Thursday, 11 April 2013

Around Armagh Town, Ireland

 Picture of Armagh County
County Armagh is steeped in folklore and legend.

Two miles west of Armagh City lies the great mound of Navan Fort. A large earthwork on the summit of a hill, Navan was known in legend as Emain Macha, ceremonial and spiritual capital of ancient Ulster, associated wtih tales of the warrior Cuchulainn. Emain Macha was the stronghold of the kings of Ulster from 700 BC.

Below the fort lies the grass-roofed Navan Centre which interprets the archaeology and mythology of the site using interactive displays and a film.

The north of the county borders Lough Neagh. Legend has it that the giant Finn MacCool created the lough by tearing out a piece of turf and hurling it into the Irish sea, thus creating the Isle of Man in the process. At 400 sq km, the lake is the largest in Britain. Salmon and trout are found in the rivers flowing from the lake while Lough Neagh itself is famous for its eels.

Armagh city is one of Ireland's oldest cities dating back to the time of Saint Patrick. It boasts two cathedrals - one Roman Catholic and the other Protestant - sitting on opposing hills. Armagh's magnificent oval, tree-lined Mall, where cricket is played in summer, is surrounded by elegant Georgian buildings.

St. Patrick's Trian is a heritage centre just off the Mall that tells the story of the city. It also has a "Land of Lilliput" fantasy centre for children based on Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.

Ireland's only planetarium is on College Hill in the Observatory Grounds from where there are breathtaking views over the city.