The castle is now run by the Office of Public Works and sits in the midst of beautiful parkland.
9. Leap Castle, County Offaly
Not only is Leap Castle and extremely historically important castle but it is also said to one of the most haunted locations in Ireland. This castle has been the scene of some truly appalling acts.
It was built in the 15th century by the O'Bannon family and was originally called "Leap of the O'Bannons". In 1513 the Earl of Kildare, Gerald FitzGerald attempted to seized the castle and three years later attacked again. In 1557 the O'Carrolls had possession.
Within the O'Carroll family over the years there was great rivalry which culminated in murders and killings in the chapel. This is just a brief chapter of the castle's sordid history. Later when the castle was being studied a dungeon where people had been left to die was discovered.
10. Skellig Michael, County Kerry
Skelling Michael (which literally means Michael's rock) is a steep and rocky island in the Atlantic Ocean. It was founded in the 7th century and for 600 years it was the center of monastic life for Irish Christian monks.
In 1996 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site but it is better known as one Europe's better known but least accessible monasteries. As a site it is very well preserved and the Spartan conditions inside the monastery illustrate the ascetic life of the Irish Christians. The monks lived in "beehive" huts perched over the dangerous cliffs.
Originally published in 2011.
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