Cruachain - Rath Cruachan Mound Ring Fort




N 53° 48' 08.4"   W 008° 18' 15.06"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

M 79962 83687

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Friday 26 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The mound as it appears when approaching from the car park on the N5.

Cruachain, or Cruachan, is one of the most important ancient sites cited in Irish literature and history. It was a place of assembly and the burial ground for many Irish kings. It was also used as a site for ritual gatherings and ceremonies and probably it was also the residence for some of the kings. Cruachain is a large area of about 10 square kilometres and includes 19 enclosures, 27 burial mounds, pillar stones and standing stones and some other earthworks. Some of them are still clearly visible in the landscape, others have been flattened or erased by the human activities over the centuries and can be detected only by an aerial inspection.
Cruachain appears in the Irish mythology as the seat of Ailill and Medb, respectively king and queen of Connacht in the Ulster Cycle. The site is the setting for the opening of the famous legendary tale of the