The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

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thelonious

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Browne's Hill (Portal Tomb) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Browne's Hill</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Browne's Hill</b>Posted by thelonious

Browne's Hill (Portal Tomb) — Fieldnotes

31/08/2019 – The amount of quality sites in Ireland is a little overwhelming. Planning our trip was hard and I just didn’t know where to begin. In the end we said pick 3 sites for the week. That would be a good start. First pick – Drombeg, easy start, this was a must for me as it was an Irish recumbent. Next up was Maeve's Cairn, an upland cairn of unbelievable size. Last pick was no problem too - Brownshill Dolmen. I just had to see that capstone. 3 picks done, now to plan the trip. I had no clue where the sites where in relation to each other. Turned out a little tricky as they where in 3 different parts of the country. After a little think, we decided to go for it. More travelling than I’d have liked but least we’d see a good bit of countryside.

It had been a great holiday so far. Maeve's Cairn was amazing, Drombeg was as good as I’d hoped. Today was our last full day in Ireland. Tomorrow we’d be back in Aberdeenshire. Early train from Cork to Dublin then a train back to Carlow. Got there about 11 o’clock. It’s a walk of just over 2 miles to the dolmen. Mostly pavement but the last section for about 400 metres is just along a narrow verge and the road is a little busy at times. Not brilliant but it’s short.

Reaching the carpark, there were just a few cars there. We walked down the track to the site. Great access. Brownshill Dolmen can be seen across the field but it’s only when you get up close does the size hit you. The capstone is just a monster. We had a sit on the bench there as folk came and went. Great to watch expressions as folk came face to face with the dolmen. Everyone looked pretty amazed and so they should. The site is a proper head shaker, how the hell did they lift that size!!? We got the place to ourselves soon enough and I had a walk round the dolmen. I loved the back of the capstone. So rounded and huge, very huge, like huge plus 1. I didn’t go under the stone. You can easily but the weight above! The weather was just lovely, blue skies and white fluffy clouds gave a perfect backdrop to the stones.

This was the last of the sites on our trip to Ireland and what a visit to finish on. This big friendly monster just made me smile. Hard to leave to make the walk back to Carlow to catch the train to Dublin.

I remember commenting that I had to visit here on a ryaner photo earlier this year . He replied saying it should be compulsory, he’s not wrong.

Drombeg (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Drombeg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Drombeg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Drombeg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Drombeg</b>Posted by thelonious

Drombeg (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

29/08/2019 – Morning bus from Cork to Rosscarbery. Takes about an hour and a half. It’s a fine way to see the countryside. Rosscarbery is a nice town, good shop and pub. Plenty of buses back, every couple of hours.

From Rosscarbery we walked west along the quiet country roads towards Drombeg. A walk of just over 3 miles. It seemed to pass pretty quick. The excitement built with each passing mile. Drombeg had been a long time in coming. For the last few years we had often talked about making the trip to Ireland and each time it was always Drombeg that was top of the list. Living in the north east of Scotland, the land of the RSC and to make the journey to see a recumbent stone circle so far away in the south west of Ireland was beyond exciting. In a week of many adventures, this was the big one.

Passing the good sized car park, we walked the short track to where the stones lived. First sight, I was a little surprised. Though not the largest of circles, it was still bigger than I’d imagined. The stones looked so solid. A few people were there already so we gave them space and walked on to the hut circle. There’s a fine rocky bit behind, which we headed for. A great vantage point to sit and take in the scene. Though not busy with people, it was steady. We decided to have our lunch first before finally making it down towards the circle. We sat, looking down and across the hut circle to the stone circle, it was a great way to take in the location. Interestingly folk were giving, consciously or unconsciously, other groups time in the circle to themselves which was lovely.

I’m not sure how long we had sat, eating, chatting, daydreaming away but I noticed that everyone had drifted back to their cars and the place had gone quiet. We got up and strolled the short distance to finally touch the stones. We had made it to Drombeg. A happy moment.

