Rucksack Foodie

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Loughcrew Megalithic Site…Amazing!

(A bit longer post than usual, but worth the read and definitely worth a visit if you wander to Ireland…. For you non-readers lots of pics and video at the end!)

I awoke yesterday morning to fog like none other I had seen and despite it was my second day of driving in Ireland, that even at noon roads could have spots of black ice (temps were only at 42 f) and that I had no map, I was going to explore Loughcrew Cairns.

Entrance after a steep climb to the area of Carin T at Loughcrew Megalithic site. An EXTREMELY foggy afternoon in Ireland.

Entrance after a steep climb to the area of Carin T at Loughcrew Megalithic site. An EXTREMELY foggy afternoon in Ireland.

There is probably no better place in the world to be near any solstice or equinox time of the year than in Meath County Ireland, where one can find at at least 61 Megalithic sites of mystery. One of my reasons for extending my stay in Ireland, especially in the Slane area was due to this weeks Winter Solstice. Near by Newgrange Megalithic Cairns site (along with it’s sister mounds at nearby Dowth and Knowth) is a reconstructed wonder, perfectly preserved and one of the most visited World UNESCO sites. Best known for the illumination of it’s passage and chamber by the Winter Solstice sun.

Newgrange Cairn near Slane Ireland. www.newgrange.com

Newgrange Cairn near Slane Ireland. http://www.newgrange.com

All along the Boyne River Valley one can find mysterious mounds; some marked with signs, some encircled by tall ancient trees, some with sheep roaming about (few i’m planning to explore over the next few weeks). One of the most overlooked and untouched sites is at Loughcrew. An Irish Heritage site, the country just doesn’t have the funds to maintain and refurbish the thousands upon thousands of designated heritage sites…..but in the case of Loughcrew that is a good thing!

In what feels like a remote and forgotten part of the county, you know your almost there when you feel lost. A lovely desk clerk Mary at the Headfort Arms turned me on to Loughcrew as a local site I could not miss. Directed to go past the site turn off road a few miles to Loughcrew Garden’s Coffee Shop to pick up the key to the gate, I finally made it through a thick blanket of fog missing I’m sure was the most beautiful country side road trip yet. Arriving at the shop Brona the barista was extremely friendly and informative. (more on Loughcrew Gardens and it’s amazing history later….)

Leaving a deposit for the key to the gate with wind up flashlight attached, and heading back to the road I began a steep drive up a one lane road to the parking area. Even though this site is the highest point in Meath County, the visibility was only about 50 yards at best and the sun was a bright fluffy ball in a sky full of fog.

Supposedly you can see for miles from this point but not today, only about 30 yards visibility

Supposedly you can see for miles from this point but not today, only about 30 yards visibility

The steep hillside had a defined 4″ rut along it’s self, dotted with an arrow every 150 yards or so, I knew I was getting close because I was feeling even a bit more lost and knew eventually through all this fog I’d find a peak!

This was just the first steep slope of a 15 minute walk to Cairn T at Loughcrew

This was just the first steep slope of a 15 minute walk to Cairn T at Loughcrew

Along the way up across the fence I could spot some of the other mounds at this site, with the occasional standing stone. There are at least 26 designated cairn sites at Loughcrew. Cairn T is the one open to explore.

Site T is the one I explored along with walking around the other nearby circles of stones and mounds.

Site T is the one I explored along with walking around the other nearby circles of stones and mounds.

Finally at the top, it was amazing. So quiet, so calm, the thick fog whisping by like a passing stranger, yet the sun trying its best to burn through to no avail.

Loughcrew

Loughcrew

Circle of stones at Loughcrew

Circle of stones at Loughcrew

Hag's Seat, possibly an ancient alter with its carvings weathered off there is still some early christian "graffiti", a cross carved in the seat. Associated with a story of a which who cursed the Naiper estate (more on that later...)

Hag’s Seat, possibly an ancient alter with its carvings weathered off there is still some early christian “graffiti”, a cross carved in the seat. Associated with a story of a which who cursed the Naiper estate (more on that later…)

This sketch of the Hags seat was drawn by Dutch artist du Noyer who in the 1860's recorded the many carvings at Loughcrew. Go check out The Sacred Island website for this image and so much more interesting facts on Loughcrew.

This sketch of the Hags seat was drawn by Dutch artist du Noyer who in the 1860’s recorded the many carvings at Loughcrew. Go check out The Sacred Island website for this image and so much more interesting facts on Loughcrew.

Entrance to Cairn T at Loughcrew

Entrance to Cairn T at Loughcrew

Entrance passage to Cairn T. Each stone was carved with circles and lines in patterns some associate with neighboring sites as well as astronomical possibilities. At dawn on the equinox the sun shines in succession along each stone to the center.

Entrance passage to Cairn T. Each stone was carved with circles and lines in patterns some associate with neighboring sites as well as astronomical possibilities. At dawn on the equinox the sun shines in succession along each stone to the center.

Truly amazing place.

Truly amazing place.

Despite your beliefs there is no doubting the enormous amount of work for a mysterious purpose that was meticulously laid out with mathematical precision in relation to the earth, the stars and the ancient people that roamed the hills and bogs of Ireland some 5000 years ago.

8 comments on “Loughcrew Megalithic Site…Amazing!

  1. Petra Haynes
    December 19, 2012

    Did you just feel awed being in such an ancient mysterious place? I could almost feel the cold dampness, and smell the moss and lichen covered old stones. Amazing!

    • Rucksack Foodie
      December 19, 2012

      It really was!!! Wish I had you all here to experience it with me!

  2. Pam Cresswell
    December 19, 2012

    The fog is not as nearly as scary as the thought of you driving over there!! Don’t the drive on the opposite side of the road as we do? We met Kenny and Chy in Labadie for lunch and went over to Labadie Station and the Market. Everyone said to say Hi!

    • Rucksack Foodie
      December 20, 2012

      Lol…thanks Mom! -_- (Sam taught me that emotioncon…lol) awe that’s great you all went to Labadie. I hear the shop looks really great!!

  3. Sally
    December 20, 2012

    The fog must have added to the atmosphere.
    What a fantastic journey. The early Christian graffiti is fascinating as you can see how pre Christian sites were appropriated for the “New” religion.
    Fabulous shots, keep it coming

  4. Pingback: Stoney Hills, Thatched Roofs and Peat Fires | Rucksack Foodie

  5. Anonymous
    August 25, 2015

    I live about 20 mile from this magical place, on a good day the hill of Tara, and many many more sites from antiquity can be seen, These magical beings that dwell here did and still do read the stars the earth the rivers and wells, they read the rhythm and the juxtaposition of the elements seen through feelings and this form of communication reveals paths that contain evolution.

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