Loughcrew Megalithic Cairns
Loughcrew Cairn T on Carnbane East
Clusters of Megalithic Cairns are dotted around the Slieve na Caillaigh hills at Loughcrew, the main
concentrations are on Carnbane East
where Cairn T is the centrepiece and
where Cairn L is located.
The illumination of the passage and chamber at the Winter
sunrise in Newgrange is world famous. Less well known is the
at sunrise in Cairn T at Loughcrew. The backstone of the chamber is illuminated by
a beam of light at sunrise on the Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes.
The sun light is shaped by the stones of the entrance and passage and descends the backstone while moving
from left to the right illuminating the solar symbols.
Visitors are welcome to walk up Carnbane East to Cairn T, a ten minute walk up a grassy hill from
a small car park. During the summer months there is a guide at Cairn T, at other times Cairn
T is locked, so to get inside collect the key at the nearby
At Cairn L
on Carnbane West the sunrise at Samhain (early November)
and Imbolc (early February) illuminates the passage and chamber, lighting up the limestone
standing stone in the cairn. The owner of the land where Cairn L is located does not
allow public access to the site.
Equinox Stone - Loughcrew Cairn T
Cairn T or Hag's Cairn is of similar design to Newgrange. Traditionally described as a Passage
Tomb, the wonderfully decorated backstone shows that the Cairn has a clear astronomical purpose.
A beam of light from the rising sun around the time of the March and September
equinoxes is mapped on the backstone of the Cairn. The event lasts for 50
minutes and was captured on video on the morning of March 23rd 2005, view a time
lapse version of the Equinox Video
(compressed form 50
minutes to 1:46).
The interior of Cairn L
A freestanding limestone monolith or menhir is positioned inside the chamber (on the left of the image).
discovered that the
six foot high monolith is a marker for the cross-quarter days Samhain (early November)
and Imbolc (early February), when the sun illuminates the stone
Standing Stone in Loughcrew Cairn L
Video of Loughcrew
Artwork by Helen Gavigan, inspired by the cairns and engravings at Loughcrew.
Loughcrew Megalithic Centre
Loughcrew Cairns as described in Vale of the Boyne and Royal Meath published in 1898 for the Great Northern Railway Company.
Family Run Megalithic Centre with coffee shop and original thatched house located near the car park
for stone age Cairns at Loughcrew. Hostel accommodation, camping facilities and heritage tours of Loughcrew Cairns available.
Boyne Valley Private Day Tours
Pick up and return to your accommodation or cruise ship. Suggested day tour:
Newgrange World Heritage site, 10th century High Crosses at Monasterboice,
Hill of Tara the seat of the High Kings of Ireland and the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick let a Paschal fire in 433