Irish Archaeology Sites

Woodstown a key site for understanding Vikings in 9th century Ireland

Fierce and wild is the wind to-night, It tosses the tresses of the sea to white; On such a night as this I take...Read More »

Early Medieval Tunnel/Souterrain discovered in Co. Kerry

Steps leading into one of the internal chambers (photo James Eogan)

Interesting news from Co. Kerry, where an early medieval tunnel system/souterrain has been uncovered during construction works along the N71 road between Bonane and Glengarrif.

Located in Releagh townland, the previously unrecorded tunnel system...Read More »

Immigrant burials in Late Iron Age Meath

Iron Age crouched burial, Bettystown (Photo James Eogan)

Exciting research by the LIARI Project has revealed the presence of ‘immigrant’ burials at a Late Iron Age/Early Medieval cemetery in Bettystown, Co. Meath.

Excavated...Read More »

Buried Horse Skulls: Folklore and Superstition in Early Modern Ireland

During the 1980s, when my grandaunt’s house was being renovated, something unusual was found beneath the floor. As the flagstones were lifted, two large horse skulls were revealed near the centre of the room....Read More »

Revealing a 17th century town: Exciting discoveries at Dunluce, Co. Antrim

Dunluce Castle by Shanliss Snapper

A team of archaeologists, which includes Dr. Colin Breen of the University of Ulster and Andrew Gault of the NIEA, are...Read More »

Bronze Age Houses Uncovered in Co. Wexford

Exciting evidence for Bronze Age activity has been uncovered at Drumgood, near Enniscorthy in Co. Wexford. This newly discovered site consists of a very large sub-circular enclosure, inside which, are at least three Bronze Age houses. It was excavated by Graham Hull of Read More »

Lost and Found: Excavations at Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

Archaeologist Alva Mac Gowan describes the recent exciting discoveries at Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin.

On Friday the 19th of September I received an email from an old friend and fellow archaeologist, Antoine Giacometti of Archaeology Plan, which simply read, ‘Call me, I have...Read More »

The wonderful 12th century doorway at Killeshin Church, Laois


Located close to the border with Co. Carlow, the small medieval church at Killeshin, Co. Laois contains a remarkable piece of Romanesque architecture. It consists of an elaborately decorated doorway in the western gable wall of the ruined church. Most likely...Read More »

Photos of Ancient Churches, Abbeys and Graves

A selection of some of the brilliant images that have been entered into our Photography Competition, this time with an emphasis on ancient churches, abbeys and graves. Don’t forget there are also posts showing photos of Irish Castles and Forts and...Read More »

Ancient Ireland in Photos

A selection of some of the amazing images that have been entered into our Photography Competition, this time with an emphasis on ancient sites. Don’t forget there is also a post showing photos of Irish Castles and FortsAll of the...Read More »

In photos: The ornate medieval stonework at Boyle Abbey, Roscommon

Inside the late 12th/early 13th century church

Founded in 1161 AD, by the Cistercian order of monks, Boyle Abbey, Co. Roscommon contains a fine collection of medieval decorated stonework....Read More »

A Viking Midsummer's Night

Alva Mac Gowan tells how she spent an enjoyable midsummer’s night in a very unusual location.

The Viking encampment on the banks of the River Slaney

This year, after a melancholy, dark and stormy winter, I decided to celebrate the longest day with a few...Read More »

19th century depictions of Ireland by William H. Bartlett


This blog post contains a selection of excellent 19th century illustrations of historic Irish sites. They were produced by William Henry Bartlett, a noted British artist, who was born in London in 1809. He  specialised in landscape drawings and had a particular fondness for ancient monuments, which he often incorporated...Read More »

Gallarus Oratory, Dingle, Co. Kerry


The iconic Gallarus oratory is located in the heart of the Kerry Gaeltacht, on the very western tip of the Dingle peninsula. With its distinctive appearance, often...Read More »

Viking Ireland, a fantastic series of videos by the National Museum of Ireland

The Vikings in Ireland is a fantastic series of videos, which have been produced by the National Museum of Ireland to celebrate the 1000 year anniversary of...Read More »

A rare 16th century bridge at Tintern, Wexford

This rare, surviving, example of a 16th century bridge is found at Tintern in Co. Wexford. Located over a small, tidal river, the bridge is situated just a short distance from the impressive ruins of Tintern Abbey, which was...Read More »

Some Fantastic 19th century Photos of Irish Archaeology Sites

This fantastic collection of photos, which are taken from the archives of Victoria & Albert Museum, show a number of Irish archaeological sites as they appeared at the end of the 19th century/start of the 20th century. The majority of...Read More »

Dunbeg Fort, Dingle, Co. Kerry, in photos

Located on a rocky promontory, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Dunbeg fort lies on the far western tip of the Dingle peninsula in Co. Kerry. This rather precarious position, although highly defensible, also leaves the fort susceptible to coastal erosion and a recent storm has caused considerable...Read More »

Mount Sandel, a Mesolithic Campsite

A Mesolithic camp similar to Mount Sandel (© Copyright Historic Scotland)

Approximately 9,000 years ago, a small band of Mesolithic hunter-gathers chose a high ridge over-looking the River Bann in modern day Co. Derry as...Read More »

Poulnabrone Tomb: Life and Death in the Burren

Poulnabrone (by Rob Shaw (Creative Commons))

Standing proud in the stark landscape of the Burren Co. Clare, the iconic megalithic tomb at Poulnabrone is one of Ireland’s most photographed...Read More »

Dublin's Oldest Street?

