The sun shining through the passage tomb at Newgrange at the winter solstice was one of the wonders of the ancient world. Five thousand years ago, was this a burial mound for kings? A place of ritual? An astrological calendar? Now it is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Our ancient heritage is all around us – no wonder we have so many myths and legends. Turn off the motorway and you’ll find standing stones, fairy forts, stone circles, burial mounds and dolmens that have intrigued travellers for centuries.
You could spend days in the Boyne Valley, visiting Brú na Bóinne and the Hill of Tara. Or take a trip to an island: the Iron Age fort, Dun Aengus, has survived on Inis Mór for 2000 years, while Skellig Michael, off the Kerry coast, dates from the 7th century. This monastic complex perched on a rock is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
You could check out the Bronze Age stone circles in Cork and Kerry or the Céide Fields in North Mayo, the most extensive Stone Age site in the world. Or visit the National Museum in Dublin to see the greatest collection of prehistoric gold objects in Western Europe.