How I Came to Discover Kealkil Stone Circle
Why not wash lunch down with a hearty pint of Guinness? After lunch you'll begin your return to Dublin, via Sally's Gap, where scenes from Braveheart were filmed in This scenic but desolate area of wild bogland offers a stunning contrast to the Wicklow Mountains. You'll arrive back in Dublin in the late afternoon, with drop-off either in Ballsbridge D4 or at Trinity College.
To keep you company on your travels and provide you with entertaining and informative commentary along the way, we have friendly and experienced guides. We will educate you not only on the flora and fauna of this area but the fascinating history. No holiday in Ireland is complete without a trip to the majestic Cliffs of Moher.
In good weather, we can have lunch next to the cliffs. Another inviting option is to head to the charming village of Doolin for lunch. Doolin is a charming village with excellent food options.
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Try the seafood! Our journey then takes us to the limestone wonder called The Burren, which is a rocky yet fertile landscape for plants and flowers.
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Colourful flowers have burst through the clints and grikes of this limestone pavement, making it a truly unique location and a thriving ecosystem. Some varieties of flowers can only be found in this region. We return to Dublin via a different route to ensure you have the opportunity to see more of the delightful west coast. Leaving the city of Dublin behind, you'll set off on board a luxury, air-conditioned coach and watch the landscape change from Dublin's urban cityscape to the rolling, green hills that typify the Irish countryside.
Your day trip will drive through several areas of interest, including the Galtee Mountains and the Curragh in County Kildare, which is home to Ireland's National Stud Farm and is famous as a sporting region. This imposing Celtic Cathedral towers above the town of Cashel from a limestone mound, approximately feet 61 meters high. This beautiful medieval castle is home to one of Ireland's best loved treasures - the fascinating Blarney Stone, which sits at the top of the castle's tower.
According to legend, kissing the stone bestows the kisser with the "gift of the gab," or talent for eloquence that the Irish famously possess. It is one of Ireland's largest and best preserved castles. It is situated on a rocky island on the River Suir. Return to Dublin for 7. City Sightseeing Dublin offers access to two routes to the best spots in the city. Enjoy the live music and vibrant atmosphere at this famous pub, before hopping back on and continuing the tour to Dublin Castle.
In the early morning, your guide will pick you up from selected centrally located pickup points and then drive you north out of the city by luxury coach. After a journey of roughly two hours, arrive in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, in time for your black cab tour.
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Look out for several of the top Belfast attractions, like the Harland and Wolff shipyard, where the Titanic was built, and Belfast Docks, where numerous ships were made in the city's industrial days. Pull over for a closer look at several key locations, including the Peace Wall, where you can sign your name next to legendary peacemakers, such as Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton. After a break to take refreshments in the city own expense , leave Belfast behind and hit the road to the Northern Irish coast. Following a route known as the Antrim Coastal Drive, pass spectacular scenery including stony shores, densely wooded glens and picture-perfect harbors.
Pause to marvel at Dunluce Castle, a medieval ruin perched precariously atop a bluff on the coast. Created more than 60 million years ago after a series of volcanic eruptions, the causeway is best known for its distinctive rock formations that span nearly 18 miles 29 km of coastline. Steel yourself for a heart-stopping walk across the swaying bridge, as the Atlantic Ocean waves pound into the cliffs below.
The surrounding headlands were also used for filming several Game of Thrones scenes. On the journey back to Dublin take a brief stop in the pretty town of Castlebelingham to stretch your legs, before arriving back to central Dublin in the evening. Welcome to Ireland.
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These huge man-made mounds are constructed from alternating layers of earth and stone, with carefully engineered interior stone passages that end in chambers. Large kerbstones, laid end to end, surround and stabilize the mounds. Many of them are elaborately carved. Dowth is directly accessible to visitors who walk or drive to the site. Newgrange High on a ridge in the middle of the Boyne Valley, Newgrange is the best known of the three mounds. Its unique triple-spiral kerbstone is emblematic of Irish megalithic art.
Newgrange was probably constructed around BCE and continued to be the focus of religious activity into the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age. At one point, it was thought or imagined to be the burial mound of the legendary kings of Tara. Romano-British votive objects were buried there between the first and fourth centuries CE, indicating its ongoing importance as a ritual center.
The squashed-oval diameter of the surrounding kerb varies from 79 m ft northwest-southeast and 85 m ft northeast-southwest, though these figures depend on who is holding the tape measure. It is 11 m 36 ft high. A partial circle of standing stones surrounds it. Newgrange has one interior passage tomb, which ends in a cruciform, a shape that also resembles the human body with outstretched arms. Large, chiseled basins that once held cremated remains are located on the floor in each of the three side recesses. One can imagine the sunlight glinting off the white surface, making it shine like a beacon.
Newgrange is awesome today; it must have been even more compelling years ago, when it was the site of ceremonies and ritual. The OPW guided tour permits you to enter the 19 m 62 ft long passage for a short time and admire the elaborate carvings on the upright stones.
On a clear morning around the winter solstice, sunlight streams through a roof-box opening above the entrance and penetrates the passage, coming to rest on the back wall of the rear chamber. Or at least it used to. Subtle shifts in the position of the earth and sun now cause the light to fall a little short of its intended target. A triple-spiral design is carved into the side wall of the rear recess, and it is possible that the morning sunlight was reflected by a polished stone?
An annual lottery provides access to the interior for the winter solstice sunrise around 21 December. Although Newgrange is called a passage tomb, presumably because bone and cremains cremated remains were found inside the chambers, it is obvious that it was not just a place of burial. It was used for cyclical ceremonies of great importance. Some writers speculate that Newgrange was used for rituals related to childbirth or fertility. Perhaps the numerous stone balls, phallic-shaped objects, and large basins found in the chambers relate to this.
A huge body of mythology swirls around Newgrange. Perhaps the winter solstice light penetrating deep into the passage was a visual representation of this mythic sexual union. Newgrange has continued to have a powerful hold on the mythic imagination for millennia, and it continues to be a powerful place, drawing thousands of visitors throughout the year who bring a mixture of curiosity, awe, and reverence.
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Although it is impossible to experience the site as it once was, especially on an OPW guided tour, consciously center yourself and be present see pp. Walk around the outside in a circular direction, following the line of the standing stones. What do you feel? Is it like entering a cave? A birth canal? Notice the carvings along the way. What do they evoke in you? And then, as the passage opens into the main chamber, how do you experience this expansion?
Your guide will use lighting to recreate the winter solstice sunrise light entering the darkness and illuminating the passageway. What do you experience? Knowth Located about a kilometer 0. Archeological evidence indicates it was first a settlement, but by BCE construction was begun on what would become one main mound with two passage tombs, opening to the east and west, roughly in line with the equinox sunrises and sunsets, and eighteen satellite tombs.
Today, the grass-covered cairns, surrounded by kerbstones, resemble a field of enormous green mushrooms. It is 85 m ft in diameter, nearly 10 m 33 ft high, and includes over decorated stones—making it the largest collection of rock art at a single site in Europe.
It has a kerb of contiguous stones, many of them ornately carved with motifs whose meaning has yet to be deciphered. Knowth was utilized from Neolithic times until about CE. At some point it was turned into a fortification, and in the s it was the seat of the kings of northern Brega.
They knew a powerful place when they found it, even if by then the entrances into the mound had been long forgotten. At the end of the twelfth century, the Normans used the mound as a motte. The OPW guided visit to the site explains in detail its transformation over the centuries. Entrance is only from the Visitor Center, and a strictly limited number of tickets are available daily for specific time slots.
You buy your ticket s , then cross the footbridge over the river to the north side at the appointed time.