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All of Iona’s religious buildings were erected during the Reformation. Nearly all of the ancient Celtic crosses were destroyed then too, though a few remain and are on view near St Mary’s Cathedral. It was in the last century, when the island was bought by...

This is a very pleasant town in the midlands of Ireland. You are very likely to pass through on your tours of Ireland.   The Cistercian Abbey, after which the town was named, has long since disappeared. But you can see clearly the work carried out by an improving...

Armagh became a centre of learning when Saint Patrick chose it as the site for his main church around AD 445. It remains one of Ireland's most venerated cities. The city’s name derives from its Gaelic name – Ard Mhacha – which in turn comes from...

Of the 49 islands which constitute Orkney (not ‘the Orkneys’, or the ‘the Orkney Islands’), Hoy is the 2nd largest, after the island called Mainland. It is only 14 miles by 6, but even so you will have to walk a good 6 miles to...

Much of County Cavan is boggy and forested. The county is also scattered with a hundred lakes. It is a landscape within which only the most durable ancient monuments have survived.   Centuries ago the region was even more water-ridden and wooded than it is today. That made the...

To the Northwest of the city of Cork is Blarney Castle. This is a 15th century castle.   It is a fine stronghold built in 1446 by Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster.   There is also the famous Blarney Stone. To kiss the stone, you need to have a serious head...

Naas is the county town of Kildare. Its proximity to “the Curragh” and “Punchstown” (two famous horse racing courses) has made it a centre for horse racing.   The seat of the “Kings of Leinster” once stood here on the site of the large North Mote.   St Davids Church,...

The early Scottish castles, Norman in design consisted of a mound called a ‘motte’, was basically earth turned out of the moat (itself an essential feature) on which was erected a timber keep annexed in an enclosure called a bailey.   The mound and ditch of Duffus...

Until 1830 this island was called Lamlash, which is now the name of the town on the Island of Arran which it faces. Before that it was Eilean Molaise, after St Mo Las, the 17th century Columban monk who lived here, supposedly until he reached...

Irelands best known beer is without doubt is GUINNESS It’s a smooth black beer with a creamy off-white head. It has its origins in the 18th century bittersweet beer known as Porter. Its distinctive colour and flavour are imparted by the addition of roasted barley.   The Irish began brewing their...