Irish architecture is world renowned. It features many Anglo-Irish and Norman castles as well as buildings from eras that date all the way to the Stone Age. It also features plenty of Georgian urban buildings, and, of course, darling whitewashed thatched cottages that look like they are straight out of a storybook. Although they are not as instantly recognisable, Ireland also has plenty of rococo and Palladian country houses. Of course, the country also features many neo-Gothic and Gothic buildings and cathedrals. All of this combined make it a beautiful, architecturally rich land, and one that is worth exploring.
European and British influence slowly expanded across Ireland over the years, and many of the trends have been adapted by the Irish to incorporate these trends and fashions while still keeping the peculiarities of Ireland. In fact, towards the end of the 20th century, Ireland experienced something of a rebirth due to a rise in the economic situation. Design and culture came back to life, allowing some of the cities in Ireland to become cutting edge. Many skyscrapers and building designs soon sported modern architectural styles. In this way, Ireland is able to offer both historical and modern architecture to its visitors.
One of the most notable constructions in Ireland is the Grange stone circle. It is the largest megalithic construction in the country. The earliest of these types of structures date back to the end of the Stone Age, also sometimes referred to as the Neolithic period. Ireland is also dotted with Megalithic tombs which are fairly common. Within these, the court tombs are usually the oldest, with some estimated as being from 3500 BCE. Some tombs have one long chamber, and a large entrance at the front. Usually the entrance is marked with a variety of standing stones.
Ireland is also known for its very impressive ring forts, known as raths by the Irish. These forts were created during the start of the Iron Age, and are formed like an embankment around an enclosure that sits in the middle. Often they are strategically placed on a mound. Depending on the use of the raths, occasionally, a tunnel is built into the structures as well. If the terrain was suitable for a rath, then hill forts were designed for use as well. A great example of a mediaeval fort is Dun Aengus, which is located over on the Aran Islands.
These are just a few examples of the many types of Irish architecture that stretch across the country. Almost every major period from medieval times to feudal times, the Restoration, the Victorian period, and modern times, are well represented in the country. Some architectural remains are fully intact while others are just ruins, but all represent the contribution that Ireland has historically had in terms of the progression of architecture.