Lough Gur

Lough Gur is a lake located in County Limerick, Ireland, between the towns of Herbertstown and Bruff. The lake, which forms a horseshoe shape at the base of Knockadoon Hill, is one of the most important archaeological sites in Ireland. Humans have lived in the area around Lough Gur for thousands of years, dating back to around 3000 BC, and there are numerous megalithic remains at the site.

Some of the notable features at Lough Gur include the Grange stone circle (the largest stone circle in Ireland) and a dolmen, as well as the remains of at least three crannogs, and Stone Age houses. A number of ring forts can also be found in the area, with one hill fort overlooking the lake. Some of these forts are considered Irish national monuments.

Lough Gur is also steeped in Irish folklore and mythology, with stories of the 14th-century lord of Munster and poet Gearóid Iarla, who is said to sleep in a cave near the lake and emerge at the time of Ireland’s need to gallop around the lake on his great silver-shod white horse.

The area around Lough Gur is open to visitors, with a visitors’ center, car park, and picnic area located near the lake. The shoreline at the visitor area is gradual, with a shallow section of the lake reaching up to the maintained lawn. As a result, the area is often used for water sports, though motorized craft are banned on the lake. There is also a castle, or tower house, named Bourchier’s Castle, near the entrance to the car park, which is closed to visitors. Other notable architecture in the area includes the ruins of an early Christian church and the ruins of a Norman castle, Black Castle, which can be reached by a hillside walk along the east side of the lake.

Lough Gur is also famous for its Irish Elk skeletons. Specimens from Lough Gur can be found in museums such as the National Museum of Ireland – Natural History, as well as Leeds Museums and Galleries in the UK.