Blackwater Village Grotto: Co. Wexford

Blackwater Village in Co. Wexford is just a wide spot in the road that has been awarded a Tidy Town award several times. Opposite a unique thatched “shell cottage” is a stone bridge, river and cascade. Hidden away beside the river is a beautiful Marian shrine surrounded by leafy green trees. Every year a procession […]

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Birds, Crosses, Scenery, and a Reigning King: Tory Island, Co Donegal

Tory Island, off the north coast of County Donegal, is unique in many ways: it is the only Irish island which still has a King; it is the only inhabited Irish island to have been designated a Special Protection Area for birds; it has the only Tau Cross in Ireland still in it’s original place; […]

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Forest Walk with Irish Famine History: Bonny Glen Woods, Co Donegal

Bonny Glen Wood is a place of peace and beauty, hidden away along an old road in west Donegal, not far from the town of Ardara. The wood has two laid out walks (one of about a mile, the second about 3 miles). There are many varieties of tree in the wood together with three […]

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Devotional Delight at St. Brigid’s Holy Well: Co Kildare

St. Brigid is one of the three patron saints of Ireland, and has dozens of holy wells dedicated to her throughout the island. Echoes of the Goddess Brigid are heard in the Saint’s stories, and some of the wells, like this one, has a wish tree, or a clootie tree, nearby. The well itself has […]

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Waiting on Shore Monument: Rosses Point, Co. Sligo

A poignant memorial to seafarers and their loved ones who waited for their safe return, the Waiting on Shore monument at Rosses Point, Co. Sligo is a large bronze statue by Niall Bruton. Depicting a woman with outstretched arms looking longingly out to sea, it is evocative of patience, anguish and lost love. The engraved plaque […]

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The World’s Oldest Operating Lighthouse: Hook Head, Co. Wexford

The lighthouse at Hook Head sits at the tip of a long low-lying peninsula guarding the entrance to Waterford Harbor. Across the water is Crook Castle, which some say coined the term “By Hook or by Crook”. Founded in the 5th century by Welsh monk St. Dubhain, the first beacon was merely a bonfire to […]

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Castle Ward, Classical Gothic Fantasy: Strangford, Co. Down

  Castle Ward is an eccentric, historic 18th Century mansion overlooking Strangford Lough. Built by Bernard Ward 1st Viscount Bangor and his wife Anne, the battling spouses each wanted a different design. He wanted Palladian style with columns, pediments and clean lines. She adored the neo-Gothic genre that was the rage at the time. They […]

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Saint Patrick Atop Ireland’s Highest Motte: Granard, Co Longford

Known as Patrick’s Motte or the Granard Motte, this man-made hill was built in 1199 and overlooks the modern town. It is surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped earthen wall called a bailey (that’s where places like Ballybunion get their name) and served as an early fort. At 534 feet above sea level, it claims to be […]

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Ireland’s Link to the Hope Diamond: Castleblayney, Co Monaghan

This three story Georgian manor provides a setting for Ireland’s tie to the famous Hope Diamond. The 1799 home was sold in 1853 to the Hope family who also owned and gave their name to one of the world’s most famous gems, the Hope Diamond. The castle eventually became a convent and was later left […]

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Moyry Castle: Carrickbroad, Co Armagh

The square defensive tower house was built in 1601 to protect the Gap of Moyry and the Gap of the North, and its rounded corners give it a unique look. The nearby railroad crossing was one of the most-bombed bridges during “The Troubles” as the IRA made efforts disrupt the rail line between Belfast and […]

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