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Heapstown Cairn
 

County

Sligo

Coordinates

N 54° 05' 42.0"   W 008° 20' 54.78"

Nearest town

Ballymote

Grid Ref.

G 77200 16268

Map No.

25

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

76

Date of visit

Wednesday 14 June 2017

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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A photo taken while I was approaching the cairn from the west.


At last, I would dare to say!
I was able to reach, visit and climb on the Heapstown Cairn!
We had been in the area before, but for some reasons we were never able to get close to it.
The impressive cairn is in a private field with a stile in the wall 200 metres south of the cairn.
Reaching the monument involves a walk across the field. The cairn looks big from the road, but it is absolutely massive from a close distance.
It was built around 3000 BC, it's about 60 metres in diameter and 8 metres high, but a drawing from 1837, 180 years ago, shows a much larger and higher mound of stones, with a standing stone on top of it. The mound was extensively plundered for road and walls building in the 19th century, when historic sensitivity was close to null. The standing stone is gone too.
Despite the damage done in the past, this cairn is still the largest one in Ireland and is not too far from the group of cairns of Carrowkeel.
The cairn has a kerb all around its circumference, but due to the high grass during my visit it was little visible. According to the legend this cairn covers the burial site of Ailill mac Echach Mugmedóin, brother of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the Irish king whose reign dates around 5th century, but it has never been excavated.
Climbing to the top was very exciting!


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