Tourist attractions in Ireland include Skellig Michael island (and its monastery), Rock of Cashel stone fortress, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, and the Book of Kells in Dublin.
Skellig Michael island and its monastery are located within a steep, rocky island, about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from the coast of Kerry County, Ireland.
For a period of 600 years, the island monastery, which is situated at the height of about 230 meters (on top of a steep rockwall), was one of the most important monasteries in Ireland.
It was built in 588 AD, and today, the place is among the most famous early monasteries in Europe…
…but also one of the most difficult monasteries to get to.
The monastery is one of the best examples of how early Irish Christians, and early Christians in general, lived within Spartan conditions.
Of the tourist attractions in Ireland, Rock of Cashel stone fortress (heritageireland.ie/RockofCashel/), meanwhile, is a historical stone fortress within the city of Cashel, in the province of Munster.
The fortress served as the Munster royal castle for a period of several centuries before the Norman invasion, after which it was re-built, during the 12th and 13th centuries, to its current condition.
Rock of Cashel castle complex is, in fact, one of the major examples ofCeltic art and medieval architecture in Europe, with such highlights as:
- round tower, which rises to a height of 28 meters (91 ft), and
- King Cormac’s Chapel.
Cliffs of Moher, one of the most dramatic natural tourist attractions in Ireland, on the other hand, are located near the village of Doolin, in the Irish county of Clare.
Most popular highlights within the attraction include…
- 120 meter (393 ft) tall cliffs rising out the Atlantic Ocean around the Hag’s Head, and
- 214 meter (702 ft) tall cliffs north of O’Brien’s Tower.
On a clear day, you can also see from the cliffs all the way to the Aran Islands (looking towards Galway Bay), as well as to the valleys and hills of Connemara.
O’Brien’s Tower, in the vicinity of Cliffs of Moher, is a round stone tower, built to the location by Sir Cornelius O’Brien in 1835.
He added the tower as an observation tower for the hundreds of tourists, who already were coming here at the time to admire the cliffs.
From the top of the tower, you can see:
- Aran islands,
- Galway Bay, and
- Maum Turk Mountains.
Aran Islands (aranislands.com), which you can see from the Cliffs of Moher, are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, and especially well-known as a place to experience genuine, traditional Irish way of life.
The archipelago consists of three islands:
- Inishmore (largest island),
- Inishmaan (second largest), and
- Inisheer (smallest and most easterly of the islands).
Instead of English, the language of the Aran Islands is Irish, which is seen in the name for Aran Islands and its villages.
In addition to experiencing the authentic, traditional Irish way of life, which includes Irish song evenings with dancing (especially during the summer)…
…the islands’ highlights feature Iron Age buildings on the island of Inishmore, including the world famous forts of Dún Aengus and Black Fort.
To get to the islands, you can use either of the two ferry companies operating to the islands from Rossaveal: Aran Direct or Island Ferries. There is a ferry link that operates from Doolin to the Inisheer Island.
Among the best souvenirs from the islands are the world-famous Aran wool sweaters.
Finally, the Book of Kells in Dublin (www.tcd.ie/bookofkells/) has often been estimated to be the most valuable national treasure in all of Ireland.
It is an illustrated Latin manuscript, which includes four New Testament gospels, made by Celtic monks about 800 AD.
The book is a 340 spread long masterpiece of Western calligraphy and also represents, in terms of the illustrations, unique, a historically typical British Isles way of making these manuscripts.
Name for the priceless book came from the fact, that it was held at the Monastery of Kells for many centuries.
Today, however, the book is stored at the Trinity College, at the library of one of Ireland’s most famous institutions of higher education.
The library, however, will typically keep on display on about half of the existing pages of the Book of Kells at one time.