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A Monumental Heritage

Stepping stones into the past

Back in the mists of time, some of our remotest areas were bustling! The first known dwelling on this island was found at Mountsandel near Coleraine (7000BC). Fermanagh and Tyrone are especially rich in Stone Age archaeology. Atop a windswept upland or in a lakeside field, await intriguing stones and earthwork. Can you solve the mystery of the 7 Beaghmore Bronze Age circles? Or the curious idols on Boa and White islands in Lough Erne? The Fermanagh lake was popular with Neolithic and early Christian Celts; its shoreline and islands full of burial and dwelling sites. 

Within Belfast City Hall grounds you can view the memorial paying tribute to the 22 Belfast men who lost their lives on the ship, and thanks to Pirrie's influence the Lord Mayor's Suite is also known as 'The Titanic Rooms' as craftsmen who worked on them also worked on the famous liner.  

Visit the spectacle of Navan Fort near Armagh, stronghold of the Ulster kings, famous in the sagas of Cuchulainn and the Red Branch Warriors.

There are even more antiquities from the early Christian era. Superb examples of monastic sites, gravestones, abbeys, round towers and Celtic crosses crop up in every county. The perfect round tower on Devenish Island (Lough Erne) is worth the boat trip, as is the church on White Island, overlaying Christian and earlier imagery.

Greyabbey is one of our best monastic sites, set in parkland with a medieval herb garden. Also see: Nendrum Monastery in Down, Armagh friary, Killevy Churches, Ardboe High Cross (Ulster's first), Antrim Round Tower, Dungiven Priory (15th century tomb of an O'Cahan chief). You can even visit St. Patrick's church in Raholp and his grave in Downpatrick. Many of sites are free.

Visit the National Trust website or the Northern Ireland Environment Agency for further details.

Just Some Ideas

Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast

Parliament Buildings is home to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the legislative body for Northern Ireland established under the Belfast Agreement 1998 (Good Friday Agreement).

Newtownstewart Castle, Newtownstewart, Omagh

The power of the O’Neill chieftains in Tyrone came to an end in 1607. Defeated in battle by English forces and fearful for their future, Hugh O’Neill and his allies fled Ireland in what has become known as the Flight of the Earls.

Apprentice Boys of Derry Memorial Hall & Siege Museum, Londonderry/Derry

The Apprentice Boys of Derry Memorial Hall and museum is dedicated to the history and heritage of the Siege of Londonderry 1688 - 1689. The building is neo-gothic, with a strong Scottish baronial façade and is a listed building.

Finnis Souterrain, Banbridge

Finnis Souterrain, locally known as ‘Binder’s Cove,’ is a hidden gem for the intrepid heritage enthusiast.

Audley's Castle, Downpatrick

The castle dates probably from around the 15th century, but the early history is unknown. This site was used for filming a scene for Game of Thrones.

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European Regional Development Fund