Taaffe Castle, Co. Louth
Fortified town houses were a popular form of residence amongst the wealthy merchant classes of medieval Ireland.
Taaffe's Castle was situated on the old harbour front which suggests that the building was the residence and trading depot of an important member of this merchant class. Business was conducted on the bottom floor and the upper floors contained the living quarters.
Its architecture indicates two phases of construction, the main tower of early 16th century date and a later 16th century extension.
The building derives its names from the Taaffe family who became Earls of Carlingford in 1661.
Tara Co. Meath
Tara, the settlement of the Celtic High Kings. Before Christianity, Tara
was the political and religious center. It was here, at the "Lia Fail", the
stone of destiny, the different tribes and clans elected their "Ard R�".
The high king's power was mostly symbolic. Disruption has always left its stamp
on the Emerald Isle. Tara was a settlement with fortifications, banquet halls,
houses, sun rooms (called "Grianan"), sacred grooves, mounds, and of course the
of honor. Mother Ireland is out there, waiting for you, when you stand on the
hill of Tara. Newgrange is a stone grave from the neolithic era. It was built
ago, predating the pyramids more than 1000 years.The facing is made of
white quartzite and dark granite. The 20 meter long passage inside the grave is
narrow and low. Once a year, at winter solstice, a sun beam finds its way
through the passage. The air is dry and fresh inside. People have come to
worship here for thousands of years. In ancient days, the place was
connected with the mysterious Tuatha D� Danann.
Tully Castle, Co. Fermanagh
Everyone who visits Tully Castle appreciates its beautiful setting on a point in Lower Lough Erne, but not everyone is aware of its secrets.
The castle was built by a scottish planter, Sir John Hume, with strong defensive 'bawn' walls around it in 1610-13. It was lived in for just 30 years before its tragic end.
When Sir John died, his son Sir George inherited the castle but in 1641, as part of the great uprising at that time, Rory Maguire, the local chief, seized the castle, burnt it down and killed everyone around, some 75 people. For 350 years it lay ruined and desolate. When the site was cleared of ivy and growth in the 1970s, the paths of an old garden were found inside the bawn and an authentic 17th-century style garden has been re-created. Nature is very kind to this area of Fermanagh and you will also find hundreds of wildflowers in the nearby hedges.