Please don’t let the title fool you, it is a term of endearment!
While traveling around Ireland, one of the things you will see an abundance of is broken old shit. And almost all of it is very, very cool. From the biggest cities, to the smallest of back road towns, they all have their own heritage sites that are protected as part of the history of Ireland. They can be as complex as a castle, or as simple as a wall that has managed to stand for centuries, long after people could no longer inhabit them.
As you drive around Ireland, it would almost be impossible to take pictures and document all of the broken old shit, because each one you see is more interesting than the last, and to stop at each one would add hours or days onto a trip. But luckily, almost anywhere you do stop will have its very own broken old shit to see.
At least for me, the best broken old shit we saw, was also some of the oldest. Scattered in the mountains of the Dingle Peninsula are a number of ringforts, or Beehive Huts, that are built only of stone and have survived since the very early days of Christianity. The site we visited was called Cathair na gConchuireach, and it was estimated to have been built somewhere around 1200 AD. The forts were built by a method known as corbelling, were interlocking layers of flat stones are placed a circle, with each layer moving a little closer to the center, so that the end result looked like a stone igloo or a beehive.
As we walked among the ruins, I couldn’t help but think of the life these early people led. The pamphlet we were given told us that this site was thought to be a single family farm, with living quarters, storage, and a place for worship. Although their lives may seem almost barbaric by our modern standard, their simple way of life came with quite a view.
Our time with the beehive huts was cut short, because our trip needed to continue. But we would soon find ourselves face to face with the king of all broken old shit. Next stop, The Rock of Cashel.