Dublin - Kilmainham Gaol
Stay at the Hilton Hotel Kilmainham - 1 minute walk
Kilmainham Gaol was opened in 1796. It was one of the most modern prisons in Ireland. Known as ‘the New Gaol’ at the time, it replaced an earlier prison. In line with most eighteenth-century gaols, this prison was a disorderly place. Men, women, and children were held together, gaolers were cruel, and conditions were unhealthy. Names such as Henry Joy McCracken, Robert Emmet, Anne Devlin, Charles Stewart Parnell and the leaders of 1916 will always be associated with the building.
Tours are available all year round. It is advised that you book tickets online prior to your visit.
Galway - Portumna Castle & Gardens
Stay at County Arms Hotel - 25 minute drive
Built by the fourth earl of Clanricarde, Portumna Castle was the de Burgo family power base for centuries. The castle is a unique example of the transitional Irish architecture of the early 1600s. Its bold design combines elements of medieval and Renaissance style that complement each other perfectly. A major fire in 1826 left the castle a roofless shell, but the state began to bring it back from ruin in the 1960s. Restoration work continues to this day. The castle enjoys a sensational view of Lough Derg.
The ground floor is open to the public and houses an exhibition that brings the story of the castle and the de Burgo family to life.
Meath - Newgrange
Stay in the City North Hotel - 18 minute drive
Newgrange is a Stone Age monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath. Newgrange was constructed about 5,200 years ago which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. Newgrange is a large circular mound 85m in diameter and 13m high with a 19m stone passageway and chambers inside. The mound is ringed by 97 large kerbstones, some of which are engraved with symbols called megalithic art. Newgrange is described as Ancient Temple a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance.
Pre-booking tickets is essential as there is a limited number of tickets available.
Waterford - Lismore Castle and Gardens
Stay in Park Hotel Dungarvan - 25 minute drive
Lismore Castle in Waterford, Ireland, is a one of a kind and a repository of extraordinary history: from walls marked by Cromwellian cannonballs to the days it was owned by Sir Walter Raleigh -the man who brought potatoes and tobacco to Ireland. The castle dates back to 1170.
Although the castle is not open to the public, it is available to rent for luxury parties. However, the Gardens and Lismore Castle Art are open to visitors all year round. Booking tickets online is advised.
St Carthage Hall across the street is open Friday - Sunday during exhibitions and admission is free.
Offaly - Clonmacnoise
Stay in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel - 30 minute drive
St Ciarán founded his monastery, Clonmacnoise, on the banks of the River Shannon in the 6th Century. The monastery flourished and became a great seat of learning, a University of its time with students from all over Europe. The ruins include a cathedral, two round towers, three high crosses, nine Churches and over 700 Early Christian grave slabs. The original high crosses, including the magnificent 10th century Cross of the Scriptures, are on display in a purpose-built visitor centre adjacent to the monastic enclosure.
Clonmacnoise is open all year round from 10am - 5:30pm. The average length of the visit is 1.5 hours
Cork - Blarney Castle & Gardens
Stay in the Maldron Hotel Shandon - 15 minute drive
Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland's greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney making it a world landmark and one of Ireland's greatest treasures. Blarney Castle is especially famous for the legendary Stone of Eloquence, found at the top of our tower. You can explore the gardens around the castle following a tour of the castle.
Blarney Castle & Gardens are open 7 days a week and the opening times are 9am – 5.30pm. Pre-booking is advised.
Roscommon - Arigna Mining Experience
Stay in the Landmark Hotel - 23 minute drive
During the underground tour, visitors will experience what it was like to work in some of the narrowest coal seams in the western world. The tour which will last 45 minutes brings visitors to the coal face of the mine, where the methods used to extract coal are demonstrated. Lighting and sound effects in the mine, add to the authenticity of the underground experience. For generations, the industry sustained families and communities around Arigna, helping many through the horrors of the famine years.
Take a trip to Arigna Mines where history is brought to life. Learn the story of Ireland’s coal mining industry and explore the themes of energy – past, present and future. The mines are open from 10am-6pm daily, seven days a week.
If you are a history enthusiast, these are some great places to visit to learn about the history of Ireland in generations past and how our ancestors lived! Why not take a trip with the whole family and learn about Irish history!
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