Ireland’s Superlatives

Superlatives

Clonmines Medieval Borough, Wellington Bridge. co.Wexford c.13th-16th centuries

This interesting site is one of the best preserved and much over-looked medieval towns in Ireland. Clonmines probably began it's life as a Norman settlement established by William Marshall in the 13th century as an [...]

Knockeen Portal Dolmen, Knockeen. co. Waterford. 4000-3000 b.c

The Knockeen portal tomb is one of Waterford's outstanding monuments and ranks among the finest portal tombs in Ireland. It stands in the middle of a hedgerow bordering 2 fields standing at an impressive 3.5 metres (13 [...]

Cahir Castle, Cahir. co.Tipperary 1142

Cahir Castle is one of Ireland's largest castles and is strategically located on an island on the River Suir. The word Cahir in Irish actually means 'stone fort' and records show it was built in 1142 [...]

Charles Fort, Kinsale. co.Cork 1682

Charles Fort is located on the hillside entrance of the harbour overlooking the picturesque town of Kinsale. It is a classic example of a late 17th century star-shaped fort and one of the largest military installations in the [...]

Skellig Michael, Kerry. 6th-12th centuries (Sceilig Mhichíl- ‘Michael’s Rock in the Sea’)

This incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site is the early Christian monastery of Skellig Michael. It is located 13 km off the Kerry coastline at an altitude of 600 feet and is one of the most dramatic [...]

Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, Carrowmore. co.Sligo 4600>1000 b.c

Carrowmore is the largest megalithic cemetery in Ireland and amongst the oldest in Europe. It is believed that there may have been over 100 monuments on this site but only 30 have survived as the [...]

Kilclooney Dolmen, Kilclooney. co. Donegal c.3500 b.c.

The beautiful Kilclooney Dolmen dates from c 3500 b.c and is regarded as one of the finest examples of a portal tomb in the country. It's impressive capstone measures 13 wide, 20 feet long and [...]

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 [...]

The first stone built church in Ireland – Duleek Church 6th or 7th century a.d.

The historic village of Duleek began as an early Christian monastic settlement and has the earliest record of a stone built church in the country. St Patrick established a bishopric here in about 450 AD [...]

Ireland’s most famous folly – The Wonderful Barn, Leixlip. co. Kildare

The Wonderful Barn was commissioned by Katherine Conolly widow of William 'Speaker' Conolly of the Castletown Estate. It rises to a height of 73 feet in a tapering cone and is encircled by a cantilevered [...]

The finest Neoclassical building in Europe – Casino Marino 1775

Casino Marino is regarded as one of the finest Neo-Classical buildings in Europe. It is also one of the most surprising. It was designed by Sir William Chambers as a pleasure home for James Caulfield [...]

Dublin’s most architecturally important building – Custom House 1791

Custom House Quay is Dublin's most architecturally important building and is regarded as a masterpiece of European Neoclassicism. It was designed by James Gandon (1743 – 1823) who today, is recognized as the leading architect [...]

Ireland’s most iconic buildings – Glendalough Round Tower and St Kevin’s Kitchen

This is the Round Tower and St Kevin's Kitchen at Glendalough. The Round Tower is one of Ireland's most iconic buildings standing 100 feet high. Round towers were mainly built between the 9th and 12th [...]

Ireland’s first Cistercian abbey – Mellifont 1142 (An Mhainistir Mhór -‘The Big Abbey’)

These are the ruins of Mellifont Abbey, founded in 1142 by St Malachy. This was the first of the 35 Cistercian monasteries to be founded in Ireland and remained as the 'mother ship' for the [...]

The only internally accessible Corinthian column in the World – The Browne-Clayton Monument

The Browne-Clayton Monument is the only internally accessible Corinthian column in the World and thus is a unique architectural landmark. It was built between 1839 - 41 and stands over 94 ft high on Carrigadaggan [...]

Ireland’s finest 17th century building – The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham is the finest 17th-century building in Ireland. It was built in 1684 by Sir William Robinson as a home for retired soldiers and continued in that use for over 250 years. [...]

The largest smock windmill in Europe – St Patrick’s Tower

This former windmill, now known as St Patrick's Tower, was the largest smock windmill in Europe and was used to power the Roe Distillery on Thomas Street in Dublin. George Roe and Company had it's [...]

The largest fortified medieval tower house in Ireland – Ardee Castle

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' [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

The longest pub in Ireland – The Hole in the Wall, Blackhorse Avenue. Dublin City

The Hole in the Wall claims to be the longest pub and has the longest bar counter in Ireland. It was originally a coach house and dates to the mid 1650's. During these times, merchants, [...]

Ireland’s most famous Dolmen – Poulnabrone

This national monument is the 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 last great stone cathedral to be built in Europe – Galway Cathedral 1965

The Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas is more commonly known as Galway Cathedral. This site, on the banks of the Corrib River was originally the site of the old city [...]

