Sligo Passage tombs
Passage tombs are a category of Megalithic monument form the Neolithic period.
The burials which took place in these passage tombs went accompanied by a limited range of objects. An example of this is Carrowkeel where long pins made from Antlers were found, but also pendants and pottery).
The human remains which were placed in the chamber were burnt or unburnt . Many of the passage tombs have solar alignment with the winter or summer solstice.
Carrowkeel is an amazing Neolithic hilltop passage tomb complex located in the Bricklieve mountains. The cairn complex was built around 3200 - 2400 B.C. and is one of the four main passage tomb cemeteries in Ireland.
It exists out of passage cairns which are identified with letters.
From the car park, you have a nice walk towards the highest point (Carrowkeel). Here you can visit the main cairns which are numbered G,H,K and L.
The first main cairn you pass from the carpark is cairn G. This is a classic Irish passage tomb, consisting of a short passage leading to a central chamber with three equally spaced side chambers. The most interesting feature of this tomb is the roofbox situated above the entrance. The only other known roofbox is the one at Newgrange, but unlike Newgrange this one is aligned to the midsummer sunset.
The next cairn up the hill is cairn H which is more ruined than cairn G. The following cairn is cairn K which has a 7 meter long passage which is orientated to Queen Maeve's cairn on top of Knocknarea.
Carrowmore Megalithic cemetary
Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery is the largest and one of the most important, megalithic sites in Europe. Over 60 tombs have been located by archaeologists. The oldest pre-dates Newgrange by 700 years and is older than the pyramids.
There are 60 recorded monuments of which 30 are visible, one of them being called boulder circles, though several have central dolmens or rudimentary passages. They are considered to be an early type of chambered cairn, or passage grave.
There is a visitor center with an exhibition relating to the site.
Opening times: 24th March - 02nd November 2022
Daily 10.00 - 18.00
Last admission at 17.00 hrs
Average length of visit: 1.5 hours
Heapstown is located on private land and can not be accessed. Heapstown is up until now unexcavated and is likely to have an unopened chamber. The original cairn was much larger , but a lot of stones have been removed over the years.
It is believed that the cairn is approx. 60m in diameter, a lot of the kerb stones are visible around most of the cairn