Mystical Places on The Emerald Isle | Ultimate Guide in Ireland
While your typical Ireland trip would probably not include anything other-worldly, you should know that with the perfect itinerary, everything is possible! There are plenty of stunning attractions that are shrouded in mystery, whether in regard to their origins or current state. So, if you seek thrilling experiences and fun, peculiar lessons, check out our ultimate guide to mystical places on the Emerald Isle!
At number one, we have one of the top tourist attractions in Ireland – the gorgeous, albeit a bit intimidating, Giant’s Causeway. These complicated rock formations are super famous for creating picturesque scenery, and, of course, there is a debate about their origins.
According to scientists, the hexagonal basalt rocks were created 6 million years ago by a flow of basaltic lava. While that explanation is relatively easy and no doubt believable, the Irish are still pretty sure that the Causeway that has been like an 8th World Wonder in their eyes is the handiwork of the Giants! What do you think?
This prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, is one of the biggest secrets of Irish history. Older than Stonehedge and the Pyramids, it consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and cruciform chamber.
So what is the real significance of Newgrange? Many disturbing things were found in the chambers, raising more questions than providing answers. Historians discovered plenty of evidence suggesting Catholic importance or ceremonial events, yet nothing was agreed on. The Irish themselves like to address Newgrange in regards to Irish mythology, especially their Gods, but we suggest you travel to County Meath yourself and see for yourself!
Tory Island is the most remote yet inhabited island in County Donegal, and this one is genuinely shrouded in mystery!
According to ancient history, Tory Island used to be the stronghold of Fomorians, a supernatural race of monstrous beings. They used to be portrayed as giants and sea raiders, making Tory an even more peculiar site. It was also home to Fomorian king Balor of the evil eye.
Apart from legendary tales of war and ruins, Tory Island also played an essential part in the first World War and overall has some great stories of historical significance. So we suggest you take a drive to County Donegal to witness the field for yourself and learn of the history and mystery of the great Fomorians and Gaelic culture!
Hill of Tara
Yet another central attraction near Skryne, in County Meath, Hill of Tara is an ancient ceremonial and burial site consisting of numerous monuments and earthworks dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age.
Traditionally, the Hill of Tara was the inauguration place and seat of the High Kings of Ireland, but it appears in Irish mythology even more. Specifically, it explains the origins of the Stone of Destiny, by far the most famous monument on the Hill of Tara.
According to the legend, the stone was brought by Tuatha De Danann, a semi-divine race traveling through North Ireland to learn magic. It is now known as one of Ireland’s four legendary treasures, the other three being Sword of Light, Spear of Lugh, and The Dagda’s Cauldron.
The Stone of Destiny is also said to have been magical. It is believed that when the rightful High King of Ireland put his feet on it, the stone would shout out in joy. So why not try your luck? Maybe it will greet you too!
The sacred lands of Carrowmore consist of about 30 tombs, creating the most substantial megalithic compound in Ireland. It is a protected National Monument, displaying an ancient ritual landscape dominated by the mountain of Knocknarea on the west. And, if you think 30 tombs are a lot, keep in mind that initially, it was closer to 100, but not all managed to survive.
All of them were built in the 4th millennium BCE, the Neolithic era. And while there are plenty of tomb sites in Ireland, Carrowmore really stands out since most of its burial chambers are quite atypical to ordinary Irish ones. For example, none of them have the tunnel passageways, a signature feature of Irish tombs, and only one possesses a cairn.
Carrowmore falls into the same category as Newgrange, so it would be super interesting to visit both and compare!
Rock of Cashel
You have probably heard the name, right? Of course, the Rock of Cashel has always been a popular tourist site in Ireland, but did you know of the mystical aspects of it?
Its origins and the first stories date back to the 4th and 5th centuries, and the Irish love telling them. The Rock is also deemed historically significant since the stories feature two of the most important figures of Irish legend and history. The first one was St. Patrick, which you know from St. Patrick’s Day. According to the folk tales, he arrived in Cashel and baptized the first Christian ruler of Ireland. The second one is, of course, the High King Brian Boru, the only ruler who managed to unite all of Ireland. He was also crowned in Cashel!
Visit the castle and ruins steeped in history and legends, learn more about its origins that have to do with the Devil, and enjoy the magnificent landscapes of ancient Ireland!
Check out as many of these sites as possible on an Ireland road trip and learn more about the history that made Ireland into what it is today. Remember to keep your eyes and ears open, as the stories are highly engaging, and the scenery is incredible. Good luck, and get lost in the mystical world of the Emerald Isle!