The Fortress of the Sun, Grianan Aileach: Burt, Co Donegal

Grianan Aileach - Photo by Christy Nicholas

Grianan Aileach – Photo by Christy Nicholas

Grianan Aileach, also known as the Fortress of the Sun, is a Bronze Age fort, may have been built around 500-600 CE, or perhaps even farther back, and commands a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. It’s not a particularly tall hill, but it’s taller than anything nearby. You can see north over the Inishowen Peninsula. The Fort is in good repair, and you can climb up steps built into the walls to the top of the fort. It was the clan seat of the Ui Neill clan for many years.

The drive up to the fort is a bit harrowing, with single track roads and very high hedges. However, there’s a decent sized parking area near the top, and the rest of the distance is a short climb. It has boards for maintenance vehicles to drive up, and you could probably get a wheelchair up with some effort.

It is very close to Derry, and an easy trip from many places in County Donegal. It would make a wonderful stop on the way to or from Inishowen.

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Written by Christy Nicholas

Christy Nicholas

Christy is an artist, accountant and traveler with a love for Ireland and hopes to move there someday. A variety of her artwork and travel reports are available at Christy’s Tips | Website

2 Responses

  1. Brian Deeney December 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    A few more details and photos of The Grianan of Aileach – it really is a magical place… and only 3 miles away from my home.

  2. An Grianan Hotel January 18, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    The Grianan of Aileach Ring Fort is an absolutely stunning location on the Gateway to Inishowen. Our Hotel rests at the foot of the hill and gains its inspiration from the Fort. The round features it exemplifies can be seen throughout our Hotel design.

    Only a 5 minute drive from the Hotel, it really is one of Inishowen’s finest attractions..

    Please pop into the Hotel for further information on the Fort.

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