The Irish National Heritage Park

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  • Aspects of County Wexford

Types of Reconstructions

There are all kinds of buildings and historical features on display at the Irish National Heritage Park. The building materials and methods used to construct these are as close to the originals as possible. This is to make them appear as authentic as possible to the visitor.

Some of the most popular features found here are the crannóg, which is a a Bronze Age homestead located on an artificial island, the Fulacht Fiadh, the horizontal watermill and the Viking boatyard and Celtic farm on the lakeshore.


Artificial islands known as crannógs have been constructed from the Stone Age times. It is, in essence a rath (a fortified, circular home) in water, which would protect a household or several.

The materials used in building a crannóg where mainly brushwood or peat but other things such as stones and bones would also be used. Access to the crannóg was by boat, as proven by the discovery of jetties and canoes by the site.


The horizontal watermill is one of the world's first automatic machines but its origins remain a mystery. It is thought that they were first introduced into Ireland in the early 7th century and by the following century, they were a common enough feature of the Irish countryside.

The mills would have mostly been owned by families or small communities, although it is known that monasteries also used the mills. The mill would operate using a spray of water from a reservoir to help turn the mill wheel. The water was controlled by gates in a dam.

Examples of watermills have been found throughout Europe, and as far east as Pakistan. They were also brought into America in the 16th century by Spanish settlers and are still in use in South America today.

Fulacht Fiadh

The Fulacht Fiadh is a method of cooking from prehistoric Ireland. After a day's hunting, it was a custom to set up camp and prepare a feast from the day's kill. The animals would be skinned and then wrapped up in straw while they prepared the Fulacht Fiadh.

The Fulacht Fiadh would be set-up on low, marshy ground. Ideally, this would be close to a river or lake as a steady supply of water was required. This pit of water was brought to boiling by throwing rocks into it from a nearby fire.

To keep the required heat, more rocks would be thrown in. That's why the location of Fulacht Fiadhs are easily recognisable by mounds of burnt and shattered rocks.