8 Heritage Sites to Visit in Ireland

Ireland is awash with historical and heritage sites.  In fact a large part of our national identity is formed by our castles, forts and stone age monuments.  If you have an interest in history and heritage then check out GeoDirectory’s pick of the many heritage sites to be found across the country.

Posted: 24/03/2019 12:24:21

Strokestown Park House

Strokestown Park House is an 18th century mansion in Co. Roscommon that retains its original furnishings and documents. This estate is a capsule in time showcasing an Irish ‘Big House’ and Georgian Ireland as it was. Strokestown also has a large restaurant, plenty of parking and a walled garden giving a unique insight into horticultural practices and garden architecture from the 1740s to the present day.

Fota House

Fota House is an Irish Heritage Trust property and Ireland’s finest example of Regency period architecture. Discover the grand decor of the principle rooms and charming nursery, or the service wing with beautifully preserved kitchens. Experience what life was like for the cooks, butlers, footmen and maids who supported the lavish lifestyle of the gentry. Enjoy the tranquil beauty of Fota’s gardens and stroll in the historic ‘pleasure grounds’ or the award-winning Victorian Working Garden.

Glendalough Visitor Centre

Glendalough is home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. This early Christian monastic settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century and from this developed the “Monastic City”. Most of the buildings that survive today date from the 10th through 12th centuries. Close to the monastic city is the interactive centre. The centre features an audio visual and has a model of the monastic site on display.

Portumna Castle and Gardens

Portumna Castle and Demesne occupy a magnificent location on the shores of Lough Derg on the River Shannon. Although gutted by fire in 1826, the Castle is still an imposing example of Irish architecture of the early 17th Century. The ground floor of the castle is open to the public and houses an exhibition on the history and restoration of the building and the de Burgo family. The virtual reality DVD presentation adds to the exhibition, bringing the story to life.

Aras an Uachtarain

Áras an Uachtaráin had a colourful history. Situated in the 1,752 acres of the Phoenix Park, the house has had a had a colourful history as home to the Vicroy's of Ireland. In 1938 it became the Official Residence of the President of Ireland. The house is open to the public each Saturday and 5 200 people visit the formal rooms and view the grounds each year. Tickets are free and available from the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre.

Giants Causeway

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986, The Giant's Causeway is the jewel in the crown of the coast of Antrim. The story goes that Finn McCool forged this unique rock formation which was the result of volcanic eruptions some 60 million years ago. Along with an award winning visitor centre it is also a renowned as a habitat of rare plants and animals.

Donegal Castle

Built by the O'Donnell chieftain in the 15th century, beside the River Eske, the Castle has extensive 17th century additions by Sir Basil Brooke. The Castle is furnished throughout and includes Persian rugs and French tapestries. Information panels chronicle the history of the Castle owners from the O'Donnell chieftains to the Brooke family.

Burren National Park

The Burren is one of the finest examples of a Glacio-Karst landscape in the world. 1500 hectares contain all the major habitats of the region, limestone pavement, hazel scrub, deciduous woodland, wetlands and species-rich grassland. Botanically, it's fascinating, with flowers from Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean regions growing together. There are 7 way-marked trails of varying length and difficulty. A Visitor Information Point also provides an educational and interactive experience.

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