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Saturday, 20 August 2016 23:23

Newgrange Tours

Newgrange (c 3,200 B.C.) is the best-known monument of the World Heritage Site of Bru na Boinne and the most visited , predating the ancient pyramids by 400 years and Stonehenge by 1000 . The passage tomb is surrounded by 97 kerb stones, the most impressive is the large entrance stone which is covered in swirls and designs. Inside the large mound there is a long passage leading into a chamber . At dawn on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year (December 21st), a shaft of sunlight enters the chamber of Newgrange through a specially designed opening over the doorway which illuminates the Chamber..  Read More about this Historical Sight


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Published in Coach Tours
Saturday, 20 August 2016 23:23

Trim Castle Tours

Travelling on the Boyne Region why not take in Trim Castle , the largest Anglo – Norman castle in Ireland and built by Hugh de Lacy in 1173 , it took thirty years to construct this beautiful castle . The castle itself was used as a film location for the Hollywood movie Braveheart . The Office of Public Works began a major programme of exploratory works and conservation, costing over six million euro, including partial restoration of the moat and the installation of a protective roof , the castle was re-opened to the public in 2000.   Read More about this Historical Sight


Private Tours : Prices From €390.00
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Published in Coach Tours
Saturday, 20 August 2016 23:23

Monasterboice Tours

Monasterboice is known for its remains of the monastic settlement founded by Saint Buite in the fifth century. The remains consist of an old graveyard, two churches, three sculptured crosses, two early grave slabs and a sundial. Of particular interest here are the 3 Celtic Crosses and the Round Tower .The cross nearest the graveyard entrance is Muirdeach's Cross, an outstanding example of high crosses of the Early Christian period in Ireland. It is a monolith ,17ft high. St Muiredach's Cross is widely regarded as the finest of its type in Ireland.    Read More about this Historical Sight

Private Tours : Prices From €390.00
Coach Tours : Contact For Price





Published in Coach Tours
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 21:39

Monasterboice

The monastic site at Monasterboice is situated 5 miles north of Drogheda just off the N1 .It dates back to the 6th century when it was founded by St Buite. Nothing remains of the original monastery but there are remains of two 10th century churches. The churchyard is one of the longest working burial grounds in the world.

Monasterboice is known for its remains of the monastic settlement founded by Saint Buite in the fifth century. The remains consist of an old graveyard, two churches, three sculptured crosses, two early grave slabs and a sundial. Of particular interest here are the 3 Celtic Crosses and the Round Tower.

The cross nearest the graveyard entrance is Muirdeach's Cross, an outstanding example of high crosses of the Early Christian period in Ireland. It is a monolith, 17ft high. St Muiredach's Cross is widely regarded as the finest of its type in Ireland. The thyme of the cross is Christ the King with the cross and the re are depictions fron the Old Testement from Adam and Eve ,  Cain slaying Able to the Last Day. The cross is 5.2 metres high. The West Cross  is the tallest high cross in Ireland is 7 metres high and there is an unusual crucifixion scene  on the west face of this cross. There is a third but much less spectacular North Cross.

The South church is the older of the two and it still has the remains of the chancel arch. The smaller church is situated beside the Round Tower and has no trace of a chancel. The Round Tower is about 100ft high. It is now missing its upper part and conical cap. The door is six feet above ground level and is approached by a modern flight of steps. Also at Monasterboice is a fine example of an Irish Round Tower , these were used as protection against the Vikings.

The site is open 24/7 and during June , July and August there is a local guiding service

Monasterboice Location

Published in Historical Sites
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 21:36

Trim Castle

The Castle was used as a centre of Norman administration for the Lordship of Meath, one of the new administrative areas of Ireland created by King Henry II of England. Hugh de Lacy took possession of it in 1172. De Lacy built a huge ringwork castle defended by a stout double palisade and external ditch on top of the hill. There may also have been further defences around the cliffs fringing the high ground. Part of a stone footed timber gatehouse lies beneath the present stone gate at the west side of the castle. De Lacy left Ireland entrusting the castle to Hugh Tyrrel, baron of Castleknock, one of his chief lieutenants. The ringwork was attacked and burnt by forces of the Gaelic High King of Ireland, Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair; Tyrrel, having appealed in vain for help, was forced to flee. Ua Conchobair soon withdrew and De Lacy immediately rebuilt the castle in 1173. His son Walter continued rebuilding and the castle was completed c. 1224. The next phase of the castle's development took place at the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century; a new great hall (with undercroft and attached solar in a radically altered curtain tower), a new forebuilding, and stables were added to the keep. On Walter's death in 1241 his granddaughter Mathilda ('Maud') inherited the castle. Her second husband was Geoffrey de Geneville, Lord of Vaucouleurs in France. Mathilda died in 1304, and Geoffrey entered the priory at St. Mary's in Trim. His son had died in 1292 and the estate passed to his oldest daughter, Joan. In 1301, Joan married Roger Mortimer and the castle passed to the Mortimer family who held it until 1425, when the line died out.[3] The estate passed to the next heir in the female line, Richard of York, who was killed at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. In 1461, Richard's son, Edward IV, appointed Germyn Lynch of London to be his representative at Trim.
 
The inside of one of the towers of Trim Castle.
The castle site was chosen because it is on raised ground, overlooking a fording point on the River Boyne. The area was an important early medieval ecclesiastical and royal site that was navigable in medieval times by boat up the River Boyne, about 25 miles from the Irish Sea. Trim Castle is referred to in the Norman poem "The Song of Dermot and the Earl". During the late Middle Ages, Trim Castle was the centre of administration for Meath and marked the outer northern boundary of The Pale. In the 16th and 17th centuries it had declined in importance, except as a potentially important military site, and the castle was allowed to deteriorate. During the 15th century the Irish Parliament met in Trim Castle seven times and a mint operated in the castle. The Castle fell into decline in the 16th century but was refortified during the Irish Confederate Wars in the 1640s. In 1649 after the sacking of Drogheda, the garrison of Trim fled to join other Irish forces and the place was occupied by the army of Oliver Cromwell.

