I only had time to drop down to Knockroe once this year, for sunset on the 20th and I was almost rewarded for the journey. On an otherwise pretty cloudy day an area of cloudless sky was holding out where the sun was beginning to set.
I couldnt believe my luck as the rays of the sun began to fill the back of the chamber at Knockroe.
Unfortunately just as it was making its way into what would be perfect alignment (above the trees to the right of the farm buildings on the horizon according to the people assembled) a cloud came in to block it off.
What I did see certainly was worth the effort as it was a fabulous sight seeing the sun against the back stone lighing up some of the rock-art.
Hopefully for next year the chamber stone that is beginning to fall inwards will have been fixed as this seems to effect where the sun shines on the backstone causing a shadowing effect. I most certainly come back to see this again next year.
I dropped down to Knockroe for the winter solstice for 2 days running. However there was no sign of the sun for sunrise or sunset. On the 20th it was very quiet with very few around. I think there was maybe 2 in the morning and 3 or 4 in the evening. On the 21st it was much busier, maybe 10 in the morning and about 30 in the evening.
First 3 times it was nice but i think for the last sunset even if the sun had shone right you probably wouldnt have got much of an effect with so many people around.
The place still is in bad condition, some of the people down there reckon the sunset alignment isnt working as well because someone took away a support that kept the width of some of the stones set. So this is very disappointing.
One guy that had been down said that out of 7 years being there he had only seen the sunrise alignment twice. So that is the odds you have really. I think this year it worked pretty good at sunset on the 19th. I was on the way over to it but decided to go shopping in Clonmel instead!
As I said as well they now think that nearby Bawnfree Hill is aligned to the winter solstice sunset too. Im not too sure myself though.
What at first seems like a chaotic, rubble-strewn disaster, soon reveals itself to be an intriguing jigsaw puzzle of the remains of a passage grave mound. At the end of a farm track and fenced in by barbed wire, access is easy over the farm gate here. I met the former owner of the site (before it was taken over by the board of works) who told me that I had just missed Muiris O'Súillebháin, head of the school of Archaeology at UCD, who is still excavating the mound. In fact the farmer at first thought I was part of O'Súillebháin's entourage – how flattering, but I suppose it goes to show how little visited this place is.
I don't know too much about this place except what I've read on Megalithomania ( http://www.megalithomania.com/show/site/149 ), but I can say that's its passage grave art is a thrill to behold. Spirals, concentric circles and cup marks are found in abundance in the western passage. One of the southern kerbstones is clearly carved with what Eogan calls serpentiform and Brennan calls wavy lines. The kerbstones are all fairly large and most have collapsed, some back into the mound.
The quartz strewn forecourts are a bit of a puzzle as there is one on the southern side that doesn't denote the entrance to a passage but could have been a ceremonial area in itself. I've tried to find a plan of the site but have failed so far.
There is a well-looked-after old slate quarry south-east of here at Inchanaglogh (S416308). The cliffs over the Lingaun river, with vegetation clinging precariously, are amazing. There are various modern 'megalithic' sculptures around the site. Well worth a visit if you have the time before or after the passage grave.