point from the front of the house is an ornamental free-standing glasshouse. A central path to the rockery is flanked by formal flower beds, surrounded by paths and lawns. A conservatory, which is curvilinear lean-to, on the stable wall is an interesting period piece and indications are that it may be a Richard Turner.
Home to the national folk life collection, the National Museum of Ireland-Country Life, in Castlebar County Mayo, is a branch of the National Museum of Ireland.
Winner of Museum of the Year in 2001, visitors to the museum's exhibition galleries are invited to experience the story of Irish country life between 1850 and 1950 through an innovative combination of artefacts and displays, archival video footage and interactive screens. The National Museum of Ireland-Country Life, is located in the spectacular grounds of Turlough Park amid magnificent gardens and an artificial lake and located alongside the restored Turlough Park House and its adjoining courtyards. Visitors can enjoy a range of public programmes including weekly craft demonstrations and workshops.
There has been a ‘big house’ on this site since the 1500’s, when Grace O Malley, the famous Pirate Queen, built one of her many castles here. The current House – built in 1730 by the same family who still own it today – has an abundance of artefacts, artwork and treasures that will fascinate all culture-vultures with a total of 30 immaculately preserved rooms on show.
A visit to Kylemore will rank as an unforgettable memory. The dramatic landscape and iconic image of a gothic castle reflected in a Connemara lake has made Kylemore Abbey world-famous and it is now the largest tourist attraction in the west of Ireland. The Benedictine nuns invite visitors to experience the Victorian atmosphere of the Abbey's restored rooms, miniature gothic church, head gardener’s house and garden boy’s house. Learn of the tales of tragedy and romance, the engineering initiatives, model farms, royal visits and the Abbey's former role as a girls boarding school. Explore the many nature trails,woodland walks and the magical award-winning walled garden where in keeping with its Victorian heritage, only flower and vegetable varieties from that era are grown.
For more than a century, Kylemore has been the quintessential romantic nineteenth-century Irish castle overlooking a lake in the West of Ireland. To reach it from Galway, the visitor drives through splendidly lonesome countryside, flattish at first but then changing to mountains. At the foot of one such mountain, Kylemore rests majestically, making the journey seem very worthwhile for the combination of Godand man-made beauty rising in terraces from lake to mountain in a magical wooded setting. Kylemore in Irish suitably means ‘large wood’.
Its fairy-tale history started appropriately with a honeymoon in 1849, when Mitchell Henry, the son of a wealthy Manchester cotton merchant, married Margaret Vaughan of County Down and visited a Connemara that was just beginning to recover from the devastating effects of the potato famine a few years earlier. He was captivated by the scenery, and promised to build his wife a Gothic castle there, which he did in the years 1867-71, to the designs of Samuel Ussher Roberts, the Galway district engineer, and the architect James F. Fuller.
Killary Harbour (An Caoláire Rua in Irish) is Ireland's only fjord. It forms a partial border between counties Galway and Mayo. It is 16 kilometres long and in the centre it is over 45 metres deep.
On its northern shore lies the mountain of Mweelrea, 817 metres high.
Discover the world of wool and the interesting process from sheep-shearing to world-famous Irish knitwear creations at Leenane Sheep & Wool Centre. Meet the various breeds of sheep on display at Leenane or watch them being sheared in peak season. Learn not only about sheep farming in Connemara but follow the wool from sheep to yarn through daily carding, spinning and weaving demonstrations.Watch as these ancient skills are practised on spinning wheels and looms from the turn of the last century. Listen to interviews from locals who remember the past and Connemara traditions. Ask any woolly or sheepish questions you like.
Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park covers some 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Some of the Park's mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range. Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980.
Known the world over for its friendly people, charming streets, shopping and nightlife, Galway will refresh flagging spirits like no other place.
Rinville Park just outside Galway City has an ancient castle, a stately home and a 16th-century estate. Visitors can wander a network of coastal footpaths through dense woodland and open fields, and stop to take in stunning views of of Galway Bay, the City and the Burren, from Rinville Point and Saleen Point.
Wander Galway City's cobble-stoned streets and feel yourself stepping back in time to Medieval Ireland.
Modern day Athenry retains many of its medieval buildings and features and the award-winning Athenry Heritage Centre brings this Medieval Town to life using models, storyboards and audio-visual touch screen to celebrate and interpret the town's medieval past.
Athenry Heritage Centre
Oranmore Castle was built between the 13th and 15th centuries. Originally a De Burgo (Burke) stronghold, An Cáislean Mór or The Castle of the Well played a pivotal part in the defence of Galway during the Confederate Rebellion in the 1640's: provisions were shipped from the castle to the besieged fort of Galway.