Access
Trim Castle is open, on payment of an entry fee, to the public every day from Easter Saturday to Halloween (31 October) from 10am. The area inside the castle walls is freely accessible for an admittance fee, while access to the Castle keep is via a 45-minute guided tour. In winter, the complex is open only on weekends and bank holidays.

Points of note
Trim and Talbot Castles. Also visible are the Royal Mint, solar and Trim Cathedral
The Castle is noted for the part it played in the filming of the Mel Gibson directed film Braveheart.
In 2003 there was a controversy surrounding the decision by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Martin Cullen not to oppose the construction of a five-storey hotel across the road from the castle. The development had been condemned by a local councillor, a senior inspector in An Bord Pleanala (acting in a private capacity, and later choosing to withdraw his appeal lest it be considered a conflict of interest) and heritage bodies, many of whom had been critical of the government's treatment of other heritage sites such as Carrickmines Castle (the ruins of which were excavated partly to allow the completion of a roadway). The hotel was opened in August 2006. The recent addition of buildings (including offices for the OPW) outside the west side of the town has been even more visibly intrusive to the castle remains  .
 

Monasterboice Location

Published in Historical Sites
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 21:30

Newgrange

Newgrange is a Neolithic monument located in the region of Bru na Boinne, County Meath, Ireland. The name is fairly modern and comes from the 'newer' grange (farm) of the monks of Mellifont Abbey near Drogheda 8 miles (14 km) north. Although the abbey was closed in 1539 CE, the association of the land with the 'new farm' of the monks continued. Newgrange was constructed c. 3200 BCE, pre-dating the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge, and is part of one of the most famous and significant megalithic complexes in Europe. There are 37 tombs located in the valley of Bru na Boinne (Mansion of the Boyne), which lies at a bend in the River Boyne and includes two other enormous structures similar to Newgrange: Knowth and Dowth. The Newgrange monument is 249 feet (76 metres) across and 39 feet (12 metres) high, covering an acre of ground (4500 square metres). The entrance leads to a 62 foot (19 metres) passage, which opens to a central chamber with three recesses (sometimes also called  'chambers') in the walls at intervals corresponding to north, west, and south. Excavations have found human cremated remains in the west recess.

Although Newgrange was originally defined as a passage tomb, it has more recently been recognized as a monument whose purpose, although it included burial of the dead, was far more significant and universal. Every year, on the days around the winter solstice on 21 December, the rising sun shines through a roofbox above the entrance to illuminate the passage within and, especially, the west recess at the back of the central chamber. The archaeologist Michael J. O'Kelly was the first person in the modern age to observe this event on 21 December 1967. O'Kelly, whose work in Bru na Boinne has done the most to advance understanding of the site, is largely responsible for the re-evaluation of Newgrange as a monument rather than strictly a tomb. The monument is properly referred to as a 'cairn', a human-made mound of stones which includes water-rolled gravel.

Building Newgrange
The tombs and monuments at Bru na Boinne were built between 3300-2800 BCE. There was an older structure on the site prior to this time, which was dismantled and its stones used in the early stages of Newgrange's construction. Of the four types of megalithic tombs as defined by archaeologists - the court tomb, portal tomb, passage tomb, and wedge tomb - only passage tombs were built at Bru na Boinne. Historians George Eogan and Peigin Doyle comment on this, writing, "The builders of passage tombs represented a separate tradition to those who built portal and court tombs. This tradition developed first along the western coastline of Europe, particularly the Iberian peninsula and Brittany, before spreading to Britain and Ireland" (10). This is especially interesting because the Celts are thought to have first arrived in Ireland from the Iberian peninsula as late as 500-300 BCE, long after Newgrange was built. This has led some to argue that the Celts arrived much earlier than supposed but could also be explained by non-Celts from the same region.

A stable community must have existed in the region to have created these massive structures. They would have been skilled stone masons with considerable wealth in order to spare the time from making a living to devote to raising the great tombs and monuments. Eogan and Doyle write:
A wide range of supporting resources would be needed: timber rollers to move the huge stones . . . ropes to hold them; and boats or timber to float the stones from their source, which was often far away, to the building site. Because tombs were often built on a height, many large stones would have to be brought uphill (11).
 
Legend & Discovery
For some reason, the monument was abandoned during Ireland's early Iron Age (c. 3rd century BCE) following the arrival of the Celts. For the next 2,000 years there was no ritual activity in the region, and the fields were used by farmers such as the monks of Mellifont Abbey. Communal memory of the ritual importance of the site was strong, however, as evidenced in references to the monument in Irish legends and myths. The spirit folk, the Tuatha de Danaan (children of the goddess Dana), were said to have built Newgrange, and it is referred to as the tomb of either their chieftain Dagda Mor, his son Oengus of the Brugh, or the great god Lugh of the long arm, father of the hero Cuchulain. Cuchulainn was also thought to have been conceived at the site when Lugh visited the maiden Dechtine in a dream while she slept there. The site was imbued with magical properties and could produce food and drink (specifically ale) without end, including two pigs, one living and the other already dressed, cooked, and ready for table. In the famous Irish legend The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne, Aengus brings Diarmuid's body to Bru na Boinne for burial after the hero's death and the High Kings of Ireland, crowned at Tara, were said to be buried there up until the time of the Ui Neill's (c. 800 CE).

Monasterboice Location

Published in Historical Sites

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Drogheda
County Louth, Ireland.

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