National Monuments

Kilnasaggart Pillar Stone, Jonesborough. co. Armagh c.700 a.d

The Kilnasaggart Pillar Stone is one of the earliest datable stone monuments in Ireland. It stands 2 metres tall in a field near the village of Jonesborough in co. Armagh. The ogham script on the [...]

Newgrange, Donore. co.Meath 3200 b.c

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is Newgrange, the 'Mother Ship' of all Irish ancient monuments. It is part of a complex of at least 35 similar type monuments built along a bend of the River [...]

Dunsoghly Castle, St.Margarets. co.Dublin c.1450

This national monument is the impressive Dunsoghly Castle located only about 2 miles from the runway of Dublin Airport. It is one of the few 15th century fortified tower houses in Ireland to have survived intact. [...]

Swords Round Tower & Belfrey, Swords. co. Dublin – c.10th-14th a.d. (Sord-‘clear or pure’)

The 10th century Swords Round Tower is 26 m high and is instantly recognizable from it's crumbling windows and collapsed cap. The tower also possesses a stone cross at it's apex, something that is shared [...]

St Bridget’s Cathedral, Kildare Town. co.Kildare – 1230

St Bridget's Cathedral was built on top of the same site that St Brigid founded her nunnery in the 5th century a.d. It is believed that Brigid’s mother was kidnapped by Irish pirates from Portugal [...]

The Beaghmore Stone Circles, Cookstown. co. Tyrone – 2900 b.c > 1200 b.c

The mysterious and desolate Beaghmore Stone Circles were discovered by local peat cutters in the 1940s in the mountains near Cookstown in co. Tyrone. The site is made up of 7 large stone circles and [...]

The Rock of Cashel, Cashel. co.Tipperary 11th-14th centuries (Caiseal / Rock of the Kings)

The Rock of Cashel is one of the most striking monuments in Ireland and has some of the finest collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture in Europe. The site includes St Cormac's beautiful Romanesque [...]

Cúchulainn’s Stone (Clochafarmore), Knockbridge. co.Louth 500 b.c>500 a.d

According to legend, the mortally wounded Cúchulainn bound himself to this 10 foot pillar stone, so he could stand tall and face his enemies until the moment of his death. These did not dare approach [...]

Knowth Passage Tomb, Knowth.co. Meath c.3000 b.c

Knowth is Ireland's most spectacular complex of prehistoric passage tombs. This World Heritage site dates from about 3000 b.c and is not only the largest of the three great passage tombs in the Boyne Valley [...]

Portumna Castle, Portumna. co. Galway 1618

Portumna Castle is a very interesting example of Irish architecture in the transition between the medieval fortified tower house and the neoclassical large country manor. It was built in 1618 on the banks of Lough [...]

Gallarus Oratory, Gallarus. co. Kerry c.6th -12th century a.d?

The Gallarus Oratory located on the Dingle Peninsula is one of Ireland's most famous landmarks. It's simple and stunning shape has been compared to that of an upturned boat. Every stone in it's construction has [...]

Fourknocks Passage Tomb, co. Meath – c.3000 b.c

This national monument is the Fourknocks Passage Tomb that dates to c.3000 b.c. It’s name may derive from the Irish word ‘Fuair Cnocs’ that translates to ‘cold hills’ or it just may refer to the [...]

The World’s oldest field system – The Ceide Fields, co.Mayo. c.3000 b.c

The Céide Fields are the oldest known and most extensive stone age field systems in the world covering 1,500 hectares. This open air archaeological site is made up of stone walls, field systems, enclosures and [...]

Hore Abbey, Cashel. co.Tipperary – founded 1266 (Hore/Liubhair – Yew Tree)

Hore Abbey is located in a field on the west side of the Rock of Cashel and was originally founded by the Benedictine's in 1266. In 1272, David McCarvill, the Archbishop of 'The Rock' expelled [...]

The Market Cross, Kells. co.Meath – early 10th century

This is the famous 9th century 'Market Cross' of Kells that now stands outside Kells Courthouse. It was originally called the “Cross of the Gate” as it was located at the eastern side of the [...]

Poulnabrone Dolmen, Caherconnell. co.Clare – c.3600 b.c

This national monument is Poulnabrone Dolmen. It's timeless simplicity has made it one of the most photographed landmarks in Ireland. It is a classic example of a portal tomb. The tall portal stones flank the [...]

