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Durrow Abbey, County Offaly

Little is left of this once great Abbey, founded in 553 by St Columba, or Colmcille. The Venerable Bede called it ‘a noble monastery known as Dearmach, the Field of Oaks, because of the oak forest in which it stands’. Though it was plundered and burnt several times during the Dark Ages, its 9th or […]

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Ballylongford, County Kerry

To the North of this little farmland village stand the imposing Gothic ruins of Lislaughtin Friary, built in 1478 by John O’Connor Kerry. This once-magnificent friary stands in verdant countryside, ivy-clad and roofless, its tower and cloisters gone and bushes growing out of its centre. But the remaining walls are well preserved. Its East window […]

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Clonakilty, County Cork

At the top of a winding inlet is the lively market town, laid out 1614 by the 1st Earl of Cork. The tall-spired Catholic church dominates the square. The handsome Presbyterian church, built in 1861, was converted into a post office after its once prosperous congregation, mainly farmers and land stewards, gradually died out. In […]

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Rock Of Dunamase, County Laois

A dramatic 150ft rock outcrop crowned by the ruined walls of Masg Castle (or Dun Masg) soars above the low Laois countryside. Before the arrival of St Patrick in AD432, the rock and surrounding land were the property of the O’Moore clan chieftain Laois Ceannmor, who gave his name to the area. One of the […]

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Glenmalur Valley, County Wicklow

The Glenmalur Valley is considered by many to be the most spectacular of County Wicklow’s glens, by others to be sombre and forbidding. It carries the River Avonbeg and begins just South of Rathdrum, but becomes a long, narrow glacial amphitheatre, with steep sides, above Drumgoff. Where the Wicklow Mountains road crosses the Valley, a […]

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Ross Errilly Abbey, County Galway

Even though it lies in ruins, this Franciscan friary is unusually complete and gives an interesting insight into monastic life. Ross Errilly Abbey (or Ross Abbey) was founded in the middle of the 14th century by the de Burgo family, although most of what remains belongs to the 15th century. The castellated tower, built over […]

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Portglenone, County Antrim

The River Bann divides this village in two, with part of the population living in County Londonderry and the rest in County Antrim. They are connected by a wide bridge. Black basalt stone has been used in many of the buildings in the village, particularly the churches, such as the 18th century Protestant church that […]

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Malahide, County Dublin

South-West of this seaside town is the stately, greystone Malahide Castle, home of the Talbot family from 1185 to 1973, when the last Lord Talbot de Malahide died. Its core is 14th century, though the turrets and battlements are later additions. Inside are rooms furnished with period furniture, including the striking Great Hall with a […]

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The Crown Liquor Bar, County Antrim

This ‘gin palace’ is undoubtedly one of the finest Victorian buildings in Belfast. Its exterior is decorated with colourful tiles. Inside it is a riot of stained and painted glass and tiles, carved oak screens, gaslights, polished mahogany, glinting and gleaming brass pipes and taps. Heraldic lions and griffins crouch on top of the carved […]

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Mellifont Abbey , County Louth

A few low stone walls and ruined buildings cupped in a hollow of protective hills , are all that is left of Ireland’s first Cistercian Abbey. It was founded in 1142 by St Malachy , Bishop of Armagh , after a stay in the French Cistercian Monastery at Clairvaux. St Bernard , Clairvaux’s Abbot , […]