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Sunday, 1 May 2022

5 Scenic Historical Sites to visit on your Landmark Staycation

blog 5 scenic historial sites to visit
With the summer almost upon us, we've put together this list of 5 spectacular scenic and historical outdoor sites all well worth a visit and within an hour of your Landmark Hotel staycation base in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Sheemore & Sheebeg

An easy outdoor activity for all the family that can be incorporated into your cycle, or followed by a trip to the swimming pool, are the well known local hikes up the South Leitrim hills of Sheemore and Sheebeg just a few minutes outside Carrick-on-Shannon. These hills are steeped in mythology - Sheemore is known as the "Hill of the Fairies" and local legend has it that it is the final resting place of legendary Irish hero Fionn mac Cumhaill ("Finn MacCool"). The hills and the battle of Fairies that supposedly took place there were the inspiration for one of famed Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan's most well-loved compositions "Sheemore and Sheebeg". In more recent times, Sheemore was the site of the Sheemore ambush during the War of Independence. Sheemore is lit up at by a huge Christian cross, overlooking the landscape. Sheebeg, is smaller but both hills are easily accessible for all the family. 

Rathcroghan Visitor Centre

Rathcroghan, or Cruachan Aí, is known as the Ancient Capital of Connacht, where the festival of Samhain (Halloween) is said to have originated. Located in the village of Tulsk, Co. Roscommon (25km from Carrick-on-Shannon), the Rathcroghan Visitor Centre is your starting point for exploring a landscape boasting over 240 identified archaeological sites, spanning a staggering period of over 5,500 years of human history. Experience Rathcroghan’s rich archaeology, mythology and history through interpretive rooms and expertly guided tours of prehistoric burial mounds from the Bronze and Iron Ages, medieval ringforts (settlement sites), standing stones, linear earthworks, stone forts, a great Iron Age ritual sanctuary, and even a Gate to Hell! 

Carrowkeel Passage Tombs

Located near the village of Castlebaldwin 35km down the N4 between Carrick-on-Shannon and Sligo, Carrowkeel is a cluster of 14 passage tombs (built over five thousand years ago predating even the pyramids of Egypt) set on a number of hills in the Bricklieve Mountains overlooking Lough Arrow. The site can be explored on foot once you leave the small carpark between two of the hills (follow the signposts from the village of Casltebalwin). It is a worthwhile trip with incredible views, but remember to treat the tombs in this designated national monument with respect if you go.

Kesh Caves

Alternately known as the ‘Keash Caves’ or  ‘Caves of Keshcorran’, and also located in the Bricklieve Mountain range as Carrowkeel, the Kesh Caves are close enough to explore on the same day a visit to Carrowkeel. They  are also worth a trip in their own right. These limestone caves, consisting of 16 chambers, some interconnecting,  have been used by man over several millenia for religious practices and gatherings such as at Lughnasa. An hour or so will allow you time to reach and explore these magical caves by a short, manageable walk from this car park near the village of Keash. Beware that the track can be very steep at times and dogs are not allowed on the site as the caves are located on a privately owned  working sheep farm.

Eagle's Rock Viewing Platform

The furthest of our sites from Carrick-on-Shannon, Eagles Rock is about one hour away (64km) at the northern end of Co. Leitrim between Sligo and Bundoran. Eagles rock in the Glenade valley, is Ireland's highest freestanding tower; its dramatic peak stands 330m above sea level and can be viewed for many miles in all directions. This rock would not be out of place in the plains of Dakota. Currently the walk to the summit is off limits. However, below the rock (which provides an excellent viewing spot) the local County Council have provided a convenient car park and a highly informative panel, which tells of glaciers, ancient seas and bears. The view of the rock below is recommended as a dramatic vista and well worth making a trip to what The Irish Times described as  ‘One of the most dramatic, even awe-inspiring, rock formations in Ireland’