Alison and I recently returned from a week-long road-trip of Western Ireland. One of the highlights was visiting the castles and heritage properties of the Shannon region.
While there, we visited no less than seven castles, abbeys, and tower houses. Even so, we barely scratched the surface, as there were hundreds of tower houses built during Norman rule, in the 12th century, and beyond. We decided to concentrate on properties maintained by Shannon Heritage. Each one had something special to engage the visitor and bring Ireland’s ancient history to life.
Studying history in school often requires boring memorization of dates and names. Luckily, I was inspired, early on, by a public school teacher who showed my class slides of his travels in Italy, Greece, and more. His personal descriptions of the places and their history made it more real to us as students.
Twenty-five years later, having had the opportunity to travel, I understand his passion for history. When you visit historical locations in person, the story becomes much more engaging. If done right, such a visit should make you feel like you have stepped back in history. This is exactly what we found at the Shannon Heritage castles.