It’s been said that history repeats itself. And when it does, we are often reminded of the past through architecture. All over the world, buildings reflect the time in which they were constructed and those who built them. Some structures have stood for hundreds of years, while others have only lasted a few decades before succumbing to natural forces or human neglect.
However long these buildings last, each one tells its own story about how people lived and what they value at different times in history. In this article, we will highlight six places around Ireland where you can get an idea of how Irish citizens lived from medieval times up until today by looking at their built environment alone: castles, town squares, museums, and more.
Dublin Castle, Dublin
Dublin Castle was built in the 13th century on the site of an earlier Viking settlement. It served as the seat of British administration in Ireland until 1922 and is now a major tourist attraction. The castle complex includes several buildings, the most notable of which are the Gothic-style State Apartments and St Patrick’s Hall, which is used for ceremonial occasions such as state dinners. The most recent addition to the castle is the Garden of Remembrance, which was opened in 1966 to commemorate those who died fighting for Irish freedom. So prepare your guide to castles in Ireland beforehand and add Dublin castle to your travel plans. You will not regret it!
The Rock of Cashel, Tipperary
The Rock of Cashel is a spectacular sight. The castle sits atop an outcrop of limestone in the town of Cashel, in the province of Munster. It is thought to have been the seat of the Kings of Munster for several hundred years before being gifted to the Church in 1101. The buildings on the site date from the 12th and 13th centuries and include a Round Tower, a 15th-century Gothic cathedral, and a Romanesque chapel. The Rock of Cashel is one of the most visited sites in Ireland and is well worth a visit for anyone interested in history or architecture.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland and the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland. The building dates from the 12th century and has been rebuilt several times over the centuries. It is most famous for its connection to St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who is said to have been buried on the site. The cathedral is also notable for its striking Gothic architecture and its role in Irish history – it was here that Thoma. If you ever find yourself in Dublin, a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a must.
The Ring of Kerry, Kerr
The Ring of Kerry is a 179-kilometer loop around the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland. The route takes in some of the most stunning scenery in the country, including the Lakes of Killarney, the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range, and the Atlantic Coast. Along the way, you will pass by several historic sites, such as Ross Castle and Muckross House. If you have the time, I would recommend taking a leisurely drive around the ring – it is an experience you will never forget.
The Giant’s Causeway, Antrim
The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland. It is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. The columns are up to 12 meters high and have been eroded over time by the sea and wind to create a unique landscape. Even if you are not interested in geology, the Giant’s Causeway is well worth a visit for its sheer beauty, so be sure to consider adding it to your Ireland itinerary.
Newgrange is a prehistoric monument in the Boyne Valley in County Meath. It is a large circular mound with a passage and chamber inside that is aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice. Newgrange was built by the ancient people of Ireland over 5,000 years ago and is one of the most famous examples of Neolithic architecture in Europe. A visit to Newgrange is a must for anyone interested in Irish history or archaeology. And if you do visit, be sure to get there early – the site is very popular and tickets are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
So there you have it – six destinations in Ireland that every history and architecture enthusiast should visit. Regardless of where your interests lie, you will surely find something to love in this beautiful country. So start planning your trip today! If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, be sure to add these sites to your itinerary. You won’t regret it!
Thanks to Unsplash for photography.