Take me back to Ireland right now! Over the weekend I had been digging deep in to my childhood memories to remember as much about a school tour to the Craggaunowen Crannóg as I could. I must’ve been no more than 10 or 11 when I visited the Shannon area Heritage site with my classmates.
I can distintively remember bits and pieces of the tour – the pieces any kid would I suppose. The thrill of seeing the huts on the little island for example, the quick dash through the underground tunnel (supposedly used for food storage) and I can clearly remember our visit to the Brendan Boat, a modern-day replica of the boat purported to have been used by St. Brendan the Navigator, who supposedly discovered America centuries before Columbus.
Craggaunowen in Co. Clare was created by John Hunt, an advisor to Sotheby’s on Medieval Art, and it depicts what life was like in pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland. The highlights of the park include the Craggaunowen castle and the Crannóg. Crannóg is an Irish word meaning young tree (from the Irish words Crann (tree) and óg (young) ). Crannógs were man-made islands, on which people built their homes, kept their animals and went about their daily lives. The one in Co. Clare is quite small, and I’m not too sure if it it is representative of the actual size of the Iron Age version. If it is, I could see a bit of boredom setting in quite quick. But at least the inhabitants were safe, well relatively so.
Many of you visiting Clare will be headed for the Burren or for Bunratty castle, but if my memory serves me right, you won’t want to miss a trip to Craggaunowen
They’re not open year round so you’ll want to check the Craggaunowen website for opening days/times. That link has directions etc too. They say the park is approx 30KM from Shannon airport.
I wasn’t able to find any pictures of the actual Crannog houses that I am allowed to publish but if you have one, and would like to send it to me, I’d love to include it on this post. In the absence of a nice photo I hope you enjoy the video above.
Photos of the Clare Crannog
Since I posted this earlier in the week, Jody at IrelandWithKids.com has been in touch. She has provided 2 beautiful photos of the houses at the Craggaunowen Crannóg from her trip there in May. You can read all about her most recent trip to Ireland, and of course find great family trip planning tips on her website.
Thank you, Jody.