Carrowmore, Megalithic Cemetery, Co. Sligo.

Location – Not far from the R292 between the hill of Knocknarae and Sligo town. There is a small visitors centre and car parking facilities.
OS: G 662 337 (map 25)
Longitude: 8° 31' 8.81" W
Latitude: 54° 15' 2.27" N
GPS: G 66167 33664 (Accuracy – 5m) Readings all taken at carpark. All tombs are numbered. I will provide more detailed reading for each tomb when I return to the site. For now you will have to find your own way and that is half the fun. If the visitors centre is open they can provide you with maps.
See map at the bottom of the page.

Description and History – There are over 30 tombs remaining at Carrowmore today and I have 20 of them covered here and I intend to hopefully get to them all one day but there are access issues regarding some tombs and they cannot be reached due to being on private land where access is not allowed. Carrowmore is one of the four major megalithic tomb cemeteries in Ireland. The other three are Carrowkeel, also in Sligo, and the Boyne Valley and Loughcrew, both in Meath. Each of these cemeteries is distinctive and Carrowmore is no exception as the cemetery lies in the shadow of the massive Knocknarae which dominates the landscape with Queen Maeve’s Cairn placed on top.

The date of this cemetery is somewhat controversial with some radio carbon dates being at around 5400BC which was seen by some as too early as this was before the supposed advent of agriculture in Ireland. Other tests have provided more realistic dates of 3600BC. These dates are still some of the earliest in Ireland and in Europe. This site may represent the beginning of Neolithic tomb building in Europe. Although these sites are called tombs there is some debate as to whether this was their only function as these tombs were re-used by later Bronze and Iron Age peoples. It is possible that there was some other ritual or cultural uses to these sites of which being tombs was only one function.

Also the classification of some of these tombs is also an issue. While some look like stone circles they are actually the remains of passage tombs of which the passages are now missing. Also, some look like portal tombs but are actually small passage tombs or a hybrid of the two. There are crossovers between the various types of tombs found in Ireland and Carrowmore contains come of these tombs. This is one of Ireland’s most amazing places. Click below to read about individual tombs.

Tomb 1
Tomb 2
Tomb 4
Tomb 5
Tomb 7
Tomb 13
Tomb 15
Tomb 19
Tomb 22
Tomb 26
Tomb 27
Tomb 51
Tomb 52
Tomb 53
Tomb 54
Tomb 55
Tomb 56
Tomb 57
Tomb 58
Tomb 59

Difficulty – Carrowmore is not difficult to visit. It is largely flat with good access. It is, however, time consuming, so be prepared to spend a few hours here to see everything properly.

For more neolithic tombs, click here.
For more sites in Co. Sligo, click here.

2 comments:

Tony Mulraney said...

Top work Tom,well linked. Tried to take on Carrowmore last year (but ran out of time)after about six tombs.Without doubt in the top ten on my list.

The Standing Stone said...

Thanks Tony. It took a long time to put together and I need to go back to see the other tombs I missed.