I was keen to see if it felt like a RSC. It did, it really did. The recumbent is lovely and the placement of the stones and shapes were just great. I was pretty blown away. Maybe it was because this was the sole focal point of the day. There are plenty of other sites in the wider area but today it was just Drombeg for us and I liked it for that.

Circling the circle, close to the stones first then on a wider arc. Dark greys turned to light as the sun broke through the clouds. Just for a short time but it was enough. The circle seemed to come alive. We had been there a couple of hours by now. Time to go. Why do stones always look their best when you have to leave? Are they giving you something to remember or just trying to make you stay a little longer. Just a few more minutes... and then we would go.

Seemed longer returning to Rosscarbery to catch the bus back to Cork. What a day, what a circle!

Carrowkeel - Cairn G (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Carrowkeel - Cairn G</b>Posted by thelonious

Carrowkeel - Cairn H (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Carrowkeel - Cairn H</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Carrowkeel - Cairn H</b>Posted by thelonious

Carrowkeel - Cairn K (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Carrowkeel - Cairn K</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Carrowkeel - Cairn K</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Carrowkeel - Cairn K</b>Posted by thelonious

Carrowkeel - Cairn L (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Carrowkeel - Cairn L</b>Posted by thelonious

Carrowkeel-Keshcorran Complex — Images

<b>Carrowkeel-Keshcorran Complex</b>Posted by thelonious

Carrowkeel-Keshcorran Complex — Fieldnotes

27/08/2019 – I really wanted to get to Carrowkeel. Looks like it had everything. Quality cairns, high on a hillside in a top location. After seeing rayner’s sunset photos on here a few months back I knew I had to visit.

It was our last day in Sligo so it felt a bit now or never. Unfortunately the weather forecast was grim. We toyed with not going but we’d have got wet anywhere today. Might as well be on a hill with great cairns.

I worried that without a car this one might be tricky to get to. Turned out fine. It’s close to the main road from Sligo to Dublin so there’s a good bus. We caught the 8.00 from Sligo bus station to Castlebaldwin. Didn’t take long and we were walking by 8.30. There’s buses back from here in the afternoon every couple of hours so there was no need to rush. Nice to not have to treat the day like a raid. Worth mentioning the petrol station in Castlebaldwin has a great cafe/shop so ideal for waiting for any bus back to Sligo.

It’s a 3 mile walk from Castlebaldwin to Carrowkeel. Very quiet country roads and more enjoyable than I thought it would be. The rain was pretty terrible. Fell for most of the day. The worst weather day I’ve had out for many a year. No wind which helped and we did stay quite cheery powered up by chocolate and Tayto crisps (I love Taytos, very hard to find in Scotland).

The final approach is a gentle incline up an ever decreasing quality of road. You can drive up to the top. I’d love to know if any TMAers have braved it? There's a newish carpark at the bottom. Much better to start here as the walk up is nice and your car will thank you for it. The landscape here is wonderful and my favourite on our trip. The road takes you between steep limestone ridges. Huge cairns could be seen on the tops through the mist and rain. The road bends back left and then up and around to near the top. From here it’s a short climb to the first of the cairns.

Cairn G – Not the most exciting of names but it’s good, very good. As we approached, it appeared from out of the mist to greet us. The excitement upon seeing the entrance for the first time, nearly too much. We had stepped into a megalithic wonderland. Suddenly the crap weather was working for us and the rain and low clouds created a vibe to the place that was amazing. A feeling of quiet wild loneliness, just us and the cairns on the hillside. Like we had entered a different world. Rucksacks off and a quick shimmy through the entrance, we entered the short passage and then the chamber. Standing up in the high roofed centre, a relief to be away from the rain. Dark but with no need of our headtorches, peacefully away from the outside world, what a contrast! Great chamber and recesses. Loved the orthostats.

