Ireland is a country of antiquities: the age of some structures preserved on its territory exceeds the age of the "gray pyramids". Numerous ancient churches, medieval castles attract crowds of lovers of antiquity and romantics.
But the value of this country is also in its amazing harsh nature, which sometimes seems to be the surface of another planet. The combination of ancient cliffs and early Christian monasteries, the ruins of knights' castles and the vibrant greenery of forests and parks, lies the irresistible charm of Ireland.
Dublin Castle: Continuity of Power
Dublin Castle was built in 1230. Over the centuries, the castle was rebuilt, but you can still touch the ancient walls - since that time, a round fortress tower has been preserved, which was in turn a repository of knightly armor, a treasury, a prison, an archive.
Dublin Castle served as the residence of the Irish king and British governors, presidents of Ireland. It is currently used for representational purposes, and it hosts conferences and high-level meetings. The rest of the time the castle is intended for tourists.
On the territory of the castle you can visit:
- State apartments
- Viking fortifications
- The tower
- Royal Chapel
- A park.
State apartments - 9 rooms associated with the life of former high-ranking residents: living rooms, a dining room that has become a portrait gallery, a reception hall, private quarters. The apartments showcase exquisite restrained interiors, furniture, decorated with paintings of the 17th-13th centuries.
Excavations were carried out under the castle, and the remains of Viking defenses of a thousand years ago were found. The excursion combines the descent to this building with an acquaintance with the oldest part of the castle - the tower of the XIII century. The dungeon of the castle is famous for its acoustics; live classical music is often played here.
The 13th century Royal Chapel was destroyed and rebuilt in the early 19th century, but has now lost its religious status, remaining an architectural landmark in Dublin, where the arts center is located.
Behind the fortress walls, gardens have been cultivated since the 17th century, of which 5: 1 is the main one and 4 are smaller, small gardens are called "4 seasons".
The Bridge of Giants: An Ancient Legend Looks Convincing
In 3 km from the city of Bushmills there is an amazing corner of nature - the Giants 'Bridge (or Giants' Causeway). It looks like a cape, consisting entirely of six-octagonal stone pillars, tightly adjacent to each other.
Scientists explain the unique phenomenon by volcanic activity in this place about 50 million years ago. But local legends tell about a giant who built a bridge here from stone pillars to get to the enemy faster. But the enemy was quicker and destroyed the bridge. Huge pillars of such a regular, man-made shape that outwardly it is very similar to the truth.
Not far from the Causeway of the Giants are the ruins of a medieval castle.
Kinsale (Cork): historic sites and cute bars
Kinsale is a picturesque Irish town with colorful houses and ancient buildings. Kinsale has 2 17th century forts:
- Fort Charles, built in the shape of a star
- Fort James, ruins of a 1607 defensive structure.
Desmond Castle is an ancient customs house built in 1500. In subsequent centuries it served as a prison, now it houses the International Wine Museum. The Historical Museum is located in the building of the old market.
Temple Bar (Dublin): Old Ireland for tourists
Temple Bar is a historic district of Dublin, founded in the 14th century and restored at the end of the 20th century to the delight of numerous tourists. In the 17th century, rich mansions with gardens were built here. This is an area of eternal celebration - performances by street performers, a place where living sculptures work. Book and flea markets open on the cobblestones of the old streets.
The numerous nightclubs located here make the Temple Bar the center of Dublin's nightlife. It also houses the famous Red Temple Bar Pub, opened in 1804.
Jameson Distillery Museum (Dublin): Fun Guided Tour
The Museum of the Irish brand of whiskey Jameson is located in the building of the historic distillery, from where the victorious procession of Jameson whiskey began around the world. The first owner, John Jameson, started his business in 1780. Now other areas have been allocated for the main production, and a small part has been left in the old building for demonstration to tourists.
The distillery museum offers excursions accompanied by tasting of the drink.
Newgrange - the mysterious palaces of the ancients
The age of Newgrange is 2500 BC, that is, the structure is older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge. Outwardly, Newgrange resembles a mound, bounded on one side by a wall of stones decorated with ancient carvings. It is part of the Bruno-Boyne mound complex: 40 ancient mounds are located on the banks of the Boyne River, on an area of only 10 km 2 .
Newgrange is a tomb: the remains of a black man were found here. But those who assume that this is a cult building, the Temple of the Sun, may also be right. Inside, a long passage is built of huge, tightly fitted stones that do not allow moisture to pass through. In the middle it is crossed by the only room where the walls are also decorated with drawings.
There is no natural light near the premises of Newgrange, but during the winter solstice (December 19-23), a ray of sun at dawn illuminates the tomb for 20 minutes through a small opening. Only the lucky ones can see this ancient magic: 50 people a year who won a special lottery. The rest of the tourists are helped to imagine a magical action, illuminated by searchlights.
Kilmingham Prison Museum (Dublin): Tourists Need Different Experiences ...
Kilmingham Prison was built at the end of the 18th century and existed in this capacity until 1924. The incredible labyrinths of the building can disorient anyone, so it's best to keep up with the guide. Kilmingham in Dublin "worked" as a Bastille: in addition to dangerous criminals, terrorists and objectionable politicians were imprisoned here. Conditions for the prisoners were extremely harsh, but wealthy families could pay for a cell with a fireplace and better food for a prisoner. The executions were carried out directly in the prison building: first, just in front of the building, then a special cell was built.
At the moment, the building is also a memorial to the 1916 Easter Rising, the memory of which Ireland still preserves. It was here that the executions of its participants took place.
Tourists are shown prison cells of different times, they talk about famous prisoners. Within the walls of the prison, the opposition even signed an agreement with the government (Kilmenhelm Agreement).
Keir Castle (South Tipperary): apparent total inaccessibility
The powerful medieval castle of Cair is located in the center of Cair, in the middle of the river that flows through the city. The castle was built in 1142, and despite the antiquity it is better preserved than other Irish fortresses. The Irish themselves ironically that the owners took care of him: despite the powerful structures, Kare always surrendered without a fight.
In the castle, you can stroll through the courtyard, visit the owners' quarters and climb the towers. Medieval surroundings attract photo and selfie lovers, as well as cinematographers. Several films have been filmed in the castle, including Excalibur, a film about King Arthur's sword.
Kells Abbey (Meath) - a monument of the early Middle Ages
The Abbey in the city of Kells is the best preserved example of religious buildings of the early Middle Ages. The abbey was founded in 554 AD. Saint Columba, Columba's house awaits visitors. The territory has preserved the famous Irish towers of the 9th-10th centuries: high stone towers, in which the monks fled from raids.
Burren (Claire): vegetation on the lunar surface
Another Irish landscape that amazes with its unearthly appearance is the Burren. Huge stone slabs occupy an area of 1300 km 2 , between which stunted-looking plants grow on a thin layer of soil. In fact, the Burren is a unique area where alpine and tropical plants, meadow and forest grasses grow. Biologists have counted 200 species of orchids alone - and this is in Ireland, on a cold rocky plateau!