Campus Holidays self catering accommodation apartments are ideally located on the campus of University of Limerick, less than 40 minutes from Craggaunowen.
Craggaunowen is Ireland’s original award winning prehistoric park. Here you can explore the roots of the people, homesteads, animals and artifacts of our Celtic ancestors of over 1,000 years ago which have touched and shaped how we live today.
Crannog – lake dwelling
At Craggaunowen you gain a fascinating insight into how the Celts made their homes on a Crannog (meaning 'young tree’), a reconstructed lake-dwelling or artificial island on which people built houses, kept animals, and lived in relative security from enemy clans or invaders.
Crannogs were constructed by placing layers of stone, brushwood, tree trunks and even, old dugout canoes, on the lakebed. These were held together by wooden pilings and the platform was covered with a layer of earth or sand. On this the inhabitants built their thatched houses of wattles and mud and surrounded themselves with a protective timber fence.
Craggaunowen includes a Ring Fort, a true reproduction of a farmer's house, dating from the 4th or 5th century. Ring forts were the standard type of farmstead during the early Christian Period (5th -12th centuries AD). The contemporaries of the people living in Ring forts produced the magnificent artefacts of the Golden Age including the Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch, the Book of Kells, the Derrynaflan Hoard and many other masterpieces. The Ring Fort in Craggaunowen includes a Souterrain. The Souterrain is an underground passages designed primarily as food storage areas, were ventilated, but draft free. They maintain a constant temperature of around 4 degrees no matter how hot it gets on the surface. They could also be used as places of refuge during attacks on the Ring Fort.
Craggaunowen Castle was built in 1550 by John MacSioda MacNamara who was a descendant of Sioda MacNamara who built Knappogue Castle in 1467. It is a typical example of a fortified Tower House, which was the ordinary residence of the gentry at the time. After the collapse of the Gaelic Order, in the 17th century, the castle was left roofless.
The restoration work was completed in 1965 by John Hunt, who added the extension to the ground floor where part of his collection of antiquities containing many medieval objects were exhibited. The entire exhibition now resides in the Hunt Museum in Limerick City.
Craggaunowen is has something for all the family. It gives a real sense of stepping back in time. The many paths of Craggaunowen have something of interest to adults and children alike. Explore the grounds and you may even meet some Bronze Age animals, our wild boar and soay sheep. For more information and to book tickets visit the Shannon Heritage website.