Banff Beach
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Northeast Scotland

The northern and eastern slopes of the Grampian Mountains are draped with a long broad, green mantle of fertile lowlands, fringed with forests and hemmed around with long, sandy beaches and rugged, bird-haunted cliffs, bejewelled here and there with picturesque little fishing villages.   Many visitors pass by this corner of the country in their […]

Roscommon Castle
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Roscommon, County Roscommon

Roscommon is an old wool-town, deriving its name (Coman’s wood) from a monastery founded here by St. Coman in 746.   The most conspicuous building is the huge Roscommon Castle, immediately north of the town, to the left of the road. It was erected by Sir Robert de Ufford, justiciar of Ireland, in 1280 but […]

Ceide Fields
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Prehistoric Ireland (8000BC–150 BC)

The earliest known human settlement of Ireland occurred in the Mesolithic 8000BC, when tribes from Europe crossed to Ireland by boat from Scotland, or possibly across a land-bridge from Britain or the Isle of Man, to the east coast of Ireland. Hunter-gatherer habitation sites and shell-middens have been found at Lough Boora, County Offaly (circa […]

Killespugbrone
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Knocknarea, County Sligo

West of Sligo, on the south side of the estuary, is the resort of Strandhill. On the shore to the north is the church of Killespugbrone (church of Bishop Bronus), named after a disciple of St. Patrick. A curious feature of this little ruin is that the round-headed doorway normally at the west end, is […]

Edzell Castle
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Edzell, Aberdeenshire

The picturesque village of Edzell, with its broad main street and grandiose monumental arch, dates from the early 19th century when Lord Panmure decided that the original medieval village, a mile to the west, spoiled the view from Edzell Castle. The old village was razed and the villagers moved to this pretty, planned settlement.   […]

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Bective Abbey, County Meath

Bective Abbey, on the left bank of the Boyne close to Bective Bridge is one of the more picturesque of the ruined abbeys of Meath. It was founded in 1147 for Cistercians by Murchad O’Melaghlin, King of Meath and soon rose to importance, its abbot being a lord of Parliament. Hugh de Lacy, procurator-general, who […]

Hermitage Castle, Hawick
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Hermitage Castle, Hawick

A massive collection of stone, with a heavy cubist beauty, Hermitage Castle sits isolated beside a rushing stream surrounded by bleak, empty moorland. Dating from the 13th century, but substantially rebuilt in the 15th, it embodies the brutal history of the Borders; the stones themselves almost speak of the past. Sir Walter Scott’s favourite castle, […]

Valentia Island, County Kerry
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Valentia Island, County Kerry

Valetina Island – also known as Valencia – with its dramatic cliffs at Bray Head, is separated from the mainland by a torturous sound with narrow entrances. It is 11km long and 3km broad, and was once famous for its slate. The original Altlantic cable was finally laid by the cable ship The Great Eastern, […]

St Andrews Cathedral, Fife
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St Andrews Cathedral, Fife

Situated at the eastern end of North Street is the ruined western end of St Andrews Cathedral, once the largest and one of the most magnificent cathedrals in Britain; the striking ruins convey a sense of its immensity. Although it was founded in 1160, it wasn’t consecrated until 1318. It was a focus of pilgrimage […]

Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles
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Thurles, County Tipperary

Thurles is an ancient episcopal market town, where in 1174 Strongbow met his match at the hands of Donal O’Brien and Roderick O’Connor. The castle (12th century) guards the bridge over the Suir, and there is another smaller fort near the square.   The handsome Cathedral of the Assumption in Lombardo Romanesque style (1865-72) by […]