Early Christian

(c. 450 AD – 1150 AD)


An essay on the development of housing in non-Roman north-west Europe in the first millenium AD is available here.


Ulster History Park reconstruction of a typical crannog, an artificial island providing security for human settlement and livestock.

Ulster History Park reconstruction of a rath excavated at Deer Park Farms, Glenarm, Co. Antrim.

circular buildings comprising two concentric walls of woven hazel wattle supporting daub in-fill with insulating layer of bracken in between;

the buildings are grouped and linked in pairs;

a souterrain, underground storage (?) structure first built during the early Iron Age and continuing in use until about the 7th century AD.



Ulster History Park reconstruction of a typical early monastery.

stone wall encircled monastery compound with church and characteristic tower for storage, chapel bell and refuge (?)

early church stone structure imitating earlier wooden building designs;

priest cells and "shrine" well in foreground.


Cormac's Chapel, Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary. Built from 1127, consecrated 1134, by King Cormac MacCarthy; perhaps the earliest Romanesque-style church in Ireland although of a more complex design than found elsewhere in the country. The building was variously restored during the 18th and 19th century but has since been returned to a condition as close as possible to the original. Of particular note are the blind arcades and decorated tympanum. The Rock of Cashel is also, more famously, the site of a medieval cathedral and castle and is under the care of the Heritage Service and the Office of Public Works. The views are excellent. There is an admission charge which includes a guided tour, although this is not obligatory. Open throughout the year, phone +353 62 61437.

The decorated Romanesque south-west doorway with blind arcading above.

The blind arcading stretches in three tiers to the roof line.

The eastern end of the chapel

Interior view of the north-west door.

The chancel.