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Grianan Of Aileach

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Address: | Inishowen Peninsula, Ireland

Legend says it was built by the ancient gods; the ring fort was known as...

Legend says it was built by the ancient gods; the ring fort was known as the Sun Palace and was held sacred. Traces of ancient earthworks, dating to the early Iron Age, surround the fort, enclosing an area of about 5 acres (0.02 km2). The fort itself was probably built in the early centuries of the Christian era. From the 5th to the 12th century AD it served as the royal seat of the O Neill sept of Aileach; it was destroyed by Murtogh O Brien, king of Munster in 1101. To make the demolition complete, the king ordered each of his soldiers to take away a stone from the fort. Grianan of Aileach was reconstructed by Dr Bernard of Derry in 1870, but archaeologists are doubtful about the inner restoration.

    Surrounding the stone fort are three concentric low walls which formed part of the original fortification of the fort.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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On a clear day WOW!!!

It's kinda hidden and the sign posts are confusing but continue at least 2kms and you'll arrive at a small sign on the right which points left to the monument. On a clear day the... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 19 September 2016
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196 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 174: English reviews
Level Contributor
96 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 September 2016

It's kinda hidden and the sign posts are confusing but continue at least 2kms and you'll arrive at a small sign on the right which points left to the monument. On a clear day the views of lough Foyle are impressive. Restored in the late 18th century it's origins go back to 1700 BC I've also been told that St... More 

Thank kevinhayden
Gourock, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
148 reviews
87 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 164 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 September 2016 via mobile

Yip, the circular structure is no more than ok, the information on site is limited, but..., the 360 degree views are simply breathtaking. You can see multiple weather fronts as you take in the stunning emerald landscape, rainbows kissing the tips of the hills and cloud acting as a curtain to some yet unseen gem in the landscape. No more... More 

1 Thank Lambretta101
Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
119 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 September 2016

The round fort is located up a few narrow roads with a car park adjacent to it. There are beautiful scenic views from the walls which are accessed by a series of stone steps and also local walks around the fort. Well worth a visit.

Thank Mrs_Pud1
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2016

Well signposted but up very narrow, winding lanes. Would not want to meet a bus en route. Small site but very interesting but would recommend reading up on the history before you go to really appreciate it. Fantastic views.

1 Thank Copperhead26
Newtownards, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 September 2016

We visited this amazing fort in the mist so views were difficult but it didn't detract from the surroundings and its striking beauty. Steps around are very slippery so take care

Thank megirwin
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 August 2016

The most incredible views, arguably, in all of Ireland. The structure itself is impressive, although it would've been nice to have had more info available on site. Wheelchair access ramp in course of construction when I visited, which is great to see but why not already in place? Overall, would highly recommend a detour to visit/soak up the spectacular scenery.

Thank Dermot O
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
221 reviews
83 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2016

On a misty, rainy final day, after an otherwise wonderful few days in Donegal, we were unsure of what to do to kill an hour or so until departing for our flight. We'd seen this place mentioned but thought that our twenty something sons might not really fancy a rebuilt iron age hill fort in the rain. How wrong we... More 

Thank TMOH8
Level Contributor
83 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2016

Grianán of Ailech is an ancient ring fort built in pre-Christian times. It is on a high hill with breath-taking views in County Donegal. It is only about half an hour from Derry, and getting there is half the adventure. Being on a high hill you have to drive up (and then back down) steep narrow roads with blind turns... More 

2 Thank gbrandolph
Letterkenny, Ireland
Level Contributor
214 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 August 2016 via mobile

When you get to the top of Grianan of Aileach the views are spectacular. You can see the River Foyle and the River Swilly. The monument is amazing. The OPW are putting in new path/steps/ramps for easier access. If you are in Donegal this is a place not to be missed.

1 Thank Gerodonnell
Drogheda, Ireland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 August 2016

It was worth the drive from Letterkenny .We didn't go into the fort as there was an entrance fee of €7 each but the Museum was fascination both for wild life and military . Plenty to see and views fantastic.

1 Thank Ann S

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