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 seven Beaghmore Bronze Age circles? Or the curious idols on Boa and White islands on 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 in County Fermanagh 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.
Visit the National Trust website or the Northern Ireland Environment Agency for more ideas.