Websites dedicated to specific monument types, or specific sites, or catalogues of sites
A Brief Guide to Irish Archaeological Sites: an illustrated summary of the various types of archaeological
monument found in Ireland.
The National Monuments Service of the Republic of Ireland has a very informative and useful website. In
addition to introductory notes about archaeology and National monuments legislation, there is information on more specialised subects such as the
archaeological survey of Ireland and underwater and marine archaeology. It is possible to apply for an excavation licence online or even to submit
an excavation report. There is a searchable database of previous excavations. The most impressive facility, however, is the online monuments database.
The Sites and Monuments Record can be searched online, and the location of the sites are shown on the Six-Inch OS map, superimposed on a modern aerial
photograph in colour. Apart from the monuments themselves, being able to relate the Six-Inch map, frequently 70 to 100 years old, to the modern
landscape, is extremely useful. Furthermore, when you choose a county on the search form, you are presented with a drop-down list with all the townlands
in that county - it's wonderful to have that available digitally - and there's no need to worry about the spelling of the more obscure names. The page
on National Monuments isn't ready yet, but for a guide to sites of interest to visit, Heritage Ireland is
worth a visit.
The Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record, holding information on
approximately 14,000 sites, can now be searched on line, either here, or via the Archaeological Data
Service in York. Details include site name, periods of use, townlands, grid references and a brief description of each site.
An Taisce . Despite the Gaelic name (pronounced 'On TASH-keh') this is not a Government institution. It is a
voluntary organisation founded in 1953, by a group of scholarly people aware that the establishment neither knew or cared about nature or historic
buildings. It is the Irish equivalent of the National Trust, and has acquired a number of properties for preservation. Much of its work involves
nature rather than history, but it has been involved in a number of archaeological controversies, the most recent being the proposed port development
at Bremore, Co Dublin.
Heritage Ireland - a guide to all National Monuments open to the public in the
Republic of Ireland. Clickable maps allow you to choose the region you are interested in. For each site there is a description, picture, and visitor
details. It includes all the most important archaeological sites such as Newgrange, Tara and the Rock of Cashel, along with various abbeys and churches.
There is also information on the HeritageCard, which is a sort of season ticket for monuments.
Buildings Of Ireland: the website of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) of
Ireland, a section within the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The work of the NIAH involves identifying and recording
the architectural heritage of Ireland, from 1700 to the present day. This site is the on-line representation of the survey work of the NIAH. Surveys
are presented by county, and consist of a searchable database record and images of each building/structure surveyed. At present there are 5 counties
completed and several thousands of images available, these surveys are ongoing and this site will be updated with new survey material regularly.
The Irish Architectural Archive collects and preserves material of every kind relating to architecture in Ireland
and makes it available to the public. Irish buildings of every type, period or style, in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, are covered.
The collection includes over 250,000 drawings ranging in date from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth centuries, along with 400,000 photographs,
an extensive reference library, with more than 15,000 items of printed matter.
The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society campaigns to preserve historic (and prehistoric) buildings, advises
on conservation, and encourages good quality modern architecture. The UAHS publishes a Directory of Traditional Building Skills and has developed
material for school curricula. They have compiled an online Built Heritage at Risk Northern Ireland Register (BHARNI) which lists almost 500
threatened buildings and monuments. The Society is concerned not only with Northern Ireland but also with the three historic Ulster counties which
are now part of the Republic of Ireland.
Ancient sites in the Irish landscape: a selection of ten sites with photographs and descriptions.
They are of various periods but all built in stone. The author sells a 'Celtic Wheel of the Year Sun/Moon Calendar' decorated with motifs from
Prehistoric Waterford -
A website in blog format, devoted to the prehistoric stone monuments of County Waterford. Martin Mullen, the site owner, has catalogued 59 monuments
so far. Each entry includes a description and directions (with a link to a map), and a more generous-sized photograph than is usual on these websites.
Other features are short explanatory articles. Being a blog, it has a guest book and a simple search window.
The Sacred Island The website of Martin Byrne, an artist and megalith enthusiast. He lives in County
Sligo and the site is particularly informative about the Carrowmore and Carrowkeel passage tomb cemeteries, but other areas such ad the Burren
and the Boyne Valley are included. Mr Byrne is a qualified tour guide and also gives illustrated talks for schools, groups and festivals. He
writes: 'This website is a mixture of art, symbolism, archaeology, mythology and astronomical alignments - with a good dash of Irish traditional
music coming soon.'
