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June 24 - 25

June 24 - 25 Arboe High Cross; Tullaghoge Fort; Ulster American Folk Park; Redcastle; Inishowen Peninsula; Grianan of Aileach.

Click on any picture for an enlarged view.
 Ardboe High Cross

Ardboe High Cross The 10th-century Ardboe high cross stands almost 17 feet high and is one of the best preserved in northern Ireland. The eastern side shows Old Testament scenes.

Ardboe High Cross The western side shows New Testament scenes.

Ardboe High Cross The cross is on the western shore of Lough Neagh -- the largest lake in Ireland or Britain.

 Tullaghoge Fort

Tullaghoge Fort At the top of this hill in County Tyrone lies the remains of the coronation place of McLaughlin and O'Neill kings in the 11th thru 13th-centuries.

McLaughlin kings were inaugurated as Kings of Aileach at Tullaghoge by the O'Hagans on a stone coronation chair. The chair was reputed to be blessed by St. Patrick. The Kingdom of Aileach was roughly what the Province of Ulster is today (Northern Ireland plus the counties of Donegal, Tyrone, and Fernanagh.) Subsequently, McLaughlin Kings of Aileach were also frequently coronated (i.e. promoted) as High Kings of Ireland at Tara.

Tullaghoge Fort The site of the fort is overgrown with trees. There are 2 remaining rings some 270 feet across. The inner inclosure is 105 feet across and its ring-bank rises 10 feet above the area between rings. The outer ring-bank is 6 feet high. The inauguration chair was destroyed by English General Mountjoy in 1602 while in pursuit of Hugh O'Neill, who was inaugurated the previous year and was the last of the O'Neills to be crowned. There is no sign of the broken chair left.

Tullaghoge Fort The view from where the north entrance to the fort was.

 Ulster American Folk Park

Ulster American Folk Park This is a recreation of a single-room dwelling occupied by the landless poor in Ireland around 1850. During the famine, many families were evicted from homes like these. A fortunate person or family would end up emigrating to America.

Ulster American Folk Park The storage area could hold bricks of turf for fuel and maybe a few chickens or a goat.

Ulster American Folk Park The thatched straw roof was held in place by wooden spikes.

Ulster American Folk Park A panarama of inside the dwelling -- dirt floor and the fire place would burn the only fuel available -- bricks of turf (peat), cut and dried from the Irish bogs.


Redcastle I chose to stay one night at Redcastle Hotel & Country Club near Moville, County Donegal. In the 1600's, Hugh Carrogh McLaughlin, Chief of the McLaughlin Sept, lived on this land in a castle named Caire MacEwlyn or Redcastle. The castle is no longer standing, but its materials were used in the Hotel's construction.

Redcastle Redcastle was built on the Inishowen Peninsula in far northern Ireland on the Lough Foyle inlet of the Northern Sea. During the same period, there is record of another castle 2 miles north named Garnagall or Whitecastle on land owned by Brian Oge McLaughlin. It has also been demolished and its materials were used to build the white house on the property.

Redcastle Today's Redcastle complex includes a golf course, restaurant/bar named The Cutlery and ...

Redcastle ... a children's fun house named Leisure Land. What would Hugh McLaughlin, once the "head" of the McLaughlin families, think of all this on his land today?

 Inishowen Peninsula

Inishowen Peninsula County Donegal, and the Inishowen peninsula to the far north of Ireland in particular, is just filled with McLaughlin families. McLaughlins are featured in many articles of Inishowen's regional newpaper. In fact, the name Inishowen ("Island of Owen") is named after our ancestor from c.400 A.D. named Owen (or Eogan, Eoghan, Eoghain). All McLaughlins have descended from Owen and his father Niall (Niall of the Nine Hostages) -- the High King of Ireland in 405 A.D.

 Grianan of Aileach

Grianan of Aileach The Grianan of Aileach was already thousands of years old when Owen (or Eogan, Eoghan, Eoghain) -- the head of the Northern Ui Neill (the dynasty of families descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages) took control of the Province Ulster and made the Grianan of Aileach as their fortress and capital. The Grianan of Aileach is located at the root of the Inishowen peninsula and has a view of both Loughs Swilly and Foyle. This fortress continued to be the seat of the McLaughlins and their cousins the O'Neills between the 5th- and 12th-centuries.

Grianan of Aileach The exact, original purpose of the Grianan of Aileach is unknown, but was probably used for pagan rituals. The entrance is exactly south.

Grianan of Aileach The walls are of dry masonry 17 feet high that slopes gradually inward on the outside and ...

Grianan of Aileach ... 13 feet thick at the base.

Grianan of Aileach The inside walls have three terraces which are easily accessed by several stairs, much like the Roman's would call an amphitheater. The northern wall is being repaired. Murtough O'Brien, the King of Munster, demolished this fort in 1101. But reconstruction took place starting in the 1870's.

Grianan of Aileach It is said St. Patrick baptized Owen at a small well outside the south walls. As the capital of Aileach, the grounds surrounding the present-day structure was inhabited and fortified with the King of Aileach (Ulster -- who would sometimes also be the High King of Ireland) probably living with the center of the structure which is 77 feet in diameter.

Grianan of Aileach There is a curious small compartment within the walls.

Grianan of Aileach The compartment is less than 3 feet in height and has a gate.

Grianan of Aileach The view from the top is magnificent!

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 Main Index

June 19 - 21 Hill of Tara; Donaghmore Tower; Slane Hill; Newgrange; Monasterboice; Mellifont Abbey; My Rental Car; Ireland's Roads.

June 22 - 23 Newry, County Down; Mountains of Mourne; Belfast; Carrickfergus; Glens of Antrim; Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge; Giant's Causeway; Dunluce Castle.

June 24 - 25 Arboe High Cross; Tullaghoge Fort; Ulster American Folk Park; Redcastle; Inishowen Peninsula; Grianan of Aileach.

June 26 - 27 Sligo Town; Isle of Innisfree; Carrowmore; Carrowkeel; Aughanure Castle; Connemara; Kylemore Abbey.

June 28 - 29 Cliffs of Moher; The Burren; Poulnabrone Dolmen; Rothe House; St. Canice's Cathedral; Black Abbey; Kilkenny Castle; Jerpoint Abbey; Rock of Cashel.

June 30 - July 2 Browne's Hill Dolmen; Glenart Castle Hotel; Arklow Beach; Greystones; Powerscourt Gardens; Dublin.