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Wicklow , County Wicklow

The name Wicklow is the modern version of Wykinglo – Viking Meadow – the name of the 9th century Viking settlement here. After the Vikings came the early Christians , whose traces remain in the fragments of a 13th century Franciscan friary at the West end of Main Street. Notable 18th century buildings include the […]

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Inchydoney Island , County Cork

At the head of Clonakilty Bay is a peninsula known as Inchydoney Island , and so called because up to 1845 it was cut off from the mainland at high tide. The high tide no longer rises high enough to isolate Inchydoney , and two causeways now link the ‘island’ to the mainland , giving […]

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Moyne Abbey , County Mayo

This large ruin of a friary shares much with its neighbour , Rosserk. Both compete for the title of largest and most impressive ecclesiastical ruins in Mayo. Moyne was founded as a Franciscan friary by the Burke family , built in late Irish Gothic style and consecrated in 1462. The church has a nave and […]

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Cloughoughter Castle , County Cavan

Rising from an Island is Lough Oughter is a massive , circular stone tower , 59ft high. The lower storey , with walls 6ft thick , was built in the 13th century on an existing crannog , or artificial island , which had natural rock as a foundation. During the 17th century struggles between the […]

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Foaty Island , County Cork

Surrounded by mud flats where wildfowl thrive , Foaty Island (also called Fota Island) includes a 70 acre wildlife park owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland. The park contains cheetahs , and , wandering virtually unhindered , giraffes , zebras , wallabies and a large collection of other animals. There is also an […]

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Castle Roche , County Louth

The most romantic ruin in Louth ,  Castle Roche is built on a pinnacle of rock , which commands spectacular views of the countryside. It has a large D-shaped curtain of castellated walls and a fine twin-towered gatehouse , around uneven , grassed-over floors. It was built in the 13th century to defend the frontier […]

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Kerry Head , County Kerry

High above the wave-lashed cliffs of Kerry Head , at the most Westerly point of the headland , stand two 2000 year old promontory forts , stone built defences strung across the neck of sea-girt promontories to reduce the area of attack. Today only crumbling semicircles of stone wall a few feet high and acres […]

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Dromore Castle , County Limerick

The Victorian architect Edward Godwin borrowed from fantasy land when he built Dromore Castle for the 3rd Earl of Limerick. He created a fortress that would have withstood the most determined attack , had such an attack been likely in the 19th century. Tradition has it that Godwin played on the earl’s fears of a […]

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Fanad Head , County Donegal

A road leads along the West coast of Lough Swilly to Fanad Head , where on stormy days wild Atlantic seas beat against the cliffs. A short way to the South is the small resort of Portsalon , in a beautiful setting beside the broad sands of Ballymastocker Bay. Just West of the headland , […]

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Wexford , County Wexford

Narrow streets only 12ft wide in places – a legacy of Viking times – are crammed along Wexford’s waterfront , where the quays tell of the times when the town was a busy port. But the harbour silted up in the late 19th century and Wexford lost its trade to Waterford. The quaysides are wooden […]