Megalithic Ireland: A guide to over 500 monuments all over Ireland, with photographs, descriptions and
information on how to get there, including links to Google Maps or Google Earth. Every county in Ireland is represented, and not just megaliths but
stone circles, high crosses, ogham stones, stone forts and a few ruined churches and castles. The owner, Jim Dempsey, adds new sites regularly as he
visits them. To help explain them to the general reader, there is a glossary and a timeline.
Irish section of Megalithia. Includes a searchable database of over 1200 sites in the
British Isles - mainly stone circles, stone rows and standing stones. It includes grid references for these, along with tips for GPS users.
A personal site by an enthusiast, Tom FourWinds, who has so far visited and photographed over 2200 monuments for his site. 'There is so much more
to Ireland's historic and prehistoric heritage than the monuments in the Boyne Valley or the Blarney Stone', he writes. Not only megaliths in the
strict sense of prehistoric tombs, but stone monuments of all periods. They can be searched by county or type. Each entry consists of notes on the
visit and a set of photographs. Rather than a route description, exact co-ordinates are given in various forms suitable for GPS use. There are links
to descriptions of other sites in the area, and you can rate the site. There are very nice coloured plans of many of the sites, and there are 3D
images which can be viewed with red/blue glasses. In addition to all this, there are forums and a wiki. To make the information more accessible
in the field, Tom FourWinds has started publishing regional guidebooks - the Monu-Mental About... series.
Megalithic Monuments of Ireland
Photographs by Pip Powell, searchable by county or monument type. Sometimes supplementary information is provided. In addition to megaliths in
the strict sense, other stone monuments are included, such as stone circles and rows, ogham stones and bullauns.
The Stone Pages: Photographs and descriptions of a selection of megalithic tombs,
standing stones, stone circles and stone forts by Paola Arosio & Diego Meozzi, who have visited each of the sites personally. With clickable
map, and en evaluation chart rating each site's general impression, access and ambience on a scale of 1 to 5.
IRISH MEGALITHS.ORG.UK Megaliths of Ireland: a field guide: the webmaster of this site is
Anthony Weir, author of the long-out-of-print Early Ireland: A Field Guide. It consists of a gazetteer of prehistoric monuments in Ireland,
and essays on Sweathouses, Phallic pillars, Holed Stones, Cross-pillars, Cross-slabs, Exhibitionists, bullauns, etc. It is copiously illustrated
with photographs. The site is also available on a CD, which can be ordered on-line (click here for review). It is
part of the Stone Circle Webring.
Mythical Ireland. Dedicated to megalithic tombs, standing stones and stone circles aligned on the
sunrise at the solstices and equinoxes. Details of various sites, clickable maps, aerial photographs, and a section on early Irish mythology.
There is also an art section with free wallpaper.
The Megalith Map - in association with Aubrey Burl. A resource for finding any stone circle or row
in the British Isles. Sites can be found by using either a clickable map or an alphabetical list. Received, deservedly, a 5-star award for Web
Site Excellence. Mirrored at this site.
Megalithics A real treat for the stone circle and megalith enthusiast! An archive of over
5000 photos of stone circles, megalithic tombs and stone forts but, more importantly, 3D 'virtual reality' tours of many of them. Mostly in the
British Isles, but a few in the Channel Islands and Malta. Currently, 56 sites in Ireland are listed.
Pictures of some Irish Stone Circles from the collection of Dr. Clive
Ruggles, of Leicester University, who specialises in archaeoastronomy and computer applications in archaeology. Sites are in counties Cork, Kerry,
Meath and Tyrone.
The Standing Stone - A catalogue of archaeological monuments in Ireland, with an emphasis on the
Midlands, but gradually expanding. It has a blog layout but opens with a permanent home page, and a menu with glossary, FAQ, etc., and links for
searching by county or by category. Despite the name, it covers a wide range of monuments, from megalithic tombs to castles and 17th century fortified
houses. Each site is described and photographed, and there are details of how to get there, along with a National Grid reference and also
Details of three stone circles worth visiting: Drombeg, County Cork, Lough Gur, County
Limerick and Breaghmore (recte Beaghmore), County Tyrone.
'Lunar maps' at Knowth. Interesting theory that a motif found in the passage tomb at Knowth,
and also at Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, is a map of the moon as seen with the naked eye. Perhaps 'drawing' might be a better word, as it's unlikely that
Neolithic man thought of the moon as a landmass which could be mapped. I found it unconvincing, but it's a lot more plausible than some interpretations
of Neolithic art.
Belderrig Excavation Diary - a blog set up to follow the excavations being conducted at
Belderrig, Co. Mayo in summer 2006 under the auspices of University College Dublin. A jokey diary, with some stratigraphical information.
Heart of the Rose. Dedicated to Tara - Helen Rose's site about the Tara controversy. Photographs
of tree-felling in January 2007, but apparently no other entries. Links to a defunct ('parked') website, savetaravalley.com
Every Ogham thing on the Web: Ogham, the most ancient form of writing in Ireland,
is generally found carved on grave-markers which are known as ogham stones. This site collects links to a wide range of relevant sites, from serious
academic studies and discussions of digital encoding of the ogham script (and sites with ogham fonts) to 'neo-Paganism' and places where you can
buy 'ogham staves' or ogham jewellery.
Images of Irish High Crosses: Introduction to High Crosses, with descriptions
and photographs of the crosses at Monasterboice, Kells and Kilfenora. Part of Mary Ann Sullivan's Digital Imaging Project, making images of art-historical
interest worldwide available on the Web.
The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland. Like so many aspects of history and
culture, Romanesque sculpture tends to be looked at in Ireland as though it didn't happen anywhere else. This site is a reminder that it flourished
throughout the British Isles following the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The project aims to photograph and record all surviving sculpture, and
make it available on the Internet. It is gradually being put together by volunteers. The records, with photographs and descriptions, can be searched
by location and feature.
The CRSBI now has a Twitter feed. Follow us for updates on CRSBI progress.
Nendrum Very well-illustrated report on the 1999 excavation of an 8th century AD tide mill at
Nendrum Monastic Site, Co Down. Includes a link to a still-functioning tide mill in Spain, built in 1683.
The Sheela Na Gig Project. These strange obscene sculptures are found mostly on churches and are associated
with the Romanesque style. They are not unique to Ireland, although the largest number are found there. There are quite a few in mainland Britain
and some on the Continent too, and they fit into the pattern of grotesque carvings depicting the Seven Deadly Sins, although some people fancifully
regard them as Celtic goddesses (see, for example,
Irish Spirituality,). Tara McLoughlin's site takes a rather non-committal look
at the various theories, as well as displaying a number of photographs.
Sheila na Gig sings the Stations of the Cross: a bizarre combination of obscene
carvings and Christian prayers. The photographs show genuine carvings of archaeological interest, but the prayers are part of the modern trendy
pseudo-religion and would strike a real Christian as blasphemous.
Castle Hotels and Manor Houses Details of 12 castles and manor houses in different parts
of Ireland which have been converted into hotels.
Dublin's Castles: a guide to the many castles and mottes in County Dublin, complete with distribution
Irish Stone Walls and Stone Buildings by Patrick McAfee. Based on the book of the same name, this
site describes traditional Irish stone walls and the use of traditional materials in restoring old buildings and walls. Also information about courses
on stone-working and working with lime, and about the author's consultancy.
A guide to researching historic buildings in the British Isles: A very useful introduction to researching
the history of buildings. It introduces archival research, and suggests bibliographical resources for various kinds of structure, and guides to
recording and interpreting the fabric.
contains a wealth of information for volunteer archaeology fieldwork around the world, find field projects and fieldschools, expeditions and more. Buy
the best archaeology tools and archaeologist's trowels. Watch Heritage videos on our Video site, and read the latest in our free online archaeology
magazine - the best in volunteer archaeology around the globe. As archaeologists ourselves, we know what we are talking about, because not only do we
use the tools we sell, dig the sites around the world - caring about archaeology - and you.
Thaddeus C. Breen
Comments and suggestions, please, to email@example.com
Last revised 13 December 2010
return to Irish Archaeology