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Ancient Ireland: An Explorer's Guide (Travel) Paperback – December 1, 2003
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About the Author
Robert Emmet Meagher is a professor of humanities at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and the esteemed author or translator of nearly two dozen books, ranging from Frommer's Ireland and Frommer's Dublin to The Essential Euripides.
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Top Customer Reviews
Other than the introductory historical overview, the book comprises three itineraries for those with a car. The book is not aimed at those using Irelands public transport.
The itineraries are not based geographically but on three historical periods:
-Pre celtic, neolithic and Bronze age
-Pre Christian celtic and late Bronze age
-Early Christian, Irish golden age and medieval
The first itinerary covering 4000BCE to 700BCE starts in Dublin and takes you to the following principal sites: National musuem of Ireland in Dublin, Bru na Boinne-Newgrange and Knowth passage tombs, Loughcrew hilltop passage tomb complex, Carrowkeel and Carrowmore neolithic cemetery complexes near Sligo, Knocknarea mountain top cairn, Creevykeel court cairn, Ceide Fields neolithic farm settlement, Pulnabrone portal tomb and wedge tombs in Burren National Park (south of Galway), Lough Gur neolithic settlement site, Grange stone circle (largest in Ireland) and nearby wedge tomb (all south of Limerick), Fourknocks passage tomb and Pipers Stones stone circle, and thence back to Dublin. In my opinion it is a good selection of the sites from that period.
The other two itineraries take you to such sites as the Hill of Tara, Croagh Patrick, Clonmacnoise, Gallarus oratory near Dingle, Skellig Michael off the west coast, Ardmore, Rock of Cashel, Jeppoint Abbey ( I loved the wonderful carvings), and Glendalough ( just south of Dublin). Again I think these are a good selection of the best known sites.
There are maps of the individual sites. However there is just one overall map that shows the 3 routes on one page. Most travelers will want to see sites from all three periods as they tour around, and the book really offers no advice if you wish to do this. But you can do it, as I did, with help of good maps. There are few suggestions of many additional sites to visit if you are keen and have more time. A short gazetter of such sites and location at the back would have been useful.
The book also offers no suggestions for further reading on particular periods or sites if you wished to do so.
With these reservations aside, as a colourful travel introduction to ancient sites of Ireland, it is a very good book.
For more advice on other sites worth visiting try Peter Harbisons "Guide to the National and Historic monuments of Ireland" 2001 edition with map references you can link to the very fine 1:250,000 scale touring maps produced by the Irish Ordnance Survey which show lots of such ancient and historic sites as named small red dots (and lots of tourist sites as well). I know as I used these maps.
Go and explore!