Dowth Passage Tomb




N 53° 42' 13.8"   W 006° 27' 02.0"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

O 02378 73780

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Wednesday 28 May 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

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Approaching the mound from the north-northwest.

Of the passage tombs in the Brú na Bóinne, Dowth is the less known and the less explorated, though it has nothing less in respect of the others.
It's a large earth mound with a diameter of about 85 metres and a height of 13.50 metres, surrounded by 115 large kerb stones, some of them beautifully decorated, and has two passages for two different burial chambers.
The first chamber is at southwest (220°), it has a short passage, only 3.30 metres long, that leads to an almost circular chamber with one recess to the right.
The second chamber is at west-southwest (240°), it has a 8.20 metres long passage which leads to a a chamber with three side recesses set in a cruciform shape, like at Fourknocks, Newgrange and <>Cairn T<> at Loughcrew. From the southernmost of these three chambers another short passage departs to two more chambers.
The site was excavated in 1847 starting from the top of the mound. The scholars were probably looking for a central chamber which they didn't find. This quarrying left a large crater in the mound.
The name Dowth comes from the Irish "Dhubadh", which means "Darkness". The legend has it that the King ordered all men of Ireland to build a tower that would reach the heavens (this reminds me of the Tower of Babel). The King's sister secretly stopped the Sun in the sky so that the day would never end, but soon the men of Ireland found out that they had been tricked. The spell was broken when the King and his sister slept together, the darkness fell over the place and the men abandoned the work. From that day on the site has the name of Darkness, Dhubadh, Dowth.

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