The IrishCentral vacation travel guide to mystical, mythological Ireland
Maeve’s choice to be buried on Knocknarea speaks volumes of its importance in Irish mythological history.
Carrowkeel, which lies atop the Bricklieve Mountains, is a collection of some of the most mysterious mounds in all Ireland. It is a lesser-known ancient site than Carrowmore, but is equally significant in Ireland’s mythical past and has one of the most beautiful locations of any megalithic site. Carrowkeel is the fourth major passage tomb cemetery in Ireland (the others being Newgrange, Loughcrew and Carrowmore).
Today, 14 passage tombs can be seen at Carrowkeel. One of the tombs is a “classic” Irish passage tomb – one that consists of a short passage you can crawl through, which leads to a central chamber with three equally spaced side chambers. What’s unique about the tomb is the roofbox above the entrance. The only other known roofbox exists at Newgrange, but while Newgrange is aligned to the Winter solstice, the Carrowkeel roofbox is aligned to the midsummer sunset, signaling two different types of rituals that must have taken place in the locations.
Both Carrowmore and Carrowkeel are very accessible from main roads in South Sligo.
Stop 7: The Rock of Cashel Cashel, Co. Tipperary
Legend has it that the Devil took a bit out of a side of a mountain in North Tipperary – now known as the Devil’s Bit – and then spat out a rock, which landed at Cashel. That rock is now known as the Rock of Cashel.
Numerous buildings are perched on the site, the majority of which date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, and today hold some of the most extraordinary collections of Celtic art in Europe.
The Rock of Cashel is also known as St. Patrick’s Rock, because Cashel is the presumed site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.
The site has as small admission fee, and guided tours are available upon request.