Grianan of Aileach, Ireland
The Grianan of Aileach is an Iron Age stone fortress in Inishowen in County Donegal. It was occupied from about 800 BC until about 1200 AD. According to legend, it was built by the renowned Kind Daghda of the Tuatha de Danann. Supposedly, the king’s son Aeah was buried in the center of the fortress.
The fort was the seat of the Kingdom of Aileach, who
ruled much of Ulster at the time. It was razed once by Vikings, and
Murtaigh O’Brien, Kind of Munster finished the job in 1191. It was
restored to its current state in the 19th century.
The actual purpose of the place is somewhat of a mystery. Ring forts and hill forts were often used to contain cattle, and served as a defense when under attack. But the size and grandeur of the place leads most to believe it also had a special governmental purpose. In addition, there are theories that the word Gianana means sunny place, and that it also served as a sun temple.