Knocknarea is a 327m high limestone mountain near to the seaside resort of Strandhill in Co.Sligo.
At the summit is a large cairn which is believed to contain the remains of Queen Maeve who is meant to be burried upright with spear in hand in the neolithic passage tomb. The cairn is 55m wide by 10m high making it one of the largest cairns in Ireland.
The trail itself is strenuous, especially the latter part of the trail and the ground surface is rough.
Upon leaving the carpark, follow the stone trail for approx. 800m. This trail is easy enough to walk and gradually climbs as far as the "kissing gate".
Along the route , you pass a sign explaining the history behind the Neolithic ritual sites of Coolera. Once you pass through the gate, the trail becomes much steeper and you will soon notice that you have reached the most strenuous part of the trail. But it is also from here that the views towards Sligo become more and more spectacular.
Once you reach the summit, a wide path leads towards the tomb.
The flat and exposed summit of Knocknarea was a sacred place in Neolithic times (4000 - 2500 BC).
There are 9 remains of monuments on the summit. The earliest ones are the smaller passage tombs to the south of the large cairn which might have been constructed as early as 3600
At the northern end is a larger cruciform passage tomb which has a larger outer cairn. This tomb was probably built next followed by the large main cairn which was probably built around 3400BC.
If you don't like taking the same path back, you have the option of following the Queen Maeve knocknarea trail
Detailed Trail Map
Waymarking: Natural path
Length (km): 2.6km
Ascend (m): 200m
Start point grid reference: IG 163698, 333960
Finish point grid reference: G 163698, 333960
Ordnance survey map: OSI discovery series 16 and 25