Places to visit in Europe


Craggaunowen, set in the grounds of a tower house on twenty hectares of wooded land, has authentic reconstructed replicas of prehistoric and pre-Christian dwellings.

Actors dressed as warriors and peasants enact scenes showing how the Celts lived, farmed, hunted, fought and died. The earliest type of dwelling inhabited by the Celts was a "crannog", a fortified habitation on an artificial lake which dates back to the Bronze Age. Much more commonly found and dating back 40,000 years, is the "rath" or ring fort, the defended homestead of well-to-do Iron Age farmers. The Craggaunowen reconstruction displays many of its characteristic features, including an underground passage. In Medieval times, the Gaelic chieftains lived in castles and stone houses. The 16th century tower house is typical of the period. Various reconstructed features such as a stone tomb, a cooking place, a "togher" or wooden trackway, and an interesting structure housing a traditionally-built leather-hulled boat can also be observed, as can a "fulacht fia", a place where transient hunters did their cooking, and which may have doubled as a prehistoric sauna. Thousands of these are dotted about the Irish countryside. Also to be seen is the hide-boat built by navigator and writer Tim Servin in which he sailed across the Atlantic to North America in 1976, re-enacting the legendary pre-Columbian journey of Brendan, the saint-navigator.

Preparatory visit for teachers. Information available in French, German, Spanish, Italian and English. Craggaunowen is aware of teachers’ needs and can supply an Education Officer, classroom facilities, guided tours and active workshops on Celtic culture, on request. Topics which can be prepared in advance in the classroom are: immigration across Europe, Celtic rituals and language, Saint Brendan’s voyages, and early boats and navigation techniques. Festivals relating to Celtic history are organised on a regular basis. Further information on these may be requested by telephone.

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