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Heritage Ireland

Loughcrew Cairns Highlights (4)

  1. Climb the Cairns

    Climb the Cairns

    The Loughcrew cairns, a complex of 5,000-year-old passage tombs, are some of the country’s oldest monuments. They have dominated the landscape south of Oldcastle for thousands of years and can be seen from a great distance. Cairn T, on Carnbane East, is the best known and the most visited.

    The climb to the top of Carnbane East is not an easy one but it only takes about 15 minutes, even if you stop and admire the view as you go up. Take your time as you ascend, and remember that you are walking in the footsteps of those who have climbed these hills over thousands of years.

  2. Listen to a Guide

    Listen to a Guide

    When you get to the top of the hill, accept the invitation to join a guided tour. Listen as your guide tells you how we know what we know about these mysterious places. Explore archaeology, mythology and art and hear some of the stories people have told about these monuments in an attempt to understand the people who built them.

    For example, legend has it that a hag or witch formed the cairns when she jumped from one hill to the next, dropping stones from her apron. In the attempt to get to the last hill, she fell and died. The story says that she is buried where she fell, on the slopes of Patrickstown Hill.

  3. Peer into Prehistory

    Peer into Prehistory

    Peer inside a passage tomb and you will be peering into prehistory. Look out for the carved stones in the passage. What would it be like to be present on this hill as the sun rises at the equinox and lights up the interior? Imagine what ceremonies took place on this spot all those years ago.

  4. Enjoy the View

    Enjoy the View

    As you ponder the past, don’t forget to look around at the wonderful views. They say you can see 18 counties from the top of this hill. When you leave to go back down, your body might be tired from the climb, but your head will be full of stories. You are sure to remember this experience for a very long time.

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