Ireland's rich history is clearly visible all around you, should you care to look.
Wave upon wave of invasion and war — from the Celts, Vikings, Normans, English and even the Spanish — have left their mark on our land over the centuries.
Castles were first introduced to Ireland with the Norman's wooden motte-and-bailey, before gradually developing into the stone strongholds that remain to this day.
These magnificent and expensive fortresses were built in strategic locations as secure bases for the ruling classes, having the added effect of inspiring awe in the locals.
These nigh-on immortal structures still dot our landscape, but we're so used to their presence that we barely even notice them anymore.
Let's take a moment to appreciate these majestic buildings from another era...
1. Kilkenny Castle, Co. Kilkenny
2. Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo
3. Malahide Castle, Co. Dublin
4. Doe Castle, Co. Donegal
5. Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare
6. Rock Of Cashel, Co. Tipperary
7. Blarney Castle, Co. Cork
8. Ross Castle, Co. Kerry
9. Cahir Castle, Co. Tipperary
10. Trim Castle, Co. Meath
11. Glenveagh Castle, Co. Donegal
12. Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford