Places to visit in Europe

The Irish National Heritage Park

The Irish National Heritage Park Ireland, more than any European country, is dotted with material reminders of its past inhabitants. The Irish National Heritage Park, which has received the European Year of the Environment Award, offers an excellent opportunity to see the homesteads, places of ritual, burial modes and long-forgotten remains of the people who lived, worshipped, and buried their dead, at different periods in Irish history from 7000 BC to the arrival of the Normans in the 12th Century.

The Park consists of diverse environmental settings, each reconstruction carried out under the guidance of a professional archaeologist, and located in its proper natural setting, exactly as it would have been originally. The Park has 16 historical sites representing the following periods:

1. The Mesolithic Period (Middle Stone Age 7000-4000 BC) shows a typical Camp Site, how its inhabitants lived, which tools they used, how they dressed and the different types of burial rituals. The site is based on excavations made in Ireland.

2. The Neolithic Period (New Stone Age 4000-2000 BC). Early farming techniques at the Farmstead with a clear display of crop and growing techniques.

3. The Bronze Period (2000-500 BC) was the start of the technological revolution with the introduction of copper and bronze, which allowed a wider range of durable weapons and household goods to be made. Various burial customs can be seen, as well as the "Stone Circle", a sacred place used for the performance of special rituals whose nature and purpose remain a mystery.

4. The Celtic/Early Christian Period (500 BC-1169AD) produced the earliest forms of writing, with letters being represented by various numbers of strokes or notches along the edge of the Ogham standing stones. An early Christian Monastery shows how Christianity arrived in Ireland in the 4th century with missionaries sent by the Pope in Rome. The reconstruction is based on archaeological evidence from a 10th century monastery. Skills in corn drying, storage, malt production and watermills are clearly displayed. Different cooking and heating methods with the use of hot stones or stone ovens give an insight into living habits. Later, the development of woodcrafting enabled tools, boats, jetties and canoes to be built and sophisticated items of jewellery, and leather and glasswork started to be made. A Viking shipbuilder's yard and house are not to be missed.

5. The Early Norman Period (1169-1190 AD) features an early Norman castle and the first Norman fortifications in Ireland. Round towers offered protection from raiders seeking to plunder the monasteries for gold and silver.


A visit to the Heritage Park is accompanied by a multi-language audio-visual presentation of "Ireland through the Ages" and a guided tour for all groups.

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