Ireland’s most beautiful High Cross – Muiredach’s Cross, Monasterboice. co. Louth

This national monument is the wonderful Muiredach’s High Cross. It is regarded as the most beautiful Celtic cross in the World and Ireland’s greatest contribution to European sculpture. It stands 18 feet tall and is [...]

The longest river in Great Britain or Ireland – The Shannon (Sionna – a Celtic Goddess)

The River Shannon is 360 km (224 miles) and is by far the longest river in Ireland and is named after the Celtic goddess, Sionna. It's source is the Culicagh Mountain in co. Cavan and [...]

Voted 2nd most beautiful beach in the World.. Ballymastocker Bay, Portsalon. co. Donegal

Ballymastocker Bay is a spectacular Blue Flag beach located on the Fanad Peninsula in county Donegal. It was once voted the 2nd most beautiful in the World by readers of the Observer Magazine (pipped to [...]

Ireland’s most northerly bar (mainland) – Farren’s Bar, Malin Head. co. Donegal

Farren's Bar holds the claim to being Ireland's most northerly pub on the mainland. According to online blogs...it apparently has stools along the bar which are full all day with day drinkers! It has the [...]

The most easterly point on the mainland of Ireland > Wicklow Head Lighthouse

This lighthouse, built in 1871 was originally part of a pair. Their architect, John Trail, had previously designed the Grand Canal in Dublin and was given the task to construct 2 lighthouses at this location [...]

The most photographed castle in Ireland > Dunguaire Castle. Kinvarra. co.Galway

Dunguaire Castle is located on a rocky outcrop near the picturesque village of Kinvarra. It is said to be the most photographed castle in Ireland. It was built in 1520 by the O’Hynes clan and [...]

The last walled city to be built in Europe > Derry City

Derry is...1- the last walled City to be built in Europe 2 - the first planned city to be built in Ireland 3- the only complete walled city in Ireland and 4 - the largest [...]

The World’s largest Titanic visitor experience – Titanic Belfast

This incredible piece of architecture is Titanic Belfast which was designed by the American born architect Eric Kuhne and built by Harcourt Developments. This world class visitor attraction is now the 2nd most visited in [...]

Europe’s Largest Dolmen > Brownshill Portal Tomb. co.Carlow

This national monument is the Brownshill Portal Tomb. It is not only the largest example in Ireland but also in Europe with a capstone weighing in at an impressive 150 tonnes! Portal tombs are so [...]

Europe’s oldest pub (and possibly the World’s) – Sean’s Bar, Athlone – c.900 a.d

Sean's Bar dates from 900 ad and is not only the oldest bar in Ireland, but also in Europe and possibly the World. This was officially certified by The Guinness Book of World Records using [...]

Ireland’s only Fjord – Killary Harbour, Lennane. co.Galway

Killary Harbour, is classified as Ireland's only fjord. It is located beside the beautiful village of Leenane which is often aptly described as the Gateway to Connemara. It forms a partial border between counties Galway [...]

Ireland’s highest mountain – Carrantuohill, co.Kerry 3,406 ft

Carrantuohill is the highest peak in Ireland. It is located in co. Kerry and stands, 1,038 metres (3,406 ft). It is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy's Reeks range. The peak of Carrauntoohil is topped [...]

Ireland’s most northerly point on the mainland – Banba’s Crown, Malin Head. co.Donegal

This is Ireland's most northerly building on the mainland. It was named 'Banba' after the mythological patron goddess of Ireland. It was built by the British in 1805 as a Napoleonic lookout tower to help [...]

Ireland’s earliest & largest Norman castle – Trim Castle, co. Meath – 1176

Trim Castle is not only the earliest stone castle to be built in Ireland but is also one of the largest Norman Castle in Europe. It was built in 1176 by Hugh de Lacy and [...]

Ireland’s highest waterfall – Powerscourt Waterfall, Powerscourt Estate. co.Wicklow

The Waterfall at Powerscourt is Ireland's highest at 121m (398ft) and is set in the Powerscourt Estate at the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. This is one of Ireland's most beautiful parklands set in a [...]

The World’s oldest operational lighthouse – Hook Head Lighthouse, co.Wexford

The Hook Lighthouse is the oldest operational lighthouse in the World. Tradition states that Dubhán, a missionary monk, may have established some sort of beacon at this location as early as the 5th century. Interestingly, [...]

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 [...]

The highest sea cliffs in Europe – Slieve League, Glencolumcille. co.Donegal

The dramatic Slieve League cliffs are situated on the south west coast of Donegal and are reputed to be among the highest marine cliffs in Europe. The cliffs rise 1972 feet above the Atlantic Ocean [...]

Punchestown Long Stone, Punchestown. co.Kildare – 2000 b.c > 500 b.c

This national monument is the impressive Punchestown Longstone. It is the tallest and one of the most graceful examples in Ireland standing at 22 feet high. It is difficult to establish the age of standing [...]

Aughnanure Castle, Oughterard. co.Galway – c.1490

This national monument is one of the best and grandest fortified tower houses in the country and is one of over 200 built in county Galway alone. It has 6 floors including a banqueting hall and [...]

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