When we were in Ireland, one of the best things we did was take a tour with Extreme Ireland. We decided to give the Celtic tour a go, and visiting the Loughcrew Passage Tomb was one of my favorite things to see in Ireland.
Our tour bus took us to the base of a (hill?) mountain (because it felt like a mountain as I attempted to climb it) with the mound on the very top. I could tell right away this particular site was off the tourist path, because there wasn’t any sort of footpath carved into the hill, not even from wear. It was all green, and beautiful, and covered with grass and sheep poo (which is an important fact to note).
Going up is not so bad. In November, the wind in Ireland will cut through to your bones, but you won’t notice much because of the green everywhere. From the hill, you can see miles on a clear day.
At the top of the hill, “Cairn T”, one of the 30 or so passage tombs in the Loughcrew mountains sits. Back in the day, it was covered in white granite, which would make it visible for miles and miles. Today, most of the white stone is gone (you can see by looking down into the valley below where it went- the village).
Loughcrew is old. VERY old. 5,000-6,000 years old to be exact. It’s a Neolithic necropolis, a place for the people to bury their dead. The chamber is allied with the sun, so in the spring equinox comes, the light shines through the door, directly on the stone in the passage.
Our tour guide explained that it is called the hill of the witch, and is associated with many myths and legends about the dark mother goddess. He told us that people still visit Cairn T to leave gifts for her, and to sit on the Hag’s chair (according to legend, the witch would sit on this chair as her throne and look over her kingdom) which would bring us luck, and fertility.
I wish I could tell you more about it, but it’s just so old that almost everything “known” is from legends passed down generations, or speculated by archeologists.
You can go on a virtual tour of Loughcrew’s Cairn T and see for yourself how beautiful it is (totally worth a couple minutes detour, and show the kids if you’re studying ancient history!)
I was so thrilled to be able to go there, and stand in such an old and beautiful place. It blows my mind that people have been building monuments for thousands and thousands of years.
If you are local and are in Dublin- Extreme Ireland is the only company that heads to Loughcrew. On our way down the mountain, I enjoyed the view too much, slipped on the wet grass, and slid down the sheep poo covered hill. I may or may not have peed my pants. If you visit, wear good shoes.