Loughcrew Cairns, County Meath
In a landscape of inspiring beauty and intriguing history, the cairns at Loughcrew form the largest complex of passage graves in Ireland. The Cairns are megalithic structures originally built about 4000 bc as burial chambers. The cairns are in two groups; Carnbane West, about 15 cairns, including Cairn L which is roofed and contains superb symbolic carvings in good condition. This group is some 2km walk from the Car Park on gently sloping ground. Carnbane East includes Cairn T, also roofed and with excellent engravings, and is a shorter but steeper walk.The climb to Cairn T is very steep and visitors are asked to wear suitable footwear and to be careful. There is no access for visitors in wheelchairs.
Loughcrew is rich in historical, archaeological, religious and natural interest. One of ancient Ireland's major roads passes through Loughcrew, crossing the great Road of the Chariots nearby. The lakes abound with cranógs and the drumlins are topped with innumerable motte and bailey forts. The Loughcrew Cairns are perhaps the oldest calendar known, and may even be the world's oldest existing dwellings.
The illumination of the passage and chamber at the winter solstice sunrise in Newgrange is world famous. Less well known is the Equinox illumination at sunrise in Cairn T at Loughcrew. The backstone of the chamber is illuminated by a beam of light at sunrise on the spring and Autumnal Equinoxes. The sun light is shaped by the stones of the entrance and passage and descends the backstone while moving from left to the right illuminating the solar symbols.
Take a walk through Loughcrew Gardens and you will walk through centuries of garden and landscape fantasy. The central area of approximately six acres includes a lime avenue, extensive lawns and terraces, magnificent herbaceous border and physic border. Within the gardens stand a medieval mote and St. Oliver Plunkett's family church and Tower House. A host of enchanting features are displayed in a setting steeped in atmosphere and history.
Car and coach park, toilets, tearoom, book and gift shop, photographic display and education area. Wheelchair access in the Centre (and Gardens) is excellent. There is also wi-fi available in the Coffee Shop.
Add to Custom Tour
Create your very own Ireland tour with our Tailor Made Tours section. Once you've created an account and logged in, you can add your favourite attractions, accommodation and activities. And, when you're happy with your choices, just send them on to one of our Ireland experts and we'll design a custom itinerary and quote tailored just for you.
Tour Northern Ireland Self-Drive Tour 8 Days
Discover the best of the north and Titanic's heritage.
Starting from $978 pps
Best of Ireland South Chauffeur Drive Tour 15 Days
Traverse the south in style.
Starting from $5,709 pps
A Touch of Northern Ireland Self-Drive Tour 8 Days
The best of the north from the Causeway Coast to Donegal.
Starting from $1,002 pps
Best of Ireland South Self-Drive Tour
Take in Ireland's south at your own pace.
Starting from $1,632 pps
Ancient Ireland Chauffeur Drive Tour 11 Days
The essential Ancient Ireland Tour with your very own guide.
Starting from $4,213 pps
Best of Ireland Self-Drive Tour 11 Days
The very best of Ireland in just under two weeks.
Starting from $1,185 pps
Best of Ireland Chauffeur-Drive Tour 11 Days
Best of Ireland with driver/guide.
Starting from $4,050 pps
Dublin City Tour Self-Drive 4/5 Day
An action packed journey through Dublin's Fair City.
Starting from $760 pps
Ancient Ireland Self-Drive Tour 11 Days
Jump back in time and walk in ancient footsteps.
Starting from $1,207 pps
Tour Northern Ireland Chauffeur-Drive Tour 8 Days
Explore Ireland's north in style.
Starting from $2,995 pps