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Aran Inspired

Fore Abbey and the Seven Wonders of Fore

When you visit the village of Fore, County Westmeath, and roam the surrounding fields, you’ll enjoy a first hand experience with origins of traditional Irish folklore tales that have been around for more than a thousand years. Not only is Fore one of the most beautiful, ancient and unspoiled places in Ireland, it remains one of the least known -- with few tourists around, it remains a true hidden gem. Just a few kilometres from Castlepollard, this ancient slice of Ireland's heritage revolves around the tales of Saint Fechin. Founder of the village’s Benedictine monastery during the seventh century, Fechin was a man of faith who influenced the surrounding area in seven miraculous ways, collectively known as the Seven Wonders of Fore.

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Ardfert Cathedral

Historical Adfert Cathedral and its complex of churches is connected to a monastery founded on the site by St. Brendan the Navigator in the sixth century. St. Brendan is a popular and interesting figure among the Irish saints of the Roman Catholic Church who maintains a very dedicated following even to this day. Born in the area near Ardfert Cathedral, he was a great scholar who founded many monestaries. Brendan became known as the Navigator because of his adventurous journeys.

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Swords Castle and Park

Located at the end of the main street of the North County Dublin suburb of Swords, this medieval castle was the residence of the archbishops of Dublin. Today its park extends over 220 acres, boasting picnic areas, pleasant tree-lined walkways, a babbling brook, a public playground, sports pitches and both public and private tennis courts. Recently restored (the walls, not the interior rooms), admission to Swords Castle and the adjoining park is FREE.

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James Joyce Statue

Located near the very centre of Dublin, opposite the GPO, the life-size bronze statue of novelist James Joyce has become one of the city's most iconic monuments. Leaning on a cane, one hand in his pocket and crossed-legged,  Joyce strikes a distinctly Chaplinesque pose. Some Dubliners dislike how Joyce's chin is jauntily elevated, how his nose sticks snootily into the air. In return -- as they do with all the city's monuments -- they have given the statue a cheeky nickname, "the prick with the stick". Commissioned by the local business community, it was installed by sculptor Marjorie Fitzgibbon in 1990.

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Brownshill Dolmen

The Brownshill Dolmen is a megalithic portal tomb situated 3km / 2 miles east of Carlow town, and looks like a piece of Stonehenge got transplanted to Ireland. This megalithic burial chamber dates back to around 3500 BCE.

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Croppies Grave

Inscription on one of the historic tree pieces at Croppies Grave. Croppies Grave is a pretty monument of national historic interest. Located in Carlow Town, a replica of an ancient Celtic high cross erected on the site of a sand pit, where bodies of where the bodies of slain Irish independence fighters were buried.

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St Mullins Monastery and Heritage Centre

One of Ireland's early Christian monks established this monastic community in 696 in what is today a picturesque rural village in south County Carlow which still bears his name, Saint Mullin's. The saint, who served as Bishop of Ferns and Glendalough, is alleged to have led a life of many miracles. The monastery was ravaged by Viking invaders in 951 and again by fire in 1138. A graveyard stands alongside the ruins of the old monastery, while a 19th-century church houses a heritage centre, providing information for visitors. 

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Carlow Castle

A large and impressive fragment of this 13th century castle still sits prominently in Carlow town centre, close to the River Barrow. What remains is half of the original castle keep -- the fortified, turreted tower where its medieval occupants lived and slept --  but it is enough to give a sense of how majestic this building must once have been.

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Drumlane Abbey

Drumlane abbey is an ancient ruin in a scenic location overlooking a lake, accessed via a narrow country laneway, 4 miles / 6.5km from Belturbet, County Cavan. A truly hidden gem, the abbey lies just outside the small rural village of Milltown, and is accessible only via a narrow country laneway. Saint Mogue, who has close associations with County Cavan, was long believed to have established the original monastery on this site in the 6th century.

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Cork Vision Centre, Cork City

Situated in Saint Peters, a restored ancient church building with vaulted ceilings,  the Cork Vision Centre is located in the centre of the once vibrant medieval section of Cork city.

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