Carrowkeel is an imposing and fascinating monument of prehistoric Ireland dating as far back as the Neolithic.
The location is what makes it- quite remote and isolated at the top of the Bricklieve Mountains with beautiful views of five counties from Cairn K, which is the highest point of the complex. It’s quite easy to fall in love with this spot!
Of the four passage tomb cemeteries in Ireland this one is our personal favourite. The other megalithic tombs are at - Bru Na Boinne (with the best known tomb at Newgrange), Lough Crew, and Carrowmore.
Keep in mind that the photos on this page were taken on a dreary winters day, but they will give you an impression of the structure of the landscape and its' rugged beauty.
Cairn with roofbox
Inside one of the cairns
Find out about sister sites at Newgrange and Carrowmore.
Find out tourist information about Carrowkeel here.
Find out more about neolithic Ireland.
Remains of an Irish stone age village on the plateau below
Not a lot is known about prehistoric Ireland as far back as the Irish Stone Age. Most artefacts won’t survive for that length of time.
What we know is that the culture who built the tombs was settled. They probably lived on the plateau below which houses the remains of a Stone Age village. They were Neolithic farmers. Most likely, they worshipped the earth as the bringer of life.
There was a botched excavation here in 1911 by Macalister which left some of the cairns in ruins. It turned up some finds of Bronze Age pottery as well as bone deposits indicating that the complex was used for a long time.
This coincides with recent (2004) carbon dating of the Stone Age village below, which found there was activity on the site during the Neolithic into the Bronze Age.
How exactly the tombs were built we don’t know. Some of the rocks were transported over long distances. Was it a community effort? Was there a religious class who enforced the building of these monuments? Was there coercion involved? We are left with many questions about prehistoric Ireland.
We hope you enjoyed this article on one of County Sligo's sites of ancient Ireland.
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Thanks a million and warmest regards from Irelandfrom Susanna and Colm.
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Copyright 2014 by Colm Sweeney and Susanna Lambeck www.enjoy-irish-culture.com