Grianán of Aileach

Grianán of Aileach

The origins of the Grianán 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.

Mr Walter Bernard of Derry restored the stone fort or cashel in the 1870s. It is the centrepiece of the site, 23m in internal diameter with walls measuring 5m in height and approximately 4m in thickness. The dry stone walls contain two passages within them as well as terraces along their interior which would have allowed access to their summit.

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.

Saint Aengus’ Church

Stained Glass Windows

Helen Maloney

St. Aengus’ Church located in Burt, Co. Donegal. It was built in 1967 and was designed by local award-winning architects Frank Corr and Liam McCormick. It is regarded as a masterpiece of design and was voted Building of the Century in a poll conducted by the RIAI in collaboration with The Sunday Tribune. The church takes its pagan inspiration from the nearby Grainan of Aileach ringfort which is located on the nearby hilltop. This area has had some form of a religious temple since the Bronze Age. It was built in a circular shape as a reference to the ‘circle of life’ to give the congregation a feeling of all-inclusiveness and equality. Some of its unique features include the off-center roof light above the altar, a beautifully curved plastered ceiling, and the stunning stained glass windows designed by Helen Maloney in the Cubist style. The stones used on the outside of the church are recycled cobblestones salvaged from the Derry Docks.