Cairn K – After leaving cairn G and having a look at cairn H, we made our way to the high point of the hill and Cairn K. The passage is longer on this one. A bit of a hands and knees job. The cruciform chamber just wow. Great corbelled ceiling. A few cracked lintels so best not to climb the outside.

The rain stopped for a short while so we plonked ourselves down next to K to have our sandwiches. What a place. No views but because of the mist it felt like this cairn filled landscape could have gone on forever. The rain came back hard and though I’d have loved to have explored the hillside more, it felt best to leave it for another time. I was so happy with the day so far, more wasn’t really needed.

We walked back to Castlebaldwin and the bus, very wet but very happy. A great day out and one of my favourite megalithic days ever I think.

Tomb 54 (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Tomb 54</b>Posted by thelonious

Listoghil - Tomb 51 (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Listoghil - Tomb 51</b>Posted by thelonious

Tombs 56 + 57 (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Tombs 56 + 57</b>Posted by thelonious

Tomb 5 (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Tomb 5</b>Posted by thelonious

Carrowmore Complex — Fieldnotes

26/08/2019 – It was afternoon by the time we reached Carrowmore. I was tired. We had made the journey over Knocknarea and then walked the quiet roads to here. It was a welcome sight to see a coffee shop/van next to the visitors centre with a few outside tables and chairs. I needed a rest and a coffee (plus iced dough ring). Then with my power up, it was time to enter Carrowmore.

There’s a nice few info rooms to walk through and you can get a map (and an audio guide if you want) to the site. The rain had started to fall now but nothing too bad. We made a slow walk round the grassy fields, tomb after tomb. The place is jampacked with them. Each with their own little character. You don’t get access to them all but the walk takes you past a good enough number. I think I read that 65 tomb monuments were noted in the 1800's but only about 30 survive today. The earliest dating from around 3700 BCE. No access to Site 7 at the moment which is a shame but you can still view it from afar. Site 51 is a bit mad. Great tomb hiding in a reconstruction cairn held in place with lots of wire. I wasn’t that keen but Mrs T liked it.

I can’t remember how many tombs the walk takes you on, both sides of the road, maybe around the 15 mark. I liked the little ones the best like site 54.

It was a great afternoon spent there and it really is a must see place.

We left to make the slow walk back to Sligo. The roads are OK-ish to walk. A few fast cars, fat trucks and big tractors but nothing too bad, we survived to tell the tale.

Knocknarea (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Knocknarea</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Knocknarea</b>Posted by thelonious

Knocknarea (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

26/08/2019 – I was pretty excited waking up. Today the plan was a visit to Knocknarea then on to Carrowmore megalithic cemetery. They looked on TMA to be two wow sites. It was misty yesterday so I was a bit worried about the hill having its cloudy hat on again today. A quick peek through the curtains and I was happily greeted by the morning sun. It was a good start.

There’s a good bus service from Sligo to Strandhill (S2 - every hour). A 20 minute journey took us to just north of the big hill along the coast at Mannionstown (Brees Pub). From here there is a great signposted walk up Knocknarea. It’s not a huge gain, maybe around 300 metres. The hill looks pretty great from this side, very steep. The track was good. There is a section of walkway that was hard going but we took our time. It wasn’t a day for rushing. The top of Knocknarea is quite flat but you still have to get close before you see the cairn and then there it is! What can I say about Maeve's cairn, it’s big, very big. It must be a good 10 metres in height. Standing next to it, the cairn just seems to grow. Stone upon stone, taller and wider. Close up my vision was just one of cairn and nothing else. It’s just fantastic.

We circled it once and then walked a little way north to the ruined cairn there. It was easier to take in from here and also the surrounding view which is very good. Luckily it was very quiet on the hill today. It’s a fine place to sit with your sandwiches and a brew and just look out to sea and along the coast. I could have stayed all day.

