Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Grianan of Aileach

Grianan of Aileach

The view from Aileach is breathtaking. The glistening waters of Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly are clear as is the form of the entire peninsula. A windy and exposed place, Grianan has been a silent witness to the history of Ireland. Grianan of Aileach is probably the best known monument in Inishowen. Situated on a hill top 800 feet above sea level the stone fort was probably built on an earthen rath. Legend states that the giants of Inishowen are lying sleeping but when the sacred sword is removed they will spring to life reclaiming their ancient lands.

Located in Inishowen, Grianan of Aileach is an impressive stone ringfort with surrounding earthworks perched on the summit of Greenan Mountain. The name Grianan of Aileach has been variously translated as "Stone Palace of the Sun", "Fortress of the Sun" and "Stone Temple of the Sun". Although heavily restored, there are no doubts as to the antiquity of the site as it is one of only five Irish locations marked on Ptolemy of Alexandria's 2nd century map of the world.

Noted in the mythologies of Ireland, it seems the fort was first constructed around 1700 BC, by the Tuatha de Danann. It has been ascertained that it was the Palace of the Northern Princes, from a period long before Christianity (AD 400) up until the 14th century. The Princes of Aileach play an important role in Irish history often becoming Ard Righ (or High King).

Discover this marker of history on your next Celtic Tours trip to the Inishowen Peninsula.

No comments:

Networked Blogs