Category Archives for "Ancient Ireland"
Have you ever wondered about ancient Irish mythology and the significance of so many ancient monuments and structures in Ireland? Many of these still exist today bringing the old stories and myths to life as they bridge recorded history with a time we have long forgotten and now only recalled in the written myths and legends. A day trip from Dublin brings some of these ancient myths to life and even for those not so inclined to believe in such things, all will marvel at the intricate solar alignments and relationships between nearly all of the megalithic structures in Ireland.
The month of may is a magnificent time of year to visit Ireland! The summer crowds have not yet arrived, and the weather is beginning to be a bit warmer during the day with less rain than the winter months. May is also one of our favorites because at the beginning of the month, we celebrate the Ancient Irish feast of Bealtaine on the Hill of Uisneach.
Thinking of coming to Ireland in May? Watch the short video below shared with us by our friendly guides at Uisneach and consider joining us on our Ireland's Five Provinces Experience where we run a special itinerary the first week of May so that our guests can experience Bealtaine for themselves much like the feast has been celebrated for thousands of years!
See you on The Hill!
What is so special about visiting the many stone circles, tombs, monuments and holy wells in Ireland? Sure, some are quite interesting to see but other than a nice view and stroll around an ancient place, is there anything more? Well for some, just a nice visit may be all there is although for others, the experience can be quite powerful.
Ancient Irish custom was to mark the entrance to the graveyard with a prominent marker such as a tree or stone. In Mullingar, County Westmeath, we found the last remaining De Profundis Stone in Ireland as the others have long since been lost or moved aside.
This particular stone marks the entrance to the Kilbride-Veston graveyard. The funeral procession would pause here and the coffin would rest on the stone while Psalm 129 was recited. Then, new pall bearers would carry the deceased into the cemetery and to the grave.
A somber place to visit but also a glimpse of the ancient past. It was here than many paused for a last earthly rest before their final committal to the darkness of the earth.
See this stone on the Magical Midlands tour with Ancient Ireland Tourism.
Galway is a wonderful town with nice views, a great pub and food scene, and an overall lively place to be. Sooner or later though, we yearn for a bit of peace and quiet and a slower pace. Many visitors to Galway trek out into the Connemara and we decided to head south into The Burren. Our guides at Ancient Ireland Tourism mapped out a day trip for us a day ahead and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Heading out of Galway on the Limerick Road, we headed for Kinvara following the Wild Atlantic Way. Along the way, stop off and see Dunguire Castle right before entering Kinvara. Parking can be a bit of a challenge along the road and in tiny lots but continue down the road until a spot opens up and walk back to the castle.
The Beara peninsula in Counties Kerry and Cork in Ireland is a path less traveled by the tour buses and not often found in the guidebooks. Our smaller vans can make this trip and we found the drive to be a worthwhile excursion and despite some of the very narrow roads, a peaceful respite from the touristy Ring of Kerry and Dingle peninsulas.
At the northernmost point of Ireland is Malin Head, where according to the proprietors of Farren’s Bar, Ireland’s northernmost pub, the sun shines most of the time. This was certainly true when I arrived from Horn Head where the morning had been wet with a misty rain. Malin Head is a remarkable place to visit and do a little light hiking. The views are spectacular and the cliffs as grand as any in Ireland. Even better, for those of us seeking to connect with the ancient and mythic past, Malin Head is known by another name: Banba’s Crown.
Michael Dames, in his epic tome “Mythic Ireland“, shares quite a bit about Lough Gur. The lake is closely associated with the sun goddess Áine who is said to make the waters sparkle by opening the skies to their widest over Lough Gur. The ancient story tellers also had much to say about the area and caution is advised, particularly from the faerie folk. There is even an entrance to a cave rumored to be the entrance to the land of Tír na nÓg. (The entrance is along the path leading to Bourchier’s Castle although not posted.)
The north of Ireland, while just as beautiful as the rest of Ireland, still reminds us of a not too distant past when things were not peaceful as they are today. The murals of Belfast and Derry City remind visitors of the past Troubles as well as the reality that Ireland today remains divided as two nations.
On our tours which venture into the north, we are met with local guides in Belfast and Derry, most with intimate knowledge of the past Troubles who share a firsthand experience of what it once was like to live in the north.