10 treasures of Ireland’s ancient east

Neil Jackman selects 10 standout destinations from our newly-designated tourist region

A round practically every corner in Ireland’s Ancient East you can discover fascinating echoes of the past. This region holds some of the world’s finest examples of prehistoric ingenuity, a wealth of early Christian monasteries, massive medieval castles and sprawling abbeys, and great landed estates. A new guidebook by archaeologist Neil Jackman helps people to discover 100 incredible places, with directions and maps to help you explore the story of Ireland. Here, Jackman gives 10 of his personal favourites that all make for a great day out.

1. Castleroche, Co Louth

Hidden away in the rolling countryside of Co Louth, you can find Castleroche castle, arguably the finest example of a 13th-century castle in Ireland, and the only one of its period to have been constructed by a woman. It was commissioned by Lady Rohesia de Verdun in 1236 to serve as a bastion of defence for the Anglo-Norman colony in Louth against the Gaelic tribes of Ulster. Lady Rohesia was a formidable individual: legend has it that she had the castle’s architect thrown from one of the tower windows so that he could never reveal its secrets.

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