A wonderfully atmospheric stronghold on the edge of Galway Bay, Oranmore Castle was featured on "Scariest Places on Earth" (US Television and YouTube), and is reputed to be haunted.
A visit to County Clare should always include a trip to Bunratty Castle and the adjoining folk park.
The castle, built in 1425, was restored in 1954 to its former Medieval splendour and houses the Bunratty Collection, 450 pieces of Medieval furniture and artifacts. At nighttime, the castle is the impressive setting for its popular Medieval banquets, held year round.
Within thegrounds is the folk park, where 19th Century life is vividly recreated. Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings, including a schoolhouse, post office and doctor's house in a living village setting. Bunratty Folk Park also includes Ardcroney Church, a former Church of Ireland building which was painstakingly moved, stone by stone, from County Tipperary, to Bunratty. Another reconstructed feature is Hazelbrook House, (rebuilt in the folk park in 2001) which was the family home of the Hughes Brothers. They produced HB ice cream, which became an Irish household name and visitors to Hazelbrook House will learn about ice cream making, from farm dairy to the modern day production plant.
There are numerous prehistoric structures in the Burren and the Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb, in Carran County Clare, is just one impressive example. It dates from around 2500BC.
Wedge tombs are named for their wedge shaped plan: they are narrower and lower towards the rear. The limestone area of The Burren provides plenty of large slabs for such purposes. In the same area there are over seventy megalithic tombs.
Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb
The name Poulnabrone literally means 'the hole of the sorrows' and it is one of the most famous Irish dolmens. The thin capstone sits on two high portal stones to create a chamber and a low cairn. This site dates back to about 2500 BC.
Un-cremated remains were found in the chamber as well and a number of grave goods were found in the tomb: a polished stone axe, two stone disc beads, a perforated bone pendant, part of a bone pin, two quartz crystals, flint and chert arrowheads and scrapers and over 60 shards of coarse pottery. In the same area there are in the region of seventy other tombs.
Poulnabrone Portal Tomb
Doolin Cave is one of Europe’s most compelling cave attractions. It is a truly authentic experience. ‘The Great Stalactite’ is here and this is your only opportunity to see such a large free hanging stalactite anywhere in the world.
From the moment you descend over 80ft into the first tunnel, with your guide, you will enter a world carved by water. Donning your hardhat, you will follow the rough-hewn route of the early explorers who first discovered Doolin Cave. When you enter the stunning, cathedral-like dome that houses the huge stalactite, you will be briefly plunged into a world of primitive darkness. Then, in a flash, you will be awed as the subtly-lit stalactite appears before you. And, far below, a magical stream carries to the hills outside, the water that carved the primeval world around you.
Thestalactite is 7.3metres in length and weighs over 10 tonnes. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that it is held on by a section of calcite, less than 0.3 m square. Visitors to Doolin Cave will experience an unforgettable adventure. You will become an explorer, as you make your way through the 100 metres long cave. It is a once in a life time opportunity to see something spectacular.
King John's Castle stands on King's Island, dominating the Medieval quarter of Limerick City. It was built to protect the river crossing just above the Shannon estuary as part of a strategy to control Ireland.
Visitors can view the well-preserved ruins of a Franciscan friary established by Thomas, Earl of Kildare, in 1464. The remains include a tower, nave, cloisters and living quarters.
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city in County Limerick. The city is situated on several curves and islands of the River Shannon, which spreads into an estuary shortly after Limerick.
The visitor centre has a good video on the history of the area which has neolithic and bronze age remains. it houses reproductions of the most significant archaeological finds.
At Lough Gur’s visitor centre, South of Limerick, one tells the story of the pre-Celtic settlers of Ireland who farmed and lived this peaceful valley. Over time the lake which dominated the everyday lives of the people became sacred. A gold and bronze spearhead, a shield and countless other objects were thrown into the water as offerings for the gods of the lake. The Visitor Centre houses an audio-visual show, exhibition of artefacts and display panels which interpret the story of man from the Stone Age onward. This story stretches over 5,000 years and continues to the present day people who still farm and dwell this valley.
In this ancient cathedral you can feel the celtic history. Other buildings in the area are also very impressive.
The back wall of the coombe contains a spectacular waterfall which in turn feeds the succession of lakes along the valley floor: Loughs Inchaquin, Uragh and Cloonee. Further lakes, Cummeenaloughaun and Cummeenadillure are contained in smaller hanging coombes around the waterfall with Lough Napeasta further out along the valley.
