Ancient Ireland the Emerald Isle
Mystical Sites Tour
A seven Day Tour of Ireland’s Ancient & Mystical Sites
The lands of our ancestors the Neolithic Stone Builders stretched from the Scottish isles and down the west coast of England following the ancient trading route south and spreading out east into England and west into Ireland. The ancient sites of County Meath are some of the most significant in the World and on this ancient and mystical sites of Ireland tour, we will visit the famous Newgrange and Knowth chambered tombs as well as the Loughcrewe chambered cairns and the Fourknocks passage tomb all in the Boyne Valley. The Hill of Tara, Ireland’s ancient seat of Kings, will be an awe-inspiring experience that fires the imagination. We will call at Fore with its unexpected collection of ancient buildings and peculiar myths (Town of the Seven Wonders), hiding away within the surrounding hills, before calling at the historic town of Kells, the Celtic home of the ‘Book of Kells’.
Our ancient and mystical sites tour of the Emerald Isle will be based in the historic town of Athlone on the banks of the river Shannon and in the geographic centre of Ireland, where we will be staying in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, on a bed and breakfast basis. On the first day we will call at the wonderful collection of ecclesiastic buildings that form the ancient Monastic site of Clonmacnoise on the outskirts of Athlone. We will also have a well- deserved free day in Athlone with its picturesque riverside views and walks, shops, bars and restaurants all providing the authentic Irish atmosphere and of course the ‘Craic’.
We will spend a day visiting the Carrowmore Ancient Cemetery, in the county of Sligo, the location of the best collection of megalithic sites in Ireland. This extensive site provides an insight into the lives of our ancient cousins from the Neolithic Age. Another full day will be spent exploring the wide range of ancient and historical sites on the beautiful open limestone landscapes of the Burren National Park, including ancient abbey and monastic settlements and Neolithic dolmens and chambered tombs and much more on this grand mystical sites tour of ancient Ireland.
Proposed Itinerary of Ancient and Mystical Sites of Ireland
Day 1. Ferry to Dublin, Athlone & the Monastic Site of Clonmacnoise
The tour leaves from Preston with extra pick ups along the route. We will also meet at the ferry terminal in Holyhead.
After our ferry from Holyhead arrives in Dublin we will head west across Ireland to the beautiful and historic town of Athlone our base for the next six nights. The town is on the banks of the river Shannon and Lough Ree, the second largest lake in Ireland. We will then visit the Monastic centre of Early Christian known as Clonmacnoise, founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century on the eastern bank of the Shannon. The site includes the remains of a cathedral, seven churches (10th -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian grave slabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of grave slabs are on display in the interesting visitor centre.
Day 2. A tour of Carrowmore Ancient Cemetery & Queen Maeve’s Cairns
Carrowmore Ancient Cemetery, in County Sligo, is the largest area of megalithic tombs and stone circles in Ireland and we will be exploring this fascinating megalithic park that is overlooked by Queen Maeve’s Cairn, a probable passage tomb that is said to be the burial place of the Celtic queen herself that takes a prominent position over the Carrowmore ancient landscape on Knocknarea Hill. The walk to the cairn is 0.8 mile, which should take around 40 mins, with a raise of 600 feet from the carpark. A tour of these quintessential Irish ancient and mystical sites is a must for anyone interested in our ancient Neolithic and Bonze Age past.
Day 3. A free day in Athlone
Sitting on the banks of the magnificent river Shannon the historic Irish town of Athlone is a great place to spend a well earned free day. You can stroll alone the river banks or take in the shops, bars and restaurants all providing the authentic Irish atmosphere and of course the ‘Craic’.
Day 4. Tour of the Ancient Sites of the Burren
The Burren is a huge area of land lying on the west coast of Ireland, to the south of Galway Bay, that contains a National Park and a large assortment of ancient and historical sites. The magnificent landscape of the Burren is well known for its plethora of wildlife and differing terrain, including massive areas of distinctive limestone plateau. During this circular day tour we will visit sites ranging from Neolithic chambered tombs to hill forts and Early Christian abbeys and monasteries.
Day 5. Change of location to County Meath and A Day Touring the its Ancient & Mystical Sites
Our tour of Irish ancient and mystical sites continues in County Meath, the location of some of the most important sites in Europe. Loughcrew Cairns are a large area of Passage Graves sitting on a hillside, some with fine stone carvings within ancient stone corridors dating as far back as 4000 BC. Loughcrew is little known in comparison to its nearby neighbours making a visit here a wonderfully peaceful experience. We will also visit the town of Kells, the source of the 9th century Book of Kells now displayed as a reproduction in the Heritage Centre. Today you will find a monastic enclosure protecting St Columba’s Church, crosses and a round tower. The town of Fore is hiding away behind surrounding hills but it has a fascinating history and some magnificent historic buildings such as the Early Christian Monastery founded in 630 AD. But what is the answer to the riddle ‘The Seven Wonders of Fore’.
Day 6. A Tour of the Ancient Sites of the Boyne Valley, Newgrange, Knowth and the Hill of Tara
Accessible from the remarkable and informative Brú na Bóinne Visitors Centre Newgrange passage tomb is Ireland’s premier ancient site. Dating from the Early Neolithic Age this massive covered mound shaped ceremonial temple boasts astrological alignments along its 62 feet stone passageway and the best collection of ancient stone carvings and megalithic art anywhere. Also from Brú na Bóinne the Knowth passage tomb has been similarly restored to its sister Newgrange and together a guided tour of these sites is an unforgettable experience. The Hill of Tara ‘Temair’ in gaeilge has an atmosphere that seems to take you back to times when this was the seat of power of ancient Irish kings and the dwelling place of the Gods from before the beginnings of recorded history. This powerful place is the location of the Irish coronation stone, the ‘Lia Fail’, or ‘Stone of Destiny’. What a place to conclude our adventure of the ancient and mystical sited of Ancient Ireland.
Day 7. Today we will head back to Dublin and the ferry back to Holyhead and home with memories of the Emerald Isle
The Ancient Ireland Tour Film
Tour Price £1,200. (Single Supplement £100)
Cost Includes: Neil’s services as an ancient sites guide, B&B in the hotels, Costs of administration, ferry crossings. Not included: Travel insurance, please ensure you have all the relevant travel and health insurance, Lifts around the ancient sites, which are free of charge.
Deposits can also be made by Paypal here (includes £10 Paypal fee per person)