Grianan of Aileach

Availability: Jan - Dec

Address: Grianan an Aileach , Burt , Co Donegal
Tel: +353 (0)74 9374933
Email: info@visitinishowen.com

The Stone Fort of Grianan of Aileach is sits on a hilltop in Inishowen County Donegal. 250m above sea level, the stone fort was probably first built on an earthen rath. The view from Aileach is breathtaking. The glistening waters of Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly are clear, as is the form of the entire peninsula. A windy and exposed place, Grianan has been a silent witness to the history of Ireland.

The origins of the Grianan of Aileach fort are dated back to 1700 BC. It is linked to the Tuatha de Danann who invaded Ireland before the Celts and built stone forts on top of strategic hills. They worshipped Dagda (the Good God) and he too is associated with the origins of Aileach. It was he who ordered the building of a stone fort to act as a burial monument to his dead son. The round fort is built largely without mortar. The interior has three terraces and wooden structures were built against the terraces to provide accommodation. The outline of Bronze Age or Iron Age ramparts can be seen below the fort.

Legend states that the giants of Inishowen are lying sleeping but when the sacred sword is removed they will spring to life reclaiming their ancient lands. It is thought that St Patrick visited the site in the 5th century and baptised the local chieftain, Eoghan (from whom Inis Eoghan gets its name), here.

  • Highlights
  • Ancient Stone Fort
  • Superb views of Inch Island, Lough Swilly and Derry