Ireland is a trove of historical landmarks, but only seven will be listed here. They are in different parts of the country for travelers going beyond the attractions of Dublin.
1. Giant’s Causeway – The far northern tip of Ireland in County Antrim contains a natural wonder formed 50-60 million years ago. Basalt columns protrude from the ground in neat little groupings as if stacked there by the giant Finn Maccool of legend. Visitors can sit atop them and get a look at the chimney stacks of similar rock protrusions.
2. While up north, see the Titanic dock and pump house, still there a century after the tragic sinking of the ship; it’s in Belfast. Shankill Road of the Troubles in the 1970’s is there and tours are given to explain the current atmosphere. There is still a gate between there and Falls Road.
3. County Meath just north of Dublin holds two ancient historical landmarks. Newgrange is a large mound-shaped tomb over an acre of ground made around 3200 B.C., before the Egyptian pyramids, apparently. Not far from there is the Hill of Tara, the seat of the Irish high kings. It is 500 feet high and has a great panoramic view of the plain.
4. Dublin has many historical landmarks, but Trinity College, begun in 1592, is significant. The Book of Kells from 800 A.D. lies within and is worth seeing. It was saved by the monks from the attack on the Abbey of Kells.
5. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, also in Dublin, was built in 1220 in honor of St. Patrick on the site where he baptized converts to Christianity. Given that it is almost 800 years old, it is worth a stop.
6. On the western side of Ireland in County Clare, go to the Atlantic Ocean, but view it from the Cliffs of Moher. The tallest point stands 214 meters, or 700 feet, above the sea. There are no barriers on parts of the cliffs, so be wise. The wind is always very strong there. The sheer beauty of this natural promontory is reason to visit.
7. Down on the southern coast in the city of Cobh, visit the memorial of the port of emigration. Over 25,000 women convicts were transported to Australia from 1788 to 1853. Some were falsely accused and some had stolen bread to feed their children. After the potato famine, six million left Ireland, and two and a half million left from Cobh. The project, Roses from the Heart, commemorates the women transported with reproduction bonnets that women wore at that time. Thousands have been distributed.
Some of these historical landmarks are quite sobering, but meaningful. There are castles and monuments all over Ireland worth seeing even though there was no room to mention them here. It is easier to focus on one section of the country at a time to see as much as possible with less traveling in between points of interest.