“Anyone who plunges into the past realizes, as St. Augustine did in the 4th century, that the past is not the past. It is merely a dimension of the mind, waiting to be revived in the imagination…waiting to be remembered.” — Robert Emmet Meagher, Elizabeth Parker Neave
How many layers of time does Ancient Ireland cover? It’s certainly older than the quaint villages. Is Ancient Ireland the time of St. Patrick? Or perhaps it begins before, during the time of the Druids. Now we’ve reached back through Christian Ireland to Celtic Ireland, and surely that must be ancient. Well, yes and no… The truly ancient sites in Ireland such as the Boyne Valley, Newgrange and the Hill of Tara are 1,000s of years older than the Celts and the Christians. Who were these people? However mysterious they are, the Celts were latecomers to Ireland. Here is what we do know about the earliest people in Ireland: They lived during a time when Ireland simply wasn’t Irish. Not yet, and not in the way we think of it now.
Ireland’s ancient history is only recently coming to light. Now it shares the spotlight with Greece in travelers who are hungry for a taste of the ancient mixed with a taste of connection to land and place. In almost every farmer’s field, some piece of Ancient Ireland has been found by the plow or the shovel. Newgrange is 500 years older than the Pyramids. Stonehenge, built 1,000 years after Newgrange, may have been built of stones that came from Ireland. These Stonehenge rocks do not exist in the area of Stonehenge, but they are abundant in megalithic parts of Ireland. How did they get to the UK?
Looking north, we find ancient Romanesque carvings in Ireland. To the Northeast, we find carved heads popping from the ground as exotic as the faces we see on Easter Island. Egyptian Coptic crosses, yes, those are also in the West. In fact, there isn’t a single area that does not echo with the sounds of the distant past, a past and people who began living in Ireland 6,000 years ago.
Often one sacred, or ancient, site was built on top of another during a later time. Layers of antiquity are a boon to anyone who feels the pull of these ancient sites. Going sunwise, from the Southeast to Northern Ireland, here are a few of Ireland’s ancient sites that Authentic Ireland can help you discover: Browne’s Hill Dolmen, St. Kevin’s Cell, Teampall-na-Skellig, Dromberg Stone Castle, Galarus Oratory, Kilmalkedar (Dingle Peninsula), Dromberg Stone Circle, Poulnabrone Dolmen, Achill Island/Slievemore, Na Seacht dTeampaill/Inishmore, Celtic Touroe Stone, Carrowkeel Passage Tomb, Muiredoch’s Cross, Newgrange-Boyne Valley, Hill of Tara, Clocmacnoise, Beaghmore Stone Circles, Ulster History Park, White Island, Navan Fort…
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Only the current Irish (as opposed to the ancient Irish!) who work for you at Authentic Ireland Travel can set up a journey that will fill your senses and expand your imagination. We are pleased to help you walk back into the mystery that was Ireland before it became Ireland.