Ireland's Seven Man-Made Wonders
Ireland has some man-made wonders in addition to its natural wonders - some ancient, some medieval and some quite modern. Find out more about Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth, about the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, about Ireland's round towers, about the High Crosses, about the Book of Kells, about the Leviathan, as well as Samson and Goliath.
The Megalithic Tombs of Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth
Built several hundreds of years before the Egyptians even contemplated pyramids, the Newgrange passage tomb never fails to amaze. Either from a distance, dominating the Boyne Valley, or from within - especially when the sun creeps into the inner chamber around the winter solstice. Lots of books have been written on Newgrange and the Bru na Boinne, but we still do not know who built it and why. Go there and make up your own mind
Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery
The largest megalithic cemetery in Ireland, just a short drive from Sligo Town, is accessible to visitors without any problems. What may be more of a problem is making sense of the many monuments and their alignments with each other, natural and distant man-made landmarks. This place was undoubtedly important to our megalithic ancestors ... we just can’t remember why.
Ireland's Many Round Towers
Sticking out of the nowhere in some unlikely places, round towers are the typical Irish contribution to ecclesiastical architecture. Their origins are obscure but experts agree that they were first and foremost used as bell towers for monasteries. There are many towers in stunning landscapes, with the (restored) complete tower at Glendalough being one of the best known and most photographed.
Ireland's High Crosses
The "sermons in stone" are another Irish contribution to Europe's Christian heritage - towering above the onlooker and richly decorated. Both ornamental and figurative carvings in a precise manner can be found on the high crosses. Some even tell complete stories from the Bible. While others showcase exotic animals or even contain little jokes. Monasterboice has the most splendid crosses
The Book of Kells at Trinity College
Even if it may mean queuing for hours - if you are at all interested in medieval art, try to see the Book of Kells. It is one of the most splendid examples of illuminated manuscripts and will simply blow you away. Unfortunately, only two pages of the original are on view at any time, so seeing the whole book will take some serious time.
Trinity College is home to the Book of Kells.The Chester Beatty Gallery has further illuminated manuscripts of note.
The Telescope "Leviathan" at Birr Castle
Compared with the Hubble space telescope, "Leviathan" may seem like small fry - but the telescope in the grounds of Birr Castle was once the largest and most powerful optical instrument in the world. Installed in 1845 by William Parsons, third Earl of Rosse. It still is stunning, having been restored a few years ago - and despite losing its "world's largest" status in 1917.
"Samson" and "Goliath" Towering Over Belfast
Staying on a biblical theme but heading north - "Samson" and "Goliath" dominate the skyline of Belfast and are a powerful reminder of the shipbuilding days. Now regarded as historical monuments, both cranes served the renowned shipbuilders Harland & Wolff from the 1960s. The same people who brought you the ill-fated ship "Titanic," at its time another man-made wonder of the world.