31 Aug 2020
From the distant past to the present day, a wide variety of historic attractions around the island of Ireland have stood the test of time.
Fashion, modes of transport and communications may all have changed drastically since the first cameras started clicking, but going by the image collections of Ireland’s memory-keeper, The National Library of Ireland, a surprising amount has remained the same at iconic places to visit around the country.If modern life has left you running on empty and yearning for more authentic experiences, then the timeless attractions of the island of Ireland will fill your heart today just as much as they did in yesteryear.
The tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede in County Antrim has been a prime location for netting salmon since the mid-1600s. The original bridge was constructed in 1755 to make it easier for fishermen to set their nets. Once brought to the island, the salmon would be carried in boxes across the bridge. The new and more modern bridge is a model of health and safety, but perhaps still only for those who dare. Crossing it today is one of the key attractions on the world-famous Causeway Coastal Route.
This seaport town on the south coast of County Cork has been voted one of the 25 most beautiful small towns in Europe, and was once a major emigration point for Irish people heading to North America. The last port of call for the Titanic, Cobh has changed little since the ship sailed away to her fate. The Lusitania also went down just off shore here. Still playing host to the world’s biggest cruise ships, Cobh today bustles with energy and things to do, and is just 20 minutes from Cork city.
Founded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, Kilkenny Castle has been rebuilt, extended and adapted to suit changing circumstances over a period of 800 years. Few buildings in Ireland can speak of a longer history of continuous occupation. Nowadays, the castle welcomes thousands of visitors who go to explore the grand old country house and enjoy the walks through its 50 acres of rolling parkland with mature trees and abundance of wildlife.
The Gobbins Cliff Path was originally masterminded by an Irish railway engineer called Berkeley Deane Wise, who created an ‘engineering marvel’ once more popular than the famed Giant’s Causeway located further along Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route. The attraction first opened to the public in 1902 but fell into disrepair following World War II. Restored and re-imagined, it re-opened in 2015 and is regarded as the most dramatic walk in Europe. The ‘white-knuckle’ adventure takes in tubular suspension bridges, caves, steps and tunnels carved through the spectacular rock face close to the waterline of the Irish Sea.
One of the world's most beautiful libraries, the Trinity College Old Library is a much loved cultural attraction in Dublin. Few would not put it on their list of sightseeing priorities in the Irish capital. Quiet, yet alive with the knowledge of centuries, it hosts a collection of rare books, local literature, and the world-famous Book of Kells. The Long Room, built in dark woods, embodies the timelessness of Irish culture and is just as photogenic now as it ever was in the past.
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