Explore the ancient history of Ireland at Neolithic sites. Here are just a few:
The Loughcrew Cairns
The Loughcrew Cairns, also known as the Hills of the Witch, are a group of Neolithic passage tombs dating to 3000 BC. The tombs are located on three different hills and Cairn T, one of the largest tombs in the complex, is situated on Cairnbane East. Inside this tomb lies a cruciform chamber, a corbelled roof and some of the most beautiful examples of Neolithic art in Ireland. During the Vernal and Autumn Equinox people gather at dawn in Cairn T to watch sunlight enter the chamber and illuminate the inside of the tomb.
Newgrange was constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.), making it older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Newgrange was built during the Neolithic or New Stone Age by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley. Knowth and Dowth are similar mounds that together with Newgrange have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Beneath the wild boglands of North Mayo lies the Céide Fields, the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, consisting of field systems, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs. The stone walled fields, extending over thousands of acres are almost 6,000 years old, the oldest known in the world. They are covered by a natural blanket bog with it's own unique vegetation and wildlife. The Visitor Centre has won several awards, including the Gold Medal for architecture. It is located beside some of the most spectacular cliffs and rock formations in Ireland and a viewing platform is positioned on the edge of the 110m high cliff.
Perched spectacularly on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean, this is the largest of the prehistoric stone forts of the Aran Islands. It is enclosed by three massive dry-stone walls and a "chevaux-de-frise" consisting of tall blocks of limestone set vertically into the ground to deter attackers.
Hidden within the tranquil scenery of North Co. Roscommon is the Ancient Royal Site of Cruachan (Rathcroghan), a four square mile archaeological complex dating back over 5000 years. The literary home of Queen Meave, the Warrior Queen mentioned in the Ulster Cycle and the main protagonist in the story of the Táin Bó Cuailnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley), Rathcroghan is one of 5 ancient Provincial Royal sites dating back to the Iron Age and played a central part in the ancient history of Ireland.
This lovely recumbent stone circle is locally known as the Druid's Altar, and is located on the edge of a rocky terrace with fine views to the sea about a mile away. The word Drombeg means 'the small ridge'.
This circle lies in the town of Kenmare itself, not far from the Cromwell Bridge. Unlike any other ring in Muster, this one is egg-shaped, measuring 17.4 x 15.8m (56 x 49ft). Such shapes are unusual; their design could be a late geometrical development.
Dolmen of the Four Moals
Ballina is a lovely little town on the estuary of the Moy River. on a small hill near the railway station, lies the dolmen of the Four Maols. It is immediately beside the road and is signposted as a National Monument.
On the east of the lane behind the Kilclooney church lies this magnificent site, composed by two dolmens within the remains of a 25m (82ft) long cairn.
Visit these Neolithic Sites in Ireland and more on your next self-drive tour of Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations.