The Top 5 Historical Places in Ireland

From the invasion of the Vikings to the present day, the history of Ireland is an endless tribute to the stoic, unbreakable spirit of its citizens. Our little island’s past is rich, diverse and interesting, with a huge treasure trove of historical sites to visit and learn from. Below, we have listed the top 5 historical places in Ireland. These towns are steeped in centuries of history and culture, which makes them a major focal point for tourists to come and learn about Ireland’s diverse past. Read on and educate yourself on some of the key locations of Irish antiquity.

Kinsale, Co. Cork

Kinsale, Co. Cork

Kinsale is a coastal town in the west of Ireland, in County Cork. The town has a significant past spanning hundreds of years, and has seen some of the bloodiest battles in Irish history. Parts of the Nine Years War (1594-1603) were fought here, between the ruling Irish Chieftains of the time (Hugh O’Neill being the most famous) and the Kingdom of England. The ultimate battle of this war was the infamous battle of Kinsale in 1601. The Spanish allies of Ireland accidentally landed in Kinsale instead of Ulster, and a bloody fight ensued, ending in victory for England. Another important historical event linked to Kinsale is the sinking of the Lusitania. On May 7th 1915 during the First World War, the RMS Lusitania was sank off the coast of Kinsale by German submarines. This event is the reason that the US decided to enter the war. Like the majority of interesting historical places in Ireland, Kinsale’s colourful past is preserved and displayed in the form of tours, museums and attractions throughout the town, such as Charles Fort, Don & Barry’s Historic Stroll Through Old Kinsale, James’s Fort and Kinsale Regional Museum. More info on Kinsale is available here.

If you fancy having these historical destinations as part of your vacation in Ireland, please visit our homepage for details. 

Derry/Londonderry City, Co. Derry

Derry/Londonderry City, Co. Derry

The city of Derry/Londonderry has seen more than its fair share of conflict, making it one of the more interesting historical places in Ireland. Derry was a backdrop for many important historical events spanning from the 14th century Plantation of Ulster all the way up to the more recent Troubles, and anyone interested in Irish history will know something of Derry. Up until recent decades, Derry’s most well-known attribute was that of a conflict-zone. The 1689 Siege of Derry, the 1920s Irish War of Independence, World War II and the 1969 Battle of the Bogside all had their day in Derry. You can rest assured that this city will not be left out of the history books for many decades to come! Today, the atmosphere in the city is the polar opposite of what it once was known for; in 2013, Derry was named the UK’s 2013 City of Culture. Due to the extensiveness of its back-story, Derry has many historical monuments and attractions to admire. The City Walls, The Peace Bridge, The Museum of Free Derry and many other activities and sights dedicated to telling Derry’s tale. For more info on Derry/Londonderry, click here.

Wexford, Co. Wexford

Wexford, Co. Wexford

Wexford was founded by Viking settlers in 800 AD, with the first recorded raid on the town being documented in 819 AD. Since then the town has borne witness to many significant historical events. Besieged by the King of Leinster Dermot MacMurrough in 1169, the town was invaded by the Normans and its Viking-Irish inhabitants were forced to accept defeat. It was sacked and burned by Oliver Cromwell’s men in 1649, and eventually provided the backdrop for the 1798 Irish Rebellion. It’s not hard to see that Wexford’s past is steeped in bloodshed. But it wasn’t all guts and glory – Wexford enjoyed the status of a successful port town, up until the 20th century. It was also the motherland of John F. Kennedy’s paternal grandfather, putting it on a long list of historical places in Ireland that feature the ancestral home of a US President. Naturally, it comes as no surprise that Wexford town today has many historical attractions on offer to visitors, including the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience, The 1798 Rebellion Centre, The John F. Kennedy Arboretum and Vinegar Hill. For more info on Wexford town, click here.

Trim, Co. Meath

Trim, Co. Meath

Trim is a town in County Meath. A town known for its historical connections to both St. Patrick and the Normans, there is no shortage of stories to tell about Trim. At an early date, a monastery was founded in the town by St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. This was left in the hands of St. Loman. The monastery suffered many arson attacks and subsequent rebuildings throughout the 12th and 13th centuries, before it was eventually dissolved by King Henry VIII during the Reformation. Trim went on to become one of the most important Hiberno-Norman settlements of the Middle Ages, and to this day the largest example of a Norman castle in Ireland stands there, making it a very important destination in terms of historical places in Ireland. King John’s Castle was built by Hugh de Lacy in the 12th century. Today, the Castle is open to the public for tours and in recent decades was used as a filming location for the film Braveheart. The Yellow Steeple of the monastery is one of the town’s biggest historical attractions and can be seen for miles around. The Trim Town Walls, a small section of the town’s original walls, also stands today. For more info on Trim, click here.

Soloheadbeg, Co. Tipperary

Soloheadbeg, Co. Tipperary

Soloheadbeg is a townland in County Tipperary. Though it may be the smallest town on our list of the top historical places in Ireland, the historical importance and relevance of Soloheadbeg is indisputable, as it was here that the first act of the Irish War of Independence took place. On January 21st 1919, the Soloheadbeg Ambush occurred. A shipment of explosives being transported by RIC policemen was ambushed by members of the Irish Volunteers. Two policemen were killed in the ambush, and the shots that took their lives are regarded as the first shots fired in the War of Independence. The history of Soloheadbeg doesn’t begin and end with this event, however. In 968 AD, the area was the battlefield for the defeat of King Ivar (a Viking king of Limerick) by King Mahon of Thomond and his brother Brian Ború. This became known as the Battle of Sulcoit. Today, monuments and tributes to Soloheadbeg’s history stand erected throughout the townland. The Sean Treacy Memorial Pool contains many photos and memorabilia from the War of Independence and is open to the public for viewing. The Soloheadbeg War Memorial was erected on the site of the ambush and is also available for viewing. For more info on Soloheadbeg, click here.

