The Carrowmore Circles.
County Sligo is home to the largest and oldest collection of stone circles and dolmens known from neolithic Ireland. These are found at Carrowmore, a collection of burial monuments at the center of the Coolrea peninsula.
It was cool, overcast and drizzling when we arrived but as you all know by now. I have never minded the rain so we simply took off to stroll across the grounds, collecting raindrops on our faces to visit these ancient ruins.
New information from DNA suggests that the monuments were built and used by people who came by sea from France around 6,000 years ago.
These voyagers brought the first cattle to Ireland, and existed by herding their cattle through the forested landscape. It seems that they also re-introduced the red deer to Ireland, the native species having become extinct after the ice age.
The type of monuments found at Carrowmore are boulder circles with central dolmens and sometimes rudimentary passages. Dolmen: a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more vertical megaliths supporting a large flat horizontal capstone or “table”.
They are among the earliest megalithic of chambers built in Ireland; dates from carbon dated red deer antlers, show that the chambers were used between 5,800 and 5,000 years ago. Originally each of the sites had a raised platform which was up to a meter above the surrounding ground level, sometimes with one or more inner circles of smaller stones.
Carrowmore 7, the Kissing Stone, is the most intact example remaining today. It consists of a circle of boulders about 11 meters in diameter, and has a beautifully graceful dolmen, or stone table at the centre.
Queen Medb’s ( Maeve) Cairn
The weather being overcast with light rain, you can barely see Queen Medb’s Cairn, shrouded in the cloud atop the mountain of Knocknarea.
I thought I’d cover Sligo and Galway in a single post but alas, Galway deserves a post all it’s own but I’ll cover some sights on the road between. Traveling between Sligo and Galway….
We stopped on the way to learn about weaving.
Onward to Galway…..stay tuned!