(image via

The earliest remains of a road thus far discovered in Dublin city was found during an archaeological excavation carried out by Claire Walsh in the vicinity of Golden Lane and Chancery Lane[i]. Although truncated in parts, the road was...Read More »

A Mesolithic cemetery: Ireland's oldest burials


Cremation pyre by Aaron Watson (after Williams 2006)

On a bend of the River Shannon, Ireland’s largest watercourse, a small band of hunter-gathers came to together nearly 9,500 years ago, to bury one of their own. At what is now known as Hermitage, Co....Read More »

Images of Newgrange through the ages

Newgrange today

The Neolithic  passage tomb at Newgrange is the most visited archaeological site in Ireland. Over 5000 years old it pre-dates the first phase of Stonehenge by 1000 years and the Egyptian pyramids by 400 years. It is a truly massive structure measuring 76 m...Read More »

The enigmatic fulacht fiadh or burnt mound

A burnt mound under excavtion at Rathmore, Co. Wicklow

Burnt mounds are a type of archaeological site whose defining characteristic is large quantities of heat shattered stone. These sites commonly date to the Bronze Age, although examples from the Neolithic through to the medieval...Read More »

The sweat house at Creevaghbaun, Co. Galway

Creevaghbaun sweat house

I recently visited a small but distinctive archaeological site at Creevaghbaun, Co. Galway. It consists of diminutive well-built structure that is known locally as a ‘teach allais’ or sweat house (teach allais is the Irish for sweat house). The building is clearly...Read More »

The Cistercian monastery at Abbeyknockmoy, Co. Galway


I recently visited Abbeyknockmoy Abbey in Co. Galway, which must be one of the most impressive Cistercian monasteries in Ireland. The extensive remains comprise a large transitional style church of early 13th century date, a...Read More »

Newgrange and the Winter Solstice

The passage tomb at Newgrange is probably Ireland’s most iconic archaeological site and it is indelibly linked with the winter solstice. The tomb itself is over 5000 years old, pre-dating the first phase of Stonehenge by 1000 years and the Egyptian pyramids by 400 years. It...Read More »

Roman contacts with Ireland

That Ireland was reasonably well known in the classical world is demonstrated by Ptolemy’s Geography. This is a list of place names and tribal names with their exact locations given in longitude and latitude. It was compiled by Ptolemy who was a  Graeco-Roman living in Alexandria, Egypt,...Read More »

Irish bog bodies, some recent discoveries

Another ancient body has just been recovered from the depths of an Irish bog. This time the remains consist of a partial bog body that appears to have been covered in a leather bag (update: the...Read More »

Archaeological excavations at Rossnaree, Bru na Boinne, Co. Meath

Rossnaree geophysical image

Last year I stumbled across an excellent blog detailing the archaeological excavations being carried out at Rossnaree, Co. Meath. The second season of digging at...Read More »

Dublin's Viking warrior burials

Recent research carried out by a number of archaeologists, especially Linzi Simpson, Dr Stephen Harrison and Raghnall Ó Floinn, has uncovered substantial evidence for early Viking warrior burials in and around Dublin city. The majority of these burials have been dated to the 9th century AD, a period...Read More »

Irish corn-drying kilns, their Bronze Age origins?

A number of recent archaeological excavations have shed light on the possible ancient origins of corn-drying kilns in Ireland. These structures played an important role in cereal production, especially in damp climates such as Ireland where they were used to remove moisture prior to storage as well as to harden...Read More »

Dublin, The Prehistoric City

Reconstruction drawing of a prehistoric settlement (by Andrew Hall source)


When we think about the archaeology of Dublin the first things that comes to mind are the extensive Viking remains uncovered at sites...Read More »

Archaeology showcase at Ferrycarrig, The Irish National Heritage Park

In the week the Irish government announced a new tourism drive, I’d better give a plug to the heritage sector. As it happens, last Sunday I spent a very enjoyable day at the Irish National Heritage Park at Ferrycarrig in...Read More »

New Viking houses found in Dublin

Viking house reconstruction by Simon Dick

I see on the news that archaeologists Alan Hayden and Co. uncovered what may be the remains of two Viking houses in Temple bar, Dublin.  Exciting...Read More »