Top ten historical sites to visit when in Ireland
Travel back in time to these historical places
5. Clonmacnoise, County Offaly
Clonmacnoise is one of Ireland's most important monasteries and is located on the banks of the River Shannon. It was founded in 545 by Ciaran of Clonmacnoise. Until the 9th century it had very strong ties with the Kings of Connacht.
Its strategic location also helped it to be become a center of religion, learning, craftsmanship and trade. Together with Clonard it is one of the most famous in Ireland and continues to be visited by scholars from all over Europe.
6. Jerpoint Abbey, County Kilkenny
Jerpoint Abbey is a well-known Cistercian abbey founded in the 12th century. It's most famous asset is its sculptured cloister arcade with unique carvings.
It was constructed in 1180 by Donogh O'Donoghoe, the King of Osraige and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The monastery thrived until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII.
7. Blarney Stone and Blarney Castle, County Cork
Six miles northwest of County Cork, Blarney Castle and the Blarney stone date back to 1446. The castle is a medieval stronghold on the River Martin. Although earlier fortifications were built on the same spot what is left standing today dates back to the MacCarthy dynasty, King of Desmond.
The castle and the stone are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland. Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney stone you will have the "gift of the gab" meaning clever, flattering or coaxing talk".
8. Kilkenny Castle, Killkenny City
Killkenny Castle is certainly one of Ireland's most impressive fortresses. The castle dates back to 1191 and stands with three tall towers.
Although some of the stone has been replaced the original was built by William Marshal, the 1st Earl of Pembroke to control the crossing point on the River Nore.
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.