This vast and changing landscape of the east offers such a wealth of historic sites, you can journey through the country’s historic narrative, starting right from the dawn of civilisation. From the prehistoric builds of the Late Stone Age, and the sacred sites of early Christian Ireland, to the medieval castles and the landmarks of early Anglo-Ireland, the east truly encompasses it all.
North of Dublin, discover the mind-blowing Neolithic Brú na Bóinne, one of the world’s most important prehistoric landscapes upon which the passage graves of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth stand, at an estimated 5000 years old.
Journeying a short distance south-west, you’ll find more megalithic structures. Ireland‘s history is embedded into each and every stone at the tombs of Loughcrew Cairns, which date back to the start of the Bronze Age. Venture south-west to enter early-Christian Ireland at Clonmacnoise Monastery, founded in 544 A.D. Feel part of the past as you walk around the monastic settlement in the glacial valley of Glendalough, found further east of Ireland’s historically bountiful landscape. Here the 1000-year-old Round Tower looms over the tranquil scenery.
Dotted all across the east of Ireland are an array of medieval castles to further your insight into this awe-inspiring ancient land. The imposing walls of Trim Castle, built almost 850 years ago, sits in the very north, while the bold Reginald’s Tower stands over Waterford, the country’s oldest city.
Over in the lush surrounds of County Kildare, the 18th-century Palladian Castletown House is just one of several insights into the beginning of Anglo-Ireland. While closer to the Irish Sea, the contrastingly gloomy and austere Wicklow Gaol will bring shivers to your spine as it opens your eyes to life for the less fortunate during this era.
Here in the Ancient East you’ll discover the never tiring stories of Ireland’s remarkable past.
What to do
- Discover the late Stone Age at Brú na Bóinne
- Hike up to the prehistoric passage tombs of Loughcrew Cairns
- Get in touch with your spiritual side at Clonmacnoise Monastery
- Immerse yourself in the serene surrounds of Glendalough's Round Tower
- Venture around the largest Norman castle in Ireland, Trim Castle
- Marvel at the Palladian design of Castletown House
- Try to keep your nerve at the eerie Wicklow Gaol