Five of Northern Ireland's Lesser Known Historic Landmarks
They may not be as famous as the Giant's Causeway, but these gems from our past are well worth planning your next trip around
Monea Castle: © Crown DFC Historic Environment Division
Historic Ireland, a newly launched website by Expedia, invites travellers – near and far – to discover Ireland’s past, including many places some of us may or may not have heard of before.
A lot of us are guilty of forgetting just how many historical delights lie right outside our door. Northern Ireland, and the whole of Ireland for that matter, is steeped in history, with countless geographical treasures forming a timeline that stretches back as far as 5,000 years ago. A lot of these places have had significant impact on our culture and ways of life and so it seems increasingly important to explore them.
Here we've handpicked five lesser known sights and attractions, as featured on Historic Ireland, to help make your next short break more like a big adventure.
Hidden away along the Causeway Coast is Bonamargy Monastery, a site originally established by the Irish chieftain Rory McQuillan in 1485. A few hundred years later it became occupied by the monks who established Bonamargy Monastery and made it a sanctuary for fellow missionaries. Bonamargy is a great spot to check out as part of a wider trip to Ballycastle and along the Antrim coast.
The ruins of Monea Castle are an incredible find among Fermanagh’s countryside. Built during the plantation era in 1618, the castle was the residence of Reverend Malcolm Hamilton who went on to become Archbishop of Cashel in 1623. Walking among the ruins will help you picture what life would have been like as far back as the early 1600s. It would be a shame not to stop and admire this amazing structure whilst in the area.
Once home to a series of Irish kings and their clans, the Hill of the O’Neill in Dungannon is one of Ireland’s most epic sites given it is possible to view all six counties from its highest point. The remaining ruins sit high above an impressive new visitor centre that exhibits fascinating details of the Irish clans who resided in the area, as well as information about the Flight of the Earls and the Plantation of Ulster.
Hill of the O'Neill: © Mid Ulster Council
You may already know of the great linen industry boom in Ulster in the 1800 to 1900s but have you visited Lisburn Museum to discover more about it? The museum, situated within Lisburn’s 17th-century Market House, captures the heart of linen production back in the day – its highs and lows. A particular highlight is the exhibition Flax to Fabric: the Story of Irish Linen, which gives a detailed and rich background to the industry.
It doesn’t get any more historic than Navan Fort in County Armagh, once the seat of the Kings of Ulster and the ancient capital of the province. Navan Fort was central to a larger complex that included several ancient sites, many of which you can explore in greater detail today at Navan Centre. This includes various mounds, ditches and banks, providing great views over the county, as well as myths and legends connected to the area.
Navan Fort: © Tourism Ireland
Explore these and many more sites spanning the four provinces while planning your next trip using Historic Ireland. Visit www.blog.expedia.ie/historic-ireland and be taken back in time today.