Grianan of Aileach

Inishowen, Ireland

The Grianan of Aileach is a hillfort atop the 244 metres high Greenan Mountain at Inishowen. The main structure is a stone ringfort, thought to have been built by the Northern Uí Néill, in the sixth or seventh century CE; although there is evidence that the site had been in use before the fort was built. It has been identified as the seat of the Kingdom of Ailech and one of the royal sites of Gaelic Ireland. The wall is about 4.5 metres thick and 5 metres high. Inside it has three terraces, which are linked by steps, and two long passages within it. Originally, there would have been buildings inside the ringfort. Just outside it are the remains of a well and a tumulus.

By the 12th century, the Kingdom of Ailech had become embattled and lost a fair amount of territory to the invading Normans. According to Irish literature, the ringfort was mostly destroyed by Muirchertach Ua Briain, King of Munster, in 1101. Substantial restoration work was carried out in 1870. Today, the site is protected as a national monument and is a tourist attraction.



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Inishowen, Ireland
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Founded: 6th-7th century AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Ireland

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Chris Wade (7 months ago)
Amazing views and well maintained. Great for an hour to get away from everything and take I the stunning scenery.
Neema Yeswant (7 months ago)
The panoramic views from the summit are breathtaking! I revisited the spot after three years, and to my delight, it remains as stunning and majestic as ever. Notably, they've made improvements by adding steps and a considerate ramp. There's now a barrier in place after hours, and I even managed to capture a photo of the specified timings.
Finn (8 months ago)
The parking lot is just 50m away from the site and connected by a gravel path. Up top you get an amazing 360° view of the countryside, however, don't forget to bring something against the whipping wind with you.
Nick Fraser (8 months ago)
Short distance from the N13 and worth it for the views. There is no visitor centre or coffee shop, just a price of serene history. Just a short walk from the car park and easily accessible.
Paddy_ RR (9 months ago)
Fantastic views right across Donegal and Derry. The ancient fort itself is a wonder to behold. Free entry too which is amazing in this day and age. Very much worth a visit.
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