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25 Mar 2020

Avoid The Crowds – Discover Ireland's Hidden Secrets

Two things to remember:

DO NOT BLOCK GATEWAYS AND BARRIERS when parking.

Some of these locations are on private property.

Stepping back in time, we’ve evidence that Ireland was inhabited over 7,000 years ago, worth noting also that the last Ice Age finished only 10-12,000 years ago! These hunter-gatherers didn’t leave much behind for us to find today but if we jump forward to a period of 6,000 to 2,500 years ago we have a period in time that has left many treasures for us to find.

Here’s your guide on what to find and online resources to guide you in where to find them.

Stone Circles

Ireland is dotted with stone circles, these vary in size and heights and are usually aligned with the setting or rising sun on the solstices or equinoxes. It’s believed these stone circles were used for religious or ritual purposes. These structures date from 3,500 and 5,000 years ago.

stone circe ireland

"Drombeg Stone Circle from West" by Ingo Mehling is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Bullaun Stones

The purpose of these odd stones is not understood and we can only guess as to their original use. They come in many different sizes but are usually found alone. The word bullaun also refers to the hollows on the rocks. These rounded hollows give rise to several theories as to their use; some believe they were used for ritual purposes include the sacrifice of milk which was very valuable, others believe they were as cure stones. We can only guess!

bullaun stone ireland

"Bullaun Stone Ireland" by J. E. Walkowitz is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Tombs

We’ve several different types of ancients tombs in Ireland, among them are portal and wedge tombs. Portal tombs, known also as Dolmens have a very distinctive shape: large sloping capstone elevated by a number of vertical stones. It’s believed they marked an important burial site. Wedge tombs have a more distinctive stone shaped box which would have contained burial remains and sacrificial treasurers, the top of the box would have been covered with a large capstone. These tombs would have been covered in smaller stones to form cairns and date back over 4,500 years ago.

portal tomb ireland

"Poulnabrone Portal Tomb" by Frank Chandler is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Rock Art

Ancient carving on monuments like Newgrange are easy to find but there are over 700 other sites around Ireland with rock art. An ancient language perhaps? Art for arts sake? Again, we can only guess as to the meaning of these designs.

rock art ireland

"Spiral Stone Tibradden" by Joe King is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Ringforts

Life in ancient Ireland was not easy and settlements had to protect themselves. Ringforts were a basic form of protection with livestock and living space inside the fort. The ring of the fort had wooden fortifications to help guard against attack. All that remains today is the earthen ring.

ringfort ireland

"Ringfort in Rodanstown" by Kmcnamee is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

There are some great resources online with information on locations and images, remember many of these are on private land.

http://www.irishmegaliths.org.uk/iremap.htm

http://www.megalithicireland.com/

http://www.megalithicmonumentsofireland.com/Sites_By_County.html

http://www.megalithomania.com/show/counties/index.htm

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