"I lit three candles and stood awhile, to let my eyes accustom themselves to the dim light. There was everything, just as the last Bronze Age man (sic) had left it, three to four thousand years before. A light brownish dust covered all... There beads of stone, bone implements made from Red Deer antlers, and many fragments of much decayed pottery. On little raised recesses in the wall were flat stones, on which reposed the calcinated bones of young children."
These are the words of R.S. Macalister who in 1911 was the first person in thousands of years to enter the Neolithic tombs of Carrowkeel. Unfortunately Macalister and his team did great damage to these wonderful monuments, using dynamite and sledgehammers to enter the tombs rather than a careful excavation.
|Each of the peaks of this northern end of the Bricklieve Mountains features passage tombs|
|View from Cairn G with H & K in the background|
When the tombs were ‘investigated’ by Macalister and his team, each of the tombs were assigned a letter. We visited the easiest to access tombs, Cairns G, H and K. Each of the tombs was accessible, though please do take every precaution not to disturb or damage the tombs if you wish to enter.
|View out through the lightbox above the entrance of Cairn G|
|View along the passageway of Cairn K looking towards the entrance|
|Cairn K with its entrance facing out towards the North|
You’ll come to a small area you can leave your car where you will see there is a sign indicating you shouldn’t drive any further. Follow the advice of the sign and park up, walking along the track for around 1 – 2km. You’ll see Cairn G above you to the right, so leave the stony path and follow the rough track upwards through the bog towards it. Do mind your footing as the ground can be treacherous on a bad day. The weather day we visited was mixed but largely dry, even so the wind was really strong when we reached the top, so do take care and wear appropriate footwear.
|The burial chamber of Cairn K|
|The views over the landscape of County Sligo are just spectacular!|
|At Carrowkeel you can really see how the glacier carved out the landscape over 10,000 years ago|