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Grianan of Aileach

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Just outside of Derry, in Donegal, you’ll find Grianán of Aileach. This is a hill fort and one of Inishowen’s most famous historical monuments. The name is sometimes anglicised as Greenan Ely or Greenan Fort.

Visit Aileach, sitting atop the Greenan Mountain, for outstanding views over the surroundings. You could take in the shimmering Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly in the distance.

Aileach’s history probably dates back to 1700 BC. Before the Celts even settled here, the Tuatha de Danann invaded Ireland and built a series of strategic forts. Saint Patrick is also said to have visited the fort in the 5th century.

Today, when you walk around Grianán of Aileach, you can admire the stunning architecture. The fort stands tall at around 5 metres (16.5 feet) and with an internal diametre of 23 metres (75 feet). The dry stone walls are almost entirely built without mortar and are 4 metres (13 feet) thick. They contain passages which give access to the top of the fort.

Below Aileach, you’ll find the remains of a much older fort dating back to the Bronze or Iron Age.

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