Irish National Heritage Park – Ireland

The Irish National Heritage Park is located on the outskirts of Wexford Town, and displays 9000 years of Irish History over 40 acres of natural woodland.

Throughout the park there are 16 reconstructed historic sites, each with information displays. They are spread out over an easy to reach distance but far enough for easy social distancing.

During your visit, you can expect to learn more from the following displays:
  • The First People of Ireland 7000BC: The temporary nature of their settlements, and their sustenance off the land hunting and gathering
  • The First Farmers of Ireland 4000BC: Creating more permanent settlements, they focused on keeping their own livestock and crops
  • Stone Age Monuments 3500BC: Also known as Megalithic Tombs, they were not just used for burials but also many other functions, such as tracking the movement of the sun
  • Stone Circles 1500BC: Often associated with burials, the stone circles were possibly used to track the sun, moon and stars movement across the sky and could have been connected to sky worship
  • Ogham Stone 300AD: By this time in Ireland, the Celts were living in Ireland, and had formed a language for commemorating the dead, or for magical inscriptions, which was inscribed onto stone monuments
  • Ringforts 700AD: Ringforts were constructed in a circular shape were walls protected those of the highest rank: Kings, lords, wealthy farmers, poets, judges and those of a similar social rank; outside the ringfort the ordinary citizens and slaves would live
  • Christian Monasteries 900AD: Monasteries functioned as centres for learning, art and political power, where a church, gravestones, shrines, eating quarters and living quarters would be found
  • Kilns 600AD: Various types of grain were grown (wheat, oats, barley, rye) and were contained in a kiln which was a circular drying chamber with a hot, slow burning fire to dry the grain and allow for the baking of bread, even the brewing of beer
  • Horizontal Water Mill 600AD: Mills were some of the first automatic machines, to automate the manual grinding of grains; wealthy citizens or noblemen would own their own mills, but at the time it would primarily shared between less well-off famers
  • Fire Pits 1800BC – 800BC: The water was boiled by dropping water on fire-heated stones, where it was used for cooking and most likely saunas, washing, drying clothes or possibly making beer
  • Artificial Island 800AD: Artificial islands were created for a number of different reasons, but primary for safety or simply being separated physically from the mainland (safety from enemies or wild animals, creation of a noble residence, a quiet place for metal working, somewhere to hold prisoners)
  • Viking Settlements 1000AD: The Vikings who arrived in Ireland stayed and created settlements which became the first towns in Ireland, arriving from Scandinavia
  • Norman Castle 1200AD: The Normans who arrived built strong castles constructed of stone and wood, painting them white to make them look more imposing. The Norman Castle site at the park includes a falconry.
  • Original Normal Ditch 1169/70AD: The first Norman Fortification can be seen on this side, where the castle was erected after the capture of Wexford town.
  • Round Tower 1857AD: Monasteries would often build Round Towers to function as bell towers, places to keep their treasures, and places of refuge during attack

Planning your trip

When booking your ticket during the Pandemic, be sure to book online to reserve your timeslot https://irishheritage.clr.events/event/129812:admission-tickets

The tour took me about 2.5 hours to go at my own pace. There are lots of benches to rest on in the park, with a restaurant available with refreshments and light meals. There is also a visitors centre available at the park for you to buy a memento.

References

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