Places to Visit in Ireland
If you are looking for a place to visit, you cannot find a more beautiful country than Ireland. There are so many places to visit that it is hard to begin. Some of the major cities in Ireland are Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Derry, Limerick, Galway, Lisburn, Waterford, Newry, Kilkenny, and Armagh. For the purpose of this site, I will describe some of the places you must see, such as Bunratty Castle, Cliffs of Moher, Dublin Castle, Dublin Zoo, Giant’s Causeway, Glendalough, Newgrange, and Rock of Cashel.
Bunratty Castle is a large tower house found in County Clare, Ireland. It is located next to the Bunratty River. There is a great view from the castle. If you visit Bunratty Castle, you will not only get to see the castle, but also explore the folk park along the castle, which has reconstructions of historical buildings and cottages so that you can experience what the architecture was like in the 19th century. There are old tools, artifacts, and furniture on display as well. There are also some shops, a home bakery, and you can even see peat fires in cottages.
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are one of the top visitor attractions in Ireland. They are 214 meters high at their highest peak and cover an area of 8 kilometers at the Atlantic Ocean. You can visit O’Brien’s Tower at the center of the cliffs. From the cliffs, you can view Loop Head to the south, The Twelve Pins, Aran Islands, Galway Bay, and the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara. Here you will also be able to see one of the biggest colonies of seabirds in Ireland.
Dublin Castle was at one time the seat of British rule in Ireland, but is now an Irish government complex. If you visit Dublin Castle, you will be able to see the state apartments, including Saint Patrick’s Hall, the Throne Room, State Drawing Room, State Dining Room, State Bedrooms, and State Corridor.
The Dublin Zoo is the largest zoo in Ireland and also the fourth oldest zoo in the world. It has several themed areas for you to visit, such as African Plains, Fringes of the Arctic, The Kaziranga Forest Trail, World of Primates, World of Cats, City Farm and Pets’ Corner, South American House, and Reptile House. It is a great place to bring the whole family.
Giant’s Causeay is an area that has around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, which were the lasting effect of ancient volcanic eruption. This magnificent site is located in County Antrim, which is on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland. It has been called a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Nature Reserve by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. You must see this to believe it!
Glendalough is a glacial valley that is in County Wicklow, Ireland. It has a monastic settlement that was founded by St. Kevin in the sixth century. It has a number of monuments which I will describe later, which include The Gateway, The Round Tower, The Cathedral, The Priests’ House, St. Kevin’s Church or Kitchen, St. Kieran’s Church, St. Mary or Our Lady’s Church, Trinity Churt, and St. Saviour’s Church, among others.
Newgrange is a passage tomb in County Louth. It is a famous prehistoric site. One of the greatest parts of this is that it was built so that at dawn on winter solstice there would be a beam of sunlight for a short time to illuminate the floor of the chamber at the end of a long passageway. Newgrange is over 5,000 years old. If you visit Ireland, you must see this place.
Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel is an historic site that served as the seat of the kings of Munster for hundreds of years before the Normans invaded. There are not many remnants of the original structure, and most of the buildings are from the 12th and 13th centuries. There are several buildings on the site, including the round tower and Cormac’s Chapel.
The climate of Ireland is oceanic with a few extremes. The warmest temperature recorded was 33.3 C or 91,9 F, and the coldest temperature recorded was -19.1 C or -2.4 F. Precipitation does fall throughout the entire year, but it is usually light, especially on the east. The western portion of Ireland usually is wetter than the east and gets the full force of Atlantic storms which sometimes will bring winds that are destructive with high rainfall totals. Sometimes there is even snow and hail. The inland areas of the country are warmer in the summer, but are colder in the winter. There are typically around 40 days in which the temperatures go below freezing.
There are about 26 land mammal species that are native to Ireland since it was isolated from the rest of Europe after the sea levels rose after the Ice Age. Species such as the hedgehog, badger, and red fox are common, but the red deer, pine marten, and Irish hare are less common. Off the coast you may see sharks, whales, dolphins, and turtles. There are about 400 different species of birds that have been recorded in Ireland. Many of these birds are migratory, and this includes the Barn Swallow. The majority of the bird species in Ireland come from Greenland, African, and Iceland. No snakes are found in Ireland and only the common lizard reptile is a native of Ireland. There are some extinct species, like the great Irish elk, the great auk, and the wolf. The Golden Eagle has been recently reintroduced after it has been missing for some time.
History of Ireland
There was a long cold spell that existed until about 9,000 years ago, and the majority of Ireland was covered in ice. The sea levels were lower and Ireland was part of a continental Europe rather than an island. The Mesolithic stone age inhabitants arrived around 8000 BC. With the Neolithic Period around 4500 to 4000 BC, cattle, sheep, and goats were all imported from Europe. Wheat and barley were the principal crops at this time.
The Bronze Age, around 2500 BC, began production of gold and bronze ornaments, tools, and weapons. The Iron Age was linked to the Celts. They are thought to have been the ones to colonize Ireland between the 8th and 1st centuries BC, and the Gaels were the last group of Celts to conquer the island and divide it into at least five kingdoms.
In the early medieval times, a ceremonial monarch presided over the provinces of Ireland, and he was known as the High King. There was a written judicial system at this point, and it was known as the Brehon Law. In 431 Bishop Palladius came to Ireland on a mission from Pope Celestine I with the purpose of ministering to the Irish. Saint Patrick arrived in 432. During this time, scholars learned Latin, Greek, and Christian theology in the monasteries, and this continued through the early Middle Ages. Starting in the 9th century, there were Viking raiders who came to monasteries and towns, and there was much raiding and warfare. The Vikings settled in Ireland and established a number of towns, which included Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Dublin.
From 1169, the country of Ireland was breached by the Cambro-Normal warlords who were led by Richard de Clare, the 2nd Earl of Pembroke. King Henry II of England came to Ireland in 1171 to claim sovereignty of the land. He forced the warlords and Gaelic Irish kings to accept him as overlord. The English law began to be introduced to the inhabitants from the 13th century and on. The end of the 13th century saw the Norman-Irish establishing a feudal system, and there were baronies, manors, towns, and land-owning monastic communities, as well as the county system. The 14th century brought the English settlement into decline. In the late 15th century, English rule was back into effect and Ireland was completely conquered. During the Cromwellian Conquest of Ireland about 600,000 people died, which was about half of the Irish people.
When the Irish Rebellion of 1641 was over, nonconforming Protestants and Irish Catholics were not allowed to vote or attend Irish Parliament. The penal laws, which were introduced in 1691 stated that Irish Catholics could not sit in Parliament of Ireland. This was despite the fact that about 90% of the population of Ireland was Irish Catholic. The Protestant ruling class was called the Protestant Ascendancy. The Irish Famine of 1740 to 1741 killed around 400,000 people. The Irish rebellion of 1798 was unsuccessful as a combined force was conquered by British forces.
The British and Irish Parliament passed the Act of Union in 1801 merged the Kingdom of Ireland with the Kingdom of Great Britian. Now the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created. The Great Famine began in the 1840s and was the cause of death for about a million Irish. It also caused more than a million Irish to emigrate. In the late 1840s half of the immigrants to the United States were from Ireland.
In the 19th and 20th century, Irish nationalism became popular with the Roman Catholic population. Leading a campaign was Daniel O’Connell. During this period were the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence of 1919. There was a treaty in 1921, and it recognized that there was a two state solution. Northern Ireland could be a home rule state in the new Irish Free State unless they opted out. They did opt out and joined the United Kingdom. The Irish Civil War took place until 1923. Ireland became the Irish Free State on December 6, 1922. Ireland has since become the fifth richest country in the world and the second richest in the European union.