After a short drive on the N80 from Portlaoise to Stradbally in County Laois, you can discover a majestic rock rising up in the countryside – the Rock of Dunamase. What from a distance looks like the ancient greek Acropolis turns out as an assembly of ruins, all of them many hundreds of years old.
Due its prominent position one can enjoy amazing panoramic views over the surrounding landscape. It takes its name from the Irish Dún Másc, meaning the ‘Fort of Masc’. Dunamase was the seat or fort of the ancient Irish kings of Laois. In 845 the fortress or dún on top of the rock was attacked by a Viking army from Dublin, who plundered several other sites in the region. Nothing of this early fortress can be seen today today, but what does survive is one of the most spectacular Anglo-Norman fortifications in the country. Standing 46 meters above the surrounding landscape and in-between the ruins, you can enjoy breath-taking views around the countryside.