I went up here not knowing why I wanted to go to fourknocks. As luck would have it the Skerries Historical society had a woman doing a talk on the Landscape of the FourKnocks Valley. She had done her dissertation on Fourknocks so it was great interest I followed their tour. She (Brid) talked about fourknocks one and the barrow cemetery and their relationship with the three henges in the area. She took us to see two of them.
I also got to see the amazing art inside fourknocks and she also reckons that fourknocks is aligned to the sunrise on the 21st Dec but all it does is light up the chamber. There were about 20 people in the chamber so it was difficult to get photos but Ill definitely head back for another look and get the key myself.
Also she noted that you should never put chalk on stone carvings that it corodes them. Dont know how true this is but its something to note for photographers.
She even had a hand-out and it has a great quote about its discovery.
"And it all started whe a lady visitor to Newgrange remarked - 'But there are mounds like this on my uncle's farm near The Naul'" (Excerpt from the National Muesum top files on Fourknocks)
This is a very odd site. When I was last here (winter 2000) it was the most completely off the beaten track, non-touristy place you could find, and yet the central chamber of the passage tomb is larger than Newgrange! The rock art too is of a standard that could hold its own against the best Brugh na Boinne could offer (especially the weirdly anthropomorphic 'hag stone', is-it-or-isn't-it a portrait of the grinning winter death goddess?). It's up to your imagination really! The main downside is that the caved in roof has been repaired in 'concrete pillbox bunker style' instead of trying to replace the original corbelling. The effect of so much brutally modern building material in such an ancient place makes you wonder if it couldn't have been done with a bit more sensitivity.
Things might have changed since last time, but you definitely needed a torch as there is no lighting inside. Also as it is usually locked you have to get the key from a local guy called Mr White (if you follow the instructions to his house on the notice you drive down this little side road, it seems to go on for miles and you think you must have gone past his house, but don't give up! His house has a big plaque with 'White' set into the garden wall. I think it's a tenner deposit for the key.) Anyway, if you like the idea of having an entire neolithic passage tomb to yourself, this is the place, especially in the evenings or out of season.
A study by Murphy and Moore (The Cygnus Enigma using the Sky-globe to observed ancient star alignments) saw that in 3000BC, the " window" created by the mounds entrace chamber would have aligned to the star Deneb in the constellation Cygnus;
"On the night of the midwinter solstice, Deneb marks the location of the sun from the time the sun sets until the time the sun rises plus or minus the time it takes for Deneb to come out into the darkening sky. So observers at either mound (Fourknocks or Newgrange) could track the position of the sun below the horizon using Deneb as their guide"
This mound was excavated and they found a number of cremations and a central passage but no chamber. One of the stones in it was meant to have been decorated. I think again with chevrons but im not 100%. Beside the mound there is another National Monuments sign and this is actually the spoil heap from the excavations of Fourknocks I and II.