Fodor's Expert Review Irish National Heritage Park
A 35-acre, open-air, living-history museum beside the River Slaney, this is one of Ireland's most successful and enjoyable family attractions. In about 90 minutes, a guide takes you through 9,000 years of Irish history—from the first evidence of humans on this island, at around 7000 BC, to the Norman settlements of the mid-12th century. Full-scale replicas of typical dwellings illustrate the changes in beliefs and lifestyles. Highlights include a prehistoric homestead, a crannóg (lake dwelling), an early Christian rath (fortified farmstead), a horizontal water mill, a Viking longhouse, and a Norman castle. There are also examples of pre-Christian burial sites and a stone circle. Most of the exhibits are "inhabited" by students in appropriate historic dress who will answer questions. The riverside site includes several nature trails and a falconry center. There's a family restaurant and you can even stay a night in a medieval ring fort.