Constructed in 1743 after the ‘Black Spring’ famine by John Glin for the Government of Irelandon commission by local landlady Katherine Conolly, the Wonderful Barn is a spectacular corkscrew-shaped grain store built to avoid shortage of grain in case of another famine period. Its construction gave employment to the impoverished local people.
The building, located in Leixlip, County Kildare, is 22,25 meters high and there are 94 limestone steps to the top from the 11 meters-diameter base. Since 2006 the Wonderful Barn is placed on the World Monuments List of 100 Most Endangered Monuments.
Some of the Northern Ireland‘s neighborhoods are still divided by walls: the Peace Walls (or Peace Lines) separate the nationalists/Catholics/Irish from the loyalists/Protestants/British people.
Most of them are in Belfast, others are also existing in Portadown, Derry and Lurgan, with a total length of around 34 km; some of them have gates that are opened only during daylight.
The walls were initially built as a temporary structure to avoid the violence episodes; the first peace line is dating back to 1969 in Belfast after the riot that had involved nationalists, loyalists and police that caused more than 150 homes destroyed, almost two thousand families evacuated, 8 killed and more than 700 injured people.
The number of the walls have raised from less than 20 in the early 1990s to more than one hundred nowadays; there was also an increase after the Irish-British Good Friday Agreement of the 10th April 1998.
According to the public local opinion, the walls are still necessary to maintain the peace and avoid the violence in those areas: the majority of the people still think that more time is needed to change the mentality that has caused lots of conflicts in the past.
In September 2017, the Northern Ireland Department of Justice published its Interface Programme, which intention is removing all the structures by 2023.
Reading the messages of thousands of people marked on the Peace Walls, it is evident that the thought of the people, with or without walls, is still aimed at peace.
The Lough Tay, located in the Wicklow Mountains, about 50 km south from Dublin, is also known as the Guinness Lake due to its shape and colours.
The white sandy beach on the northern coast makes the Guinness foam. The brown colour of the water close to the beach (due to the water coming from the streams that rise on peat covered uplands) complete the incredible visual similarity to the famous Irish pint.
You can see the lake from the R759 scenic route, or if you want a better view from the top, take the walking trail towards the Luggala mountain (accessible from the R115 — the best scenic drive in the Wicklow mountains) or the Djouce mountain, one of the most spectacular walks in the Wicklow Mountains, from which you can see the whole Dublin bay and, on a clear sky day, also the Welsh coastline.
The Lough Tay beach was chosen in 2013 as the set for the village of Kattegat in the Vikings tv series.
The Croagh Patrick (also known as “The Reek”), whose names means (St.) Patrick’s stack, is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland.
It is located in County Mayo on the Wild Atlantic Way, overlooking the Clew Bay; 764 meters high, it is the 4th highest mountains of the region.
Since the Stone Age the mountain carries on a tradition of pilgrimage; still nowadays every year (the last Friday and Sunday of July and the 15th of August) thousands of pilgrims ascend to the summit, where is believed Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD. According to the tradition, the pilgrims should climb the mountain barefoot.
The view of the Clew Bay and the charming town of Westport from the top is absolutely outstanding. The 7km round trip walk trail starts from the Murrisk car park.
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