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Slane, County Meath

Looking north across the Boyne, Slane is a pretty sight. The main road sweeps down beside a ruined church to a long, narrow bridge, and beyond that, on a hillside, rises the well-planned 18th-century village. The octagonal focal point where the roads meet at its centre is distinguished by four dignified Georgian houses built diagonally […]

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Clonfert, County Galway

A village in the vale of the River Suck, Clonfert became known for the monastery founded on this site by Brendan the Navigator in AD 563. Clonfert monastery was a famous centre of learning, but was destroyed five times between its foundation and the 12th century, by Vikings and by fire. However, much of the […]

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Monasterboice, County Louth

This former monastery is one of Ireland’s best-known and oldest religious sites, with the ruins of two churches, a Round Tower, a pre-Gothic sundial, a decorated grave slab and three High Crosses all packed into a cemetery. Founded in the 6th century by St Buite, or Boyce, the monastery became a great seat of learning, […]

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Hacketstown, County Carlow

Rebels on their way back from the Battle of Carlow were ambushed in Hacketstown, and the bloody lighting between rebels and yeomanry continued until 250 rebels lay dead. Today, Hacketstown is a more peaceful place as a centre for walking in the Wicklow Mountains. The 97511 summit of Eagle Hill, a mile south of the […]

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Fermoy, County Cork

This prosperous market town straddles a tree-lined stretch of the River Blackwater on the main Cork – Dublin road. But crumbling barracks ruins mark Fermoy as a former British garrison. lt owes its origins to a farsighted Scots merchant, John Anderson, who bought the land in 1791, laid out the   town, provided the site for […]

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Castledermot, County Kildare

A step through a gateway at the southern end of this straggling town takes visitors back 800 years in an instant, into the stillness of a 13th-century Franciscan friary, which was plundered by Robert Bruce in 1317. Later, in 1541, the friary was suppressed, Only the walls of the church remain, attached to a square […]

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Clonmel, County Tipperary

With splendid views of the rugged Comeragh Mountains only a few miles to the south, Clonmel, whose Irish name means ‘honey meadow’, is one of Ireland’s most charming towns. It is Tipperary’s county town, with an intimate atmosphere within the remains of its old walls. The town’s two gates still stand at either end of […]

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Finn MacCool’s Fingers, County Cavan

In a quiet pine glade on Shantemon Hill, five great boulders stand in a row on the emerald grass. Named after the legendary Irish giant-slayer Finn MacCool, or MacCumhaill, the stones are thought to have been erected during the Bronze Age (between 1750 and 500BC), but their original purpose is unknown. Shantemon Hill is said […]

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Grey Abbey, County Down

Thanks to being retained for parish worship for much of the 17th and 18th centuries, more remains of Grey Abbey church than of many other Irish monasteries. Built on Strangford Lough, it is set in mature parkland and has an atmosphere of monastic calm. The Abbey was founded in 1193 by Affreca, daughter of Godred, […]

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Knappogue Castle, County Clare

The battlemented keep of Knappogue – built by one of the MacNamras in 1467 – and its later extensions were rescued from ruin in the 1960s by Mark Edwin Andrews of Houston, Texas, a former assistant secretary of the US Navy, and his architect wife. They transformed a mere shell into an authentic setting for […]