A Megalithic Cemetery. Seriously. This is an incredible place to visit. Not just one or two passage tombs or Dolmens, but thirty remaining circles, tombs and Dolmens. There may have been over a hundred in ancient times. Carrowmore dates back to 3700 BC. And you get to walk around the area, touch the stones, and soak in the ancientness of it all.
Carrowmore is located in County Sligo (where many of my ancestors hail). It’s one of four major megalithic sites in Ireland. Though it is in a remote area, it’s easy to find; well marked. The bonus for me is that it’s all easily accessible. There is a place to park, a small building with some information, a bathroom, and where you buy tickets. Tickets are only five Euro/adult. They do have a guided tour or you can get a pamphlet and walk around yourself. The person at the counter was very knowledgeable and willing to talk, explain, and answer my questions. Expect to spend about 1-2 hours, especially if you enjoy this sort of thing. But then, why would you end up here if you didn’t like it?
One if the questions I had were about what we can’t see – are there more tombs? The gentleman at the desk told me this entire area probably had hundreds more tombs and there is much more work to be done.
It was raining, off and on, the day we went. (No surprise here.) Umbrellas aren’t very useful with the wind either, so you may want to have a light rain coat with a hood when you visit, just in case.
The best website to read more about Carrowmore is:
It is full of interesting information and photos.
Queen Maeve’s Cairn:
This picture is taken from Carrowmore. It’s Queen Maeve’s Cairn. You can see the mist almost obscuring the cairn. We waited, taking many pictures, for the mist to swirl out of the way and the sun to shine enough to see it.
The cairn is located on the top of Knocknarea and thought to have been built about 3200 BC. We didn’t hike up the mountain to it, but you can tell it’s incredible from Carrowmore; to be so visible from so far away! It’s a well preserved tomb, one of the best in Ireland.
Maeve was a fierce warrior queen of Connaught. Quoting the site mentioned above: “That she chose to be interred in the Great Cairn of Knocknarea says something about its prestige as the most important and ancient sacred site in Connaught.”
Carrowmore and Knocknarea must have been a hallowed area in ancient times.
Sligo and the megalithic cemetery at Carrowmore are well worth the effort to visit. Often when travelers visit Ireland, they head to Dublin and/or Belfast, or the Ring of Kerry. All fantastic places – indeed, I doubt there isn’t a great place to visit – however, Ireland holds many unique and wonderful sites. If you’re planning a visit, consider some of the less traveled places.
Let me know what treasures you find.