Plan to cross many bridges when in Cork. Ireland's second-largest city began life as an island and now spans both banks of the River Lee, with watery channels running beneath some of its main thoroughfares. The best way to experience this hilly southern seaport is on foot, following the signposted walking tour past St. Finn Barre's Cathedral and the riverside quadrangle of University College up the hill to red and white Shandon Church. Along the way, you'll meet plenty of the city's talkative residents.
Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork (Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross) situated in the centre of Cork City, Ireland. Designed by William Burges and consecrated in 1870, the Cathedral lies on a site where Christian worship has been offered since the seventh century.
UCC was established in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges - at Cork, Galway and Belfast. These new colleges were established in the reign of Queen Victoria, and named after her.
Queen's College, Cork (QCC) was established to provide access to higher education in the Irish province of Munster. Cork was chosen for the new college due to its place at the centre of transatlantic trade at the time and the presence of existing educational initiatives such as the Royal Cork Institution and a number of private medical schools.
Bantry House was the principal seat of the Earls of Bantry and is now owned by the Shelswell-White
family. It has been the residence of the family since about 1765. The Whites originally lived nearby
on Whiddy Island, and over the years acquired land in and around Bantry and all along Bantry Bay.
In 1765, the family bought Blackrock House on
the main land, which was then renamed Seafield House and subsequently, in 1816, Bantry House.
Ring of Kerry
Kissane Sheep Farm is a traditional, working sheep farm with approximately 1.000 mountain sheep and hundreds of lambs. The farm is run by John Kissane and his son, Sean, as it has been run by the family for the last 150 years.
Kissane Sheep Farm
In May 2005, the farm was opened for visitors to enjoy and to learn about sheep farming in Ireland. Many groups and individuals have since visited the farm enjoying its activities:
Sheep shearing demonstrations
Cuddle and bottle feed the orphan (pet) lambs
Marked mountain walks
Puzzle Walk and Treasure Trail
The fascinating beehive huts are characteristic of the area and owe their shape to the ancient method of construction known as drystone corbelling.
One of the finest examples of a stone fort in Ireland, Staigue Fort or as it is known in Gaelic Cathair Na Stéige in Castlecove County Kerry, is about 2,500 years old.
St Canice's Cathedral and Round Tower
St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower are an essential part of the structural heritage in the vibrant medieval city of Kilkenny. This ecclesiastical site was founded in the 6th century and named after St Canice. Cill Channigh is the Gaelic for the Church of Canice, the church that originally stood on the site in the 6th century.
The Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City. Tourists can enjoy climbing the Round Tower capturing great views of the city (weather permitting). St Canice’s Round Tower is one of only two Round Towers that people can climb in Ireland.
Dunmore Cave is eleven kilometres north of Kilkenny City and, like other caves across the country, is formed by limestone which was laid down over 300 million years ago. It contains almost a quarter of a mile of passages and at its deepest point is 150 foot below the surface. Although this is smaller than many of the caves around the country, the beauty and magic of its calcite formations as well as its scientific and historical interest make it one of Ireland's most fascinating caves.
The abbey was built around 1160 by the King of Ossory, Donal MacGillapatrick, for the Benedictine monks.
In 1180 it was taken over by Cistercian monks from Baltinglass Abbey. The Cistercian order was founded in 1098 in Citeaux. In 1228 there were 36 monks and 50 brothers in the abbey.
Originally humped and narrower, Carlisle bridge was a symmetrical, three semicircular arch structure constructed in granite with a Portland stone balustrade and obelisks on each of the four corners. A keystone head at the apex of the central span symbolises the River Liffey, corresponding to the heads on the Custom House which personify the other great rivers of Ireland.
When the bridge was reopened c.1882 it was renamed for Daniel O'Connell when the statue in his honour was unveiled.
Glasnevin is the largest cemetery in Ireland, situated on Finglas Road in Dublin. It is estimated that there are about 1,200,000 burials of several denominations and nationalities in it. Glasnevin cemetery was established by Daniel O'Connell in 1828 as a place where people could bury their dead of all religions with dignity. Now a national monument it is a vital part of the Irish Heritage story.
Daniel O’Connell was a famous Irish person who lived during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. He helped Catholics to win the right to become Members of Parliament. He also wanted Ireland to have its own parliament. He became known as the “Liberator” because he looked for rights for Irish people.
Christ Church Cathedral
Dublin Writers Museum
The Irish literary tradition is one of the most illustrious in the world, famous for four Nobel Prize winners and for many other writers of international renown.
A visit will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about this world famous beer, from how Guinness is made, to the ancient craft of Guinness barrel making in the cooperage and on to the creation of the world famous brand. The highlight for many visitors is the Gravity Bar, where they collect their end of tour pint of Guinness and can relax and enjoy the 360 degree views across Dublin City.
Thanks for your attention, I hope you enjoyed!