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Prehistoric Ireland

Some 8,000 years ago after the retreat of the glaciers, the first people arrived on the Emerald Island. They are the ones responsible for the large stone monuments and megaliths that dot the Irish countryside to this day. The most famous of those is Newgrange in County Meath, built in the 4th millennium BCE, 1,000 years before Stonehenge.

This spectacular passage tomb (a narrow passage made of large stones with a covered burial chamber) was so carefully constructed that during the winter solstice, the rays of the rising sun still strike a small opening above the doorway and illuminate the sacred chamber within. Another area that was witness to the first people here is the stunning lunar landscape of The Burren in County Clare. It held a strong mystical attraction for the ancient Irish, who left more than 80 Neolithic tombs, numerous portal dolmens (Stone Age tombs with giant stones making a doorway to a single burial chamber), a Celtic high cross in Kilfenora village, and more than 500 ring forts, including the one at Cahercommaun.

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