Fact Sheet on Ancient East, Ireland.
1.What is Ireland’s Ancient East
Set in lush landscapes this region comprises some of Ireland’s most important ancient sites from the last 5,000 years as well as many quaint villages and attractive towns and cities. Medieval castles, burial mounds, monasteries and round towers, this area has more than enough to keep you enthralled. It’s also got some of Ireland’s best horse racecourses and for the angler there are many fine waterways to choose from. Walkers have plenty of routes to explore and the River Shannon is ideal as a river cruising destination.
2. Where is the Ancient East
Ireland’s Ancient East stretches from the River Shannon to the east coast and all the way down to the south coast in East Cork. The area encompasses Cavan, Longford, Louth, Meath Monaghan Westmeath, Kildare, Laois, Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford and East Cork.
3. What towns are in the Ancient East
The Ancient East has many attractive villages and towns. The main towns include Drogheda and Navan to the north, Mullingar, Longford and Athlone to the west and Kilkenny and Waterford to the south.
4. Visitor Experiences
Why Ancient Ireland
The Ancient East has some of Ireland’s most important sites of antiquity. Meath’s Boyne Valley has the rich heritage of Newgrange and the Hill of Tara while Wicklow has the beautiful monastic site of Glendalough. Westmeath has the hidden treasure of the Loughcrew Cairns.
Castles and Conquests
Castles and old battle site are found all over the ancient East. Trim Castle, Kilkenny Castle, Cahir Castle and Reginald’s Tower in Waterford are all highlights of the region. Trim Castle is one of the best Irish examples of a medieval castle and was used in films such as Braveheart.
Grand Houses and Gardens
Ireland’s history includes stories of many grand houses and manors. Powerscourt House in Wicklow with its beautiful Italian gardens is a highlight and beautiful Mount Usher Gardens are close by. Castletown House in Kildare is Ireland’s first Palladian mansion while Emo Court in Laois is another fine classical residence. Other treasures include Mount Congreve Gardens in Waterford, the John F Kennedy Arboretum in Wexford or Annesgrove Gardens in north Cork.
Coast and Waterways
The East Coast of Ireland has many harbours, bays and beaches to visit including the following:
Louth – Carlingford, Templetown, Lurganboy, Clogherhead Beach
Meath – Bettystown Beach
Wicklow – Brittas Bay, Greystones, Bray South, and Arklow
Wexford- Carne, Morriscastle, Rosslare, Curracloe, Kilmore Quay
Waterford – Dunmore East, Tramore, Clonea and Ardmore Beach
East Cork – Youghal, Redbarn and Garrylucas,
Hook Head Lighthouse in Wexford is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world and can be visited as can the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross.
Sports and Horses
Horse racing is hugely popular in Ireland and the Curragh Racecourse in Kildare is famous for the Irish Derby and other classic flat races. Fairyhouse in Meath hosts the Irish Grand National while Laytown, also in Meath, has a unique summer beach horse racing event. Gowran Park in Kilkenny is another popular course.
For the keen angler, options abound for salmon, trout and pike, the most popular sport species. Rivers such as the Boyne, the Nore and the Blackwater and lakes such as Lough Derg offer plenty of opportunities for great fishing experiences.