04 Jan Navan Fort , County Armagh
For nearly seven hundred years Navan Fort was the great seat of Northern power , rivaling Tara in the South.
It was here that the kings of Ulster ruled and Queen Macha built her palace on the earthwork’s summit.
It’s a site of deeply mystical significance , but one also of the enormous archeological interest.
The court of the Knight of the red Branch , Ireland’s most prestigious order of chivalry , was based here too. The knights , like those of the Round Table, are historical figures entirely subsumed into legend , their greatest champion being the legendary defender of Ulster , Cuchulainn. The stories of these warriors’ deeds are recited and sung in what’s now know as the Ulster Cycle. Their dynasty was finally vanquished in 332AD, when three brothers (the Collas) , in a conquest known as the Black Pig’s Dyke , destroyed Navan Fort , razing it to the ground and leaving only the earthen mounds visible today. The defeated Red Branch Knights were driven eastwards into Down and Antrim , and were little heard of again.
Visit this mystical place on our extended Belfast tours or any Ireland tours. Another hidden gem.