I've been to the Complex three times now. On the whole the preservation of the area, and the way tourism here is carefully managed, seems understandable, bearing in mind that people live here and don't need their roads choked with cars. The Visitor Centre is also impressively unobtrusive.
I just can't help getting the urge, though, to stick two fingers up at the buses that you are strong-armed into using in order to get to Newgrange and Knowth. On all three visits I have wished I walked to the tombs instead and this has been the source of a couple of heated discussions with my partner.
I just can't stand feeling openly "managed" at such sites.
We were camping on a farm just outside Slane and had to head into Drogheda for supplies. There is no way that I could be this close to Dowth and not pay it a visit. I've been here many times, probably more than at any other site. Dowth offers the antiquarian explorer many delights, and not a few frustrations. There is a peace here, something that pulls you that's beyond thought. But don't be eager to get into its passages – you won't be able, Joe Public's not trusted to mind his own heritage (and with good reason).
The mound itself is getting more eroded where the gouge is, where worhshippers, visitors, hippies, whatever, have built concentric rings from the rubble of the tomb. Their play is not going to effect either of the passages or chambers, but the cairn has been exposed in a couple of places and, like sore teeth, will only get worse unless remedial work is carried out.
The height of Dowth is always impressive, especially when viewed from on top of its eastern arc, or from down where the sundial stone is, easily 15 metres from the base of the kerbstones to the rim of the crater, and would have been higher as both Beranger's and Wakeman's old drawings show a round-topped mound.
The tomb is in a pasture field, colonised by loud, hungry sheep. Summer vegetation is covering most of the carved kerbstones – neglect being the lot of Dowth, the poor relative of Brú na Bóinne. But sure what do you want? Another Newgrange or Knowth? Hardly, but a bit of respect wouldn't go amiss. Dowth, Dubhach, the dark place, best left alone (not really).