About Ed


Hi.
My name is Ed short for Edgar. Mixed blood of Latvian and Ireland
I have lived in Mullingar town for most of my life. Traveling around the country is my favorite pass time activity, I have been to many places, and love to explore all the nooks & crannies of Ireland. The beauty of Ireland's landscape is unbelievable sometimes you feel like in a different country. From the serenity of the walk at Glendalough to the humbling feeling of being beside Cliffs of Moher is truly amazing to experience.
When I travel throughout Ireland the hospitality is the one thing that stood out most! Cork is my personal favourite as the people are so nice and welcoming my highlight was the Titanic experience where you feel like one of the passengers who are about to board the ship from the heartbreak pier that still stands to this day.
In Ireland you will always get the warmest welcome in any B&B. My other hobbies are cooking horse riding and fishing. I can’t wait to share the experiences with you for your Trip of a lifetime to this amazing Green Isle.
Sláinte (Cheers)

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About Donna


Hey, my name is Donna and I'm from the town of Mullingar in the Heart of Ireland.

One of my passions is exploring and from my experience, Ireland is a beautiful country to explore. I have so many recommendations but for newcomers to Ireland I definitely opt to send you to Westport for Croagh Patrick & Clew Bay, perfect for hiking scenery and beautiful seafood, 

My favorite place in Ireland is Galway City - I love going for a meal with my friends, followed by a stroll down the cobbled streets, before popping into one of the Traditional Irish Pubs like  An Púcan.

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About Rita


Hi, I’m Rita and I am living in Kilkenny, the Marble city.

Born in Portugal, I fell in love with Ireland from the moment I landed here. I intended to stay for 6 months, and 6 years after I just cannot imagine my life without the Irish ‘craic’. 

Working in Events & Tourism for the last years has been so rewarding - bringing people to see all the magical, undiscovered spots in this country is what I wake up for every day. I have made memories that will last a lifetime, and I work towards creating the same experiences for others visiting the Emerald island. 

My favourite place in Ireland is probably the Dingle Peninsula, where bumpy roads bring the Atlantic ocean and green mountains together. The seafood is just as brilliant as the landscape, which I couldn’t forget to mention, being the foodie that I am!

You could say I am biased when I pick Kilkenny as one of my other top spots - I just can’t get enough of this lively mediaeval city branded by its hospitality.

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About Tina


Hi my name is TinaMarie, I have been working in Travel for over 15 years now and still love it as much as when I just started. There is something very special about bringing people to Ireland because we live here we take pride in our wonderful little country and want the whole world to experience what we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep.

Without a shadow of a doubt my favourite county and city in Ireland is Galway simply due to the dual aspect living you can have in this area the beauty and serenity of the Connemara countryside and the diverse cultural living of Galway city. Come and see firsthand how friendly and welcoming the Irish people are , Stop waiting and make the trip of a lifetime!

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About Sinéad


Hey! My name is Sinéad. I'm from Longford, the heart of the midlands. I'm a countryside girl at heart, depsite living in the capital for a few years while studying. I love the hustle bustle of Dublin city centre, there's always so much going on and so much to do. Although, you can't beat the tranquility of the Irish countryside in my opinion!

Apart from my hometown, one of my favorite place in Ireland has got to be 'The Kingdom' (Kerry). The scenery is just unparalleled. From the idyllic wild Atlantic coasts to our selection of well-known mountain ranges, and everything in between. The ring of Kerry is definitely a must see, the nightlife is pretty great too!!

On my weekends I love to cheer on my local Gaelic football teams. I'd definitely recommend catching a GAA match on your travels!

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About Jessica


Hi, my name is Jessica,

I'm from the town of Mullingar, known as the hidden heartlands of Ireland. Travel is my passion, every weekend I try to visit a few different counties here in Ireland and also explore new and exciting countries. Unfortunately there is just not enough time to visit everywhere I want too on our beautiful island of Ireland, Naturally the next best thing is to help make others dreams come true with the trip of a lifetime to our fair isle!

My two favorite places in Ireland is Galway and Kerry. They are full of great culture, food, scenery, and of course many traditional Irish pubs!! There is always a great lively buzz no matter what time of year you visit.

I look forward to working with many of you in the near future to offer my knowledge, guidance and support for your trip of a lifetime.

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About Ronan


Hey!

My name is Ronan and I'm from Mullingar (the heart of the Midlands). I have a passion for travelling and have been all over the world. However, my most favourite place in the world is the west of Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way. From seeing Basking sharks in Keem bay in Achill Island (Mayo), to having a lovely relaxing pint of Guinness in Salthill in Galway, to taking in the majestic Cliffs of Moher in Clare and kayaking alongside dolphins in Dingle bay (Kerry) - it's all just amazing. Oh, and not to forget the delicious Skellig chocolates while looking out at Skellig Michaeal in Kerry, yum!

I love all things sport and food - when I'm not travelling around Ireland I'm cooking up a storm in the kitchen and watching some local GAA (our national sport). I can't wait to help you out and make your trip to Ireland, the trip of a lifetime!

Céad mile fáilte mo chara - (A thousand welcomes my friend).

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