The most fascinating ruins in Ireland

Jerpoint Abbey, photo by Eirian Evans on Flickr

Reading about the past of Ireland in history books or staring at exhibits in museums can be a lot of fun, but nothing compares to how history just comes alive when you are actually visiting the remnants of times past. The lush green Irish countryside hides many such treasures, some famous and visited by many, and some of them forgotten by all except for locals. Often when you walk aimlessly in some scenic corner of Ireland, you might chance upon an old ruin that can date back to medieval times. If you like the romantic and mysterious atmosphere that surrounds these abandoned places, visit some of the most fascinating ruins in Ireland.

Jerpoint Abbey, Co Kilkenny

The 12th century Jerpoint Abbey is one of the best preserved Cistercian abbeys in Ireland. Although the abbey lies in ruins now, its intricate carvings are still somewhat visible, especially those on the tomb of the Bishop of Ossory, Felix Dunaly. These vast ruins have examples of Norman and early English architecture, with some beautiful Romanesque details on the tower.

Clonmacnois, Co Offaly

Clonmacnois, photo by Rambling Traveler on Flickr

Clonmacnois is one of the most intriguing monastery ruins in Ireland, located in a beautiful natural setting on River Shannon. The monastery was built around the 6th century, and for centuries its name was tied to the line of the kings of Connacht. In the Middle Ages, the monastery was one of the most famous centers of learning in Europe, visited by many famous scholars, and several kings of Connacht and Tara were buried here.

Inishmurray Monastery, Inishmurray

Inioshmurray is an uninhabited island off the coast of Co Sligo, and it is home to some of the oldest monastic ruins in Ireland. The ancient monastery on Inishmurray was founded in the 6th century, and attacked by Vikings in the 8th century. However, the thick walls surrounding the settlement protected it for centuries, and the last of the inhabitants left in the 1880’s. The ruins of the monastic settlements include various religious buildings and other interesting ruins. Up until recently, the ruins on Inishmurray used to be a popular pilgrimage site, but even if they don’t get too many visitors today, they remain some of the most fascinating ruins in Ireland.

Skellig Michael, Co Kerry

Skellig Michael, photo by Arian Zwegers on Flickr

Skellig Michael, is a craggy, rocky island off the coast of Co Kerry, which used to be one of the most important centers of monastic life in Ireland for many centuries. The monastery on Skellig Michael located at the top of the mountain was declared a UNESCO World World Heritage Site. These beautiful ruins are in very good shape, because the site is difficult to access.

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