Rock of Dunamase – Laois Heritage Trail

I love nothing better than getting into the car with Patrick and Charlie our dog, and heading off with camera in hand for a walk or a hike. Last weekend with the sun splitting the skies and the wind at our back our place of choice was the Rock of Dunamase in Co. Laois. Growing up in Athy, Co. Kildare, I’d visited this ancient landmark many times as it really was only a stones throw away.

Rock of Dunamase

I remember climbing over the ruins, running down the slopes and loving every minute of my time there. I was hopeful that my happy childish memories would serve me right and I’d have another happy memory created from introducing Patrick and Charlie to this special place.

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The Rock of Dunamase is well signposted so you really can’t go wrong no matter which direction you come from. When you arrive there is a small church at it’s foot that has an area to park your car or bike. The area is clean with no rubbish so it’s important to keep it this way, a note for picnic lovers. Another note for picnic lovers is that it gets pretty blustery up on the rock even if the sun is shining, so a cardi, mac or hoodie wouldn’t go astray. If you are bringing a dog, bring poop bags, no surprise there.

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There was a ‘Paddy Wagon’ leaving just as we got to the Rock. Those that were there, were families with old and young members alike. The younger members did just as I once did and climbed and ran about. Patrick and I now had more in common with the older family members as we climbed to the top, stopping along the way to take in the beauty of the scenery around us, farm lands, forests, fields, winding roads and beautiful blue skies. It was obvious why the Christian settlement was pillaged by the Vikings and then used by Diarmuid Mac Murrough, King of Leinster as a dowry for his daughter Aoife, for her marraige to Strongbow. There is much more to the history that is the Rock of Dunamase but you can get a brief gist of it here                                                                                     

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We had a fab hour or so at the Rock of Dunamase, the weather played a big part and we were a little disappointed we didn’t bring a picnic but that’s something we will look forward to the next time we visit.

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Rock of Dunamase, Co Laois


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Edwina O'Connor
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