The monastery of Clonmacnoise, overlooking the River Shannon near Athlone, dates back to the 6th century. The original wooden structures were gradually upgraded over the generations to more advanced and fortified stone buildings.
Ireland's waterways brought waves of invaders, from Vikings to Anglo-Normans, whose influences are still present at this site. The gravestones and inscriptions mark the resting places of locals, pilgrims, Irish kings & chieftains, and the learned monks who made Ireland a safe-haven of knowledge during the Dark Ages.
(County Offaly, 2012)