Clonfinlough Stone, Clonfinlough. co.Offaly c.1000 b.c – 1400 a.d ?

This national monument is the intriguing Clonfinlough Stone. It is 8 foot x 10 foot and is completely covered with rock art carvings including cup marks, a cross and even a foot print. It [...]

Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge. co.Offaly – founded 546 a.d

The monastery of Clonmacnoise was founded by St Ciarán in 546 a.d. and is one of Ireland's most important ecclesiastical centres. This strategic location on the Shannon was where the main east-west road across the [...]

Tintern Abbey, Saltmills. co. Wexford – c.1200

Tintern Abbey was founded in c.1200 by William Marshall, the 1st Earl of Pembroke and ‘the greatest knight that ever lived’. Marshal, who had set sail for Ireland on his first visit as Lord of [...]

The Loughcrew Passage Tombs, Oldcastle. co. Meath – c.3300 b.c

Loughcrew is one of our most important and impressive megalithic sites and is described as 'the best kept archaeological secret in Ireland'. This particular tomb 'Cairn T' is probably older than Newgrange and is located [...]

St Canice’s Cathedral & Roundtower, Kilkenny City – c.9th & 13th centuries

St Canice's Cathedral & Roundtower was built between 1202 and 1285 and is the second longest cathedral in Ireland after St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. The Round Tower is approx. 100 feet tall and is [...]

Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny City. co.Kilkenny – 1195

Kilkenny Castle is one of the most recognisable castles in Ireland. This strategic site was where the local Kings of Osraige had their chief residence before the Norman invasion. Kilkenny formed part of the lordship [...]

St Audeon’s Church, High Street. Dublin – c.1190

St Audeon's has the distinction of being the only medieval parish church, retaining any original features, still in use within the city of Dublin. It is dedicated to St Ouen the 7th century bishop of [...]

Moone High Cross, Moone. co.Kildare-10th century a.d

The beautiful Moone High Cross is a masterpiece among granite crosses and is the 2nd largest in Ireland. Only 200 High crosses survive in Ireland with the majority being fragmentary like the holed cross also [...]

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin City – c.1220 (Dubh Linn-‘Black Pool’)

St.Patrick's Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland and is also reputed to be Ireland's earliest Christian site, where St. Patrick baptized converts. Unusually, Dublin has two cathedrals belonging to the Church of Ireland, which [...]

Quin Abbey, Quin. co.Clare – 1433

Quin Abbey is built on the site of an earlier monastery which burned down in 1278. Soon after, a Norman castle was built by a military commander called Thomas de Clare. The foundations of this [...]

Cong Abbey, Cong. co. Mayo – founded 1135

These are the remains of the Royal Augustinian Abbey of Cong. It contains some of the finest examples of early architecture in Ireland including Gothic windows, Romanesque doors, clustered pillars, arches, standing columns and floral [...]

Meelick Round Tower, Swinford. co. Mayo – c.10th century

Meelick Round Tower is a well preserved tower located on a hill near Swinford in co. Mayo. It was built between 923 and 1013 a.d on a monastic site attributed to St. Broccaidh. Meelick was [...]

Turlough Round Tower, Turlough. co. Mayo – c.9th century

This well-preserved round tower stands on a hillside overlooking the gardens for the National Museum of Country Life. The Round Tower dates to the c.9th century and is odd looking as it has a lower [...]

Nenagh Castle, Nenagh. co.Tipperary – 1220

Nenagh Castle was built c. 1216 and was the main castle of the Butler family before they moved to Gowran, County Kilkenny in the 14th century. The family later purchased Kilkenny Castle which was to [...]

Askeaton Friary, Askeaton. co.Limerick – founded 1389

This is the Franciscan Friary at Askeaton. It was founded by Gerald, 4th Earl of Desmond (The Poet) and built between 1389 and 1420. St Francis of Assisi (who founded the Franciscan Order) expected his [...]

St Mary’s Cathedral, Bridge Street. Limerick City – founded 1168

St Mary's Cathedral is the oldest, most historic and most beautiful building in Limerick City. According to tradition, Donal Mor O'Brien, the last King of Munster, founded this Romanesque Cathedral on the site of his [...]

Bunratty Castle, Bunratty. co.Clare – c.1425

Bunratty Castle is one of Ireland's most famous buildings and a top tourist attraction. The main structure was built between 1425 and 1467 by the powerful O’Brien family who later became the Earls of Thomond. [...]

Rockfleet Castle, Newport. co.Mayo – c.1550

Rockfleet Castle was built in the mid 16th century and was the main stronghold of Grace O’Malley, the ‘Pirate Queen of the west’ (c.1530- c. 1603). This strategic location was carefully chosen by Grace as [...]

Adare Augustinian Friary, Adare. co.Limerick – founded 1316

Adare Friary is located in one of the most beautiful villages in Ireland. It was formerly known as the "Black Abbey" (because the Augustinian friars wore a black habit.) and is now known as "St. [...]

King John’s Castle, King’s Island. Limerick City – 1200

This is the strategic location in 922 where Thormodr Helgason, the Viking sea-king, built the first permanent stronghold. The arrival of the Anglo-Normans to the area changed everything in 1172. In 1774, the local chieftain, [...]

Rock of Dunamase, Dunamase. co.Laois – built c.1170 on ancient site

This national monument is The Rock of Dunamase. It is one of Ireland's most impressive historical sites as it sits on a limestone outcrop (known as a hum) 150 feet above the flat surrounding plains. [...]

The Friary on The Hill of Slane, Slane Village. co.Meath – 1512

This site is reputed to be to be the place where the Fir Bolg King 'Sláine' is buried and the location where St. Patrick lit the 1st paschal fire in 433 in defiance of King [...]

Ardee Castle, Ardee. co.Louth – 15th century a.d

This national monument is the largest fortified medieval tower house in Ireland. The original structure was founded by an Anglo-Norman lord called Roger de Peppard in 1207 although little remains of it. This 'current building' [...]

Carrowmore West Cross, Gleneely. co.Donegal. c.7th – 9th century a.d

The 2 crosses at Carrowmore are national monuments and are the most primitive looking of the 6 Inishowen High Crosses and almost resemble standing stones (which are dated much earlier). The site was called 'Both [...]

Carrowmore Cross East, Gleneely. co.Donegal – c.10th century a.d

6 High Crosses can be found on Inishowen. The 2 crosses located in Carrowmore are national monuments and are so primitive looking that they almost resemble standing stones.  The site was called 'Both Chonais Monastery' [...]

Carndonagh Cross, Carndonagh. co.Donegal – c.7th century a.d

This National Monument is one of the earliest and most important High Crosses in Ireland. High Crosses developed from slab crosses which as the name suggests were big slabs of granite with crosses carved onto [...]

Skreen Church. Hill of Skryne. co. Meath – 1341

Skreen Church is a national monument which stands on an elevated position on The Hill of Skryne. It was built in 1341 on the site of an earlier church which had a shrine dedicated to [...]

Bective Abbey, Bective. co.Meath – founded 1147

Bective Abbey is a national monument and was founded in 1147 by Murchad O Maeil-Sheachlainn, King of Meath, for the Cistercians. It was one of the earliest abbeys and is described as 'the daughter' of [...]

The Stone of Destiny, Hill of Tara. co. Meath – c.500 b.c

The Stone of Destiny otherwise known as the 'Lia Fail' is located on the inauguration mound on the Hill of Tara. It served as the coronation stone for thousands of years for the High Kings [...]

St John’s Priory, Trim. co.Meath – founded 1202 (Baile Átha Troim-town at the ford of Elderflowers)

These are the ruins of the Priory and The Hospital of St John the Baptist founded by Simon deRochfort in c. 1202. The Friary was occupied by a branch of monks called 'The Crutched Friars' [...]

The Temple of Deen, Culdaff. co.Donegal – c.1500 b.c>2500 b.c

These strange looking granite rocks are the remains of a central chamber of a large prehistoric burial monument. It is popularly known as  'The Temple of Deen' and dates from between 2500bc - 1500bc.  It [...]

Cloncha Cross, Culdaff. co.Donegal – c.10th century a.d

This tall slender Celtic Cross is a national monument and stands over 12 feet high in one of the most important early Christian sites in Inishowen. This monastic site was reputedly founded by St Morialagh [...]

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