Cairn T, Carnbane East, Loughcrew, Co. Meath.

Location – On the highest point of Carnbane East.
OS: N 585 775 (map 42)
GPS: N 58549 77597 (Accuracy – 2m)
Longitude: 7° 6' 44.92" W
Latitude: 53° 44' 40.89" N
See map at the bottom of the page.

Description and History – This tomb is really the jewel in the crown of Loughcrew. While every tomb has something unique to offer this one stands out above the rest. Like Newgrange this tomb may have had some sort of façade involving white quartz. Massive amounts of white quartz were found here by Conwell around the kerb stones. However, what form it might have taken remains to be seen. There is some debate and growing evidence that the restored façade at Newgrange is extremely incorrect. The 38 remaining kerb stones here are absolutely massive and the Hag’s Chair stands out as one of the more unusual kerb stones at the entire complex. Many were once carved with designs in a similar fashion to the tombs in the Boyne Valley, however, the stone is soft at Loughcrew and has suffered much more weathering. The cairn is 113m in circumference and has a diameter of nearly 36m. A concrete dome sits over the passage as the original stones are all but missing. The corbelling over the chambers is largely complete apart from the capstone where a metal grill has now been inserted. Each of the three chambers has its own corbelled roof. The tomb is cruciform in shape and human remains were again found here. 

Some of the most unique megalithic art in the world is also located in this tomb. The designs range from classic spirals to chevron and floral patterns. These are beautifully illuminated on the equinox days to which this tomb is aligned. My pictures do not do it justice whatsoever. It’s hard to get a good picture without decent equipment which I didn’t have when I took these photos. Now that the pictures are being taken by a professional I think it’s time for a revisit. 

Difficulty – Easy to park and walk up to. However, it is a locked tomb and the key can be collected from the café at Loughcrew Gardens. A €60 returnable deposit is required for the key. They also provide a torch. Demand can be huge for the key, especially during the summer months so I’d advise arriving early. As they will stipulate to you, do not give the key to anyone else, even if they offer you the €60. Please respect this rule. 

In places where the kerb is missing, stone wall has been built to keep the cairn in place.

The kerb stones either side of the entrance are massive.

The Hag's Chair.

Carved, probably in recent centuries, onto the top of the Hag's Chair.

Remains of cup marks.

Various chalk balls were found here that fit into these hollows.

The metal grate where the capstone use to be.

View The Standing Stone in a larger map