Living Past Experience

Can you imagine what life was like for people in the Bronze Age?

How did they adapt? At Craggaunowen you will experience the resilience and fortitude of these early Bronze Age settlers.

At Craggaunowen you gain a fascinating insight into how the Celts made their homes on a Crannog.

Crannogs were found in Ireland during the Iron Age and early Christian periods. Though some homesteads were inhabited during the Late Bronze Age and in some cases were still being occupied as late as the 17th century.

The crannog at Craggaunowen is simply a wondrous sight but perhaps what is even more fascinating to visitors is the round houses which stand on these artificially constructed islands.

These structures were built out of wood and mud with conical thatched roofs and wattle walls and generally were accessed through a single entrance, which extended out from the main structure via a porch-style chamber.

This design feature provided a degree of insulation between the main living space and the worst of any cold wind and rain, with usually only sheets/animal hides used to serve as a front door.
The central living area was a single room with various uses, including sleeping, cooking, craftwork and storage.


View Crannog - lake dwelling

Crannog - lake dwelling

The Brendan Boat

A hide boat in which Tim Severin sailed from Ireland to the United States.

Did you know that the famous 'Brendan Boat', the hide boat in which Tim Severin sailed from Ireland to the United States in 1970's, enacting the voyage of St Brendan is housed at Craggaunowen.

St. Brendan the Navigator (who died c. 583 AD.) was, according to a 9th century manuscript, “The Navigacio”, the first man to discover the 'Promised Land' across the Atlantic. This place he called Hy- Brasil and it first came to him a dream.

Come, see and learn about this fascinating voyage at Craggaunowen


View The Brendan Boat

Ring Fort

Craggaunowen includes a Ring Fort, a true reproduction of a farmer's house, dating from the 4th or 5th century.

Ring forts, of which there are about 40,000 examples throughout Ireland, were the standard type of farmstead during the early Christian Period (5th -12th centuries AD).

View Ring Fort

Souterrain (below ground) or underground passages designed primarily as food storage areas, were ventilated, but draft free.

They maintain a constant temperature of around 4 degrees no matter how hot it gets on the surface. They could also be used as places of refuge during attacks on the Ring Fort, many souterrain have secondary or tertiary chambers which are difficult to enter, thereby affording their occupants a measure of security. Kids, big and small, just love them!

View The Souterrain

The Souterrain

Fulacht Fia

This reconstructed cooking site was common throughout the country.

Hunting parties used them over a long period of time, from the early Bronze Age to the Elizabethan period. A rectangular hole was dug in low-lying land where it was sure to fill with water. This was clad on the four sides with wooden sections. Stones heated on the campfire were then used to boil the water in the wooden trough. A joint of venison was then wrapped in straw and put into the boiling water and cooked for a set period.

View Fulacht Fia

This Iron Age wooden track or Togher was originally laid in 148AD.

The togher in Craggaunowen is a reconstruction of an Iron Age Road dating back to 148BC.

In some places, transport was a major problem during the Iron Age. Near the sea or rivers, skin covered boats or dug-out canoes made travel easy. In order to reach areas far from waterways it was necessary to travel through the heavily wooded or bog covered countryside. Occasionally to connect two important sites or places, wooden roadways were built across bogs or marshes. These were made by placing runners of birch or alder on the surface and covering them with large oak planks to make a road.

View Togher - Iron Age Road

Togher - Iron Age Road