Which Are The Best Megalithic and Prehistoric Sites in Ireland?

We all know that Ireland is an awesome place to visit if you want to get a taste of history and explore many of the treasures of the past.

But did you know that it’s also the ideal destination for exploring Megalithic and Prehistoric Europe?

Built literally thousands of years ago and dating back further than Stonehenge in England, there are numerous ancient sites around Ireland which will make you gasp in wonder as you try to comprehend the standing stones and tombs (also known as dolmens) that surround you.

So next time you visit Ireland, you should definitely add at least one of the following Megalithic or Prehistoric sites to your travel bucket list.

#1: Newgrange

Newgrange is a tomb located in County Meath where you can go watch the winter solstice emerge through an ancient tunnel, just as it would have thousands of years ago. It’s probably the most visited megalithic site in the whole of Ireland as it’s such an important place. Because it’s so popular, they’ve created an informative visitor centre which will explain more of the history to you, and you can even take a tour to the inner chamber if you like.

Find out more here → Newgrange

 

#2: Knowth

Knowth is a Neolithic passage tomb and a World Heritage site which his also located in the great Bourne Valley in County Meath. Comprising the Great Mound and eighteen smaller mounds, it’s said to have been built after Newgrange, around 5000 years ago. Make sure you don’t miss the Megalithic art which is different at Knowth from the most common shapes.

It’s not as well-known as nearby Newgrange but that gives it that extra charm, in our opinion! There’s a visitor centre here too which will help explain all you need to know.

Find out more here→ Knowth

 

#3: Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen is located in the Burren, in County Clare and it’s one of the best examples of a dolmen you will find. Dating back to the Neolithic Period between 4200 BC and 2900 BC, it’s an impressively large (and heavy!) stone supported by two side stones to create a chamber beneath. Visit Pulnabrone Dolmen if you want to see a piece of history in an epic, wild Irish landscape.

Find out more here → Poulnabrone Dolmen

 

#4: Dun Aonghasa

Unlike the previous three sites on our list, Dun Aonghasa is a prehistoric hill fort. Lying at the edge of a massive cliff on the island of Inishmore in the Aran islands it’s a remarkable place, especially when you remember that it was built by hand thousands of years ago.

Experts believe it could date back as far as 1100 BC. If you’re considering a visit, be sure to bring walking boots and waterproof clothing- it can get wet and windy here.

Find out more→ Dun Aonghasa

 

#5: Carrowmore

Even though Newgrange gets all the tourist attention, Carrowmore is the largest and probably the oldest Megalithic site in Ireland, dating back to around. Located just outside of Sligo in a really beautiful part of the country, you’ll find 30 monuments in this classic passage tomb construction. It seems that the tombs were used for burial and storing artefacts during the Bronze Age and Iron Age, despite being built much earlier than this. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area!

Find out more here → Carrowmore

 

Without a doubt, these are the best Megalithic and Prehistoric sites in Ireland. But they’re certainly not the only ones. If you want more, just ask at your hostel and we can point you in the right direction!