Information reviewed February 2022 & 2024
The climb to Loughcrew is very steep and visitors are asked to wear suitable footwear and to be careful. It is grazed pasture and can get muddy and slippery. Note Cairn T chamber is currently not open to the public because of safety issues.
Thanks to the OPW for this photo of Autumn Equinox sunrise 2019. In the 1980's Martin Brennan discovered that Cairn T receives light from the rising sun on the spring and autumnal equinox - a beam shining down the passageway and illuminating the rock art on the backstone.
Loughcrew near Oldcastle in Co. Meath, aka Sliabh na Cailleach, the Mountains of the Hag / Witch / Wisewoman / Crone.
- Standing in the Rath of the Synods on Tara, there is a gap, maybe an entrance way in the henge ridges and this faces the general direction of Loughcrew, which appears as low hills on the horizon.
- There is a myth / legend that the wind shared it's wisdom with the hag/witch/cailleach/feminine energy at Loughcrew and she flew from there to Tara to share it with the Ard Ri/chieftain/people.
There is a link between here and Teltown. It is said a hag lived here, she was queen of the Tailteans and the Tailtean games were played at Loughcrew. Several people of noble birth visited every year to join in these games.
Ollamh Follamh was a constant visitor at the Loughcrew hills and when he died his body was cremated and the remains were buried there. King Laoghaire also lived there and a neighbouring townland was called Drumlaoghaire in his honour. Duchas School's collection story.
A large complex of chambered cairns - many up to 5000 years old - spread across the hilltops of Carnbane East, Carnbane West, Carrickbrack and Patrickstown Hill. Carnbane is the anglicised version of Carn Bán which means white cairn.
My house is situated at the foot of "Sliabh na Callaigh" or Billy's Hill as it is called by the people. There is a cave on the top of the hill and also a huge heap of stones. King "Ollamh Fodla" and seven other kings were supposed to be buried under the cave. The stones are supposed to have been carried by a hag in her apron. There is a stone hags chair on the hill also. Many visitors come to see the hill every year. A few fields away from this hill there is a field called the "Forth Field" it got its name from a mound or forth that is in the field. The people believe that the "Bean-Shee" lives on this forth. Duchas Schools Collection
Cairn T, one of the largest tombs in the complex, is situated on Cairnbane East. Inside this tomb lies a cruciform chamber, a corbelled roof and some of the most beautiful examples of Neolithic art in Ireland. During the Vernal and Autumn Equinox people gather at dawn in Cairn T to watch sunlight enter the chamber and illuminate the inside of the tomb. OPW information on the site managed by them at Loughcrew. Click here for opening times and information for visiting the site.
Visitors today can sit on the Hags Chair at the cairn. Locals believe claims that if you make a wish while sitting on this kerb-stone the witch will grant it. I did sit on the Hags Chair and asked my wish and looking back now today I can tell you it was surely granted, in a way I never thought possible. Magic of the Land - Loughcrew - Bernadette Mac
There are no facilities or toilets at the Loughcrew Car Park. During the summer guides from the OPW are at the top to give tours and information.