I liked the stones in the big cairn. There’s a lot of fossils in them, coral maybe, just guessing. Worth mentioning also that there are a lot of signs round the cairn and also on the way up asking folk not to climb the cairn. Seems a reasonable request considering how many people climb Knocknarea each year.

After one last goodbye to big Maeve and a look at the stones to the south we headed down SE towards the carpark on what looks like the main route up. It’s not as steep as the north side. Near the bottom you can loop back round the hill to the start again but we carried on, walking down the quiet roads to our next destination - Carrowmore megalithic cemetery.

Slieve Dargan (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Slieve Dargan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Slieve Dargan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Slieve Dargan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Slieve Dargan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Slieve Dargan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Slieve Dargan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Slieve Dargan</b>Posted by thelonious

Slieve Dargan (Passage Grave) — Fieldnotes

25/08/2019 – First full day in Sligo. What to do, what to do? We are on public transport all week so a bit restricted. Buses don’t get going until late morning on Sunday but there’s an early-ish train so we decided to go for that. Looking for a combination of hills and prehistory we picked for our first day a trip to Slieve Daeane.

Short train ride (09:05 from Sligo) to Collooney. We headed along the Sligo Way north east through Union Wood (nice area) to Ballydawley then using the forest tracks past the stone row we climbed to the high point of the Sligo Way just south of the top. Leaving the track we made the short but steepish climb to the top of Slieve Daeane. There’s a decent sized cairn at the summit with a trigpoint on top. I bet the views from here are great on a good day. It wasn’t that day today. The cloud base was low. We sat next to the cairn, eating our butties, looking into not much of nothing. Good vibe to the place though.

Next we made our way west to the cairn on top of Slieve Dargan about 800 metres away. The straight line distance is short but the cloud made things a bit tricky plus there’s a good down and up between the two tops, very steep, grassy slopes. The cairn on Slieve Dargan has a good sized footprint but it’s pretty trashed. It’s listed as a passage tomb but I couldn’t see any internal structure.

Downhill and another 300 metres to the west is Cailleach a Vera’s House, a passage tomb on the last of the rises. The cloud had lifted by now so the view past the cairn to the landscape beyond was impressive as we made the approach. This is the pick of the three cairns we visited today. Visible passage and chamber which you can look down into. Really taken with this one and the location is excellent. Well worth a walk up.

From here it’s only about 350 metres back to the Sligo Way path. The terrain is rough and a bit wet but nothing really to put you off.

Meeting up again with the path, it was back west to Collooney to catch the train back to Sligo. A really nice day out.

Slieve Dargan (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Slieve Dargan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Slieve Dargan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Slieve Dargan</b>Posted by thelonious

Slieve Daeane (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Slieve Daeane</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Slieve Daeane</b>Posted by thelonious

Ballydawley (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

<b>Ballydawley</b>Posted by thelonious

Abbeyquarter North (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Abbeyquarter North</b>Posted by thelonious

Mither Tap (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Mither Tap</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Mither Tap</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Mither Tap</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Mither Tap</b>Posted by thelonious

Carriblair (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Carriblair</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Carriblair</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Carriblair</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Carriblair</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Carriblair</b>Posted by thelonious

Carriblair (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

25/05/2019 - Tricky site this one. Not to get to though. It's next to the road and parking is easy. The gorse and stuff has been cut right back so the site is looking pretty good nowadays.

Why tricky? Well, because I don't really know what it is. After reading Canmore I'm still not sure. I've added it as a stone circle (looks like one to me) but if anyone thinks different please say and I'll change it. Other contenders are cairn, cairn circle or even a henge.

There's a cist in the middle of a grassed over cairn with good size boulders surrounding this (only the north side remains of the circle) and there seems to be a bank and ditch outside this as well. A lot going on.

To the SW is the big standing stone Clach Biorach. Was this an outlier to the circle? It is a very different stone to the ones used in the circle.

Interesting place and our last site of a great trip up north. A good way to finish.
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