One of the most visually striking places I visited on my recent trip to Donegal has to be the Stone Fort at ‘Grianán of Aileach’. Situated on the Inishowen peninsula this site has enormous historical singifcance, being one only five Irish sites mentioned in Ptolemy of Alexandria’s 2nd century map of the world. The stone fort as it now stand was restored and rebuilt in the late 1800s, it had been ransacked and almost destroyed by Mortogh O’Brien, the King of Munster in 1101. Prior to this the stone fort served as the royal seat of the O’ Neills from the 5th to the 12th century. Traces of ancient earthworks dating from the Iron and Bronze Age surround the fort and legends abound to who built it originally. In one legend it was built by Dagda of Tuatha de Dannan to protect the grave of his son Aedh. Another legend describes Grianán as the hibernation place of Grainne, the Celtic Sun Goddess, the site is believed to have been built as a Sun Temple, an ancient sundial was found during the excavations of the 1870s. It is a truly spectacular site, situated on Greenan Hill 244 metres above see level. The structure itself is almost 24 metres in diameter, the stone walls are 4 metres thick and 5 metres in height. A passage leads into the site and it gives the impression of an amphitheater The views are unreal and on a fine day you can see up to five counties, I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to this wonderful place.
GPS: 55.01586, -7.41723