Take a step back in time at this open-air museum to discover how the people of Ireland’s prehistoric and early medieval years lived and worked.
Visit Craggaunowen cultural park to explore centuries of Ireland’s living past via original artifacts and authentic recreations. Learn about the age-old traditions of the Celtic descendants who played a key role in shaping the nation’s present-day customs. Craggaunwoen sits in picturesque woodland scattered with ancient forts, dwellings, farmsteads and prehistoric wildlife.
Tree-lined trails weave around the woodland and lead to the park’s various attractions. Meet costumed characters who explain and reenact the daily tasks of a bygone era. Start your visit at the restored 16th-century Craggaunowen Castle. Enjoy views of rolling countryside and spot primeval wildlife such as soy sheep and wild boar.
Go to the Crannog to see an example of a lake dwelling set on a manmade island. Check out the Togher, a section of a wooden road that dates back to A.D. 148. This type of road was common in the Iron Age and built to make traveling across bogs and marshes easier.
Visit the Fulacht Fia, which is the recreation of a cooking grounds used by hunters from the Bronze Age to the Elizabethan era. See a dolmen, a megalithic Stone Age tomb.
Put yourself in the shoes of hunter-gatherers at the Ring Fort. At this typical farmstead you’ll find out how Celts cooked over fire pits and produced handcrafted ceramic and wooden tableware. Be sure to sample traditional meals at the farmhouse’s tearoom. Peek inside the Souterrain, underground tunnels used for both storing food and fleeing from invaders.
Don’t miss the Brendan Boat, a leather-hulled boat built by explorer Tim Severin for his 1976 voyage from Ireland to Newfoundland. Severin retraced the fabled 6th-century journey of St. Brendan the Navigator, who is believed to have reached the Americas many years before Christopher Columbus.
Located in County Clare, Craggaunowen is about a 15-minute drive from Quin and a 30-minute drive from Limerick. Use the large car park and picnic area at the entrance to the museum. The museum is open from Easter Saturday until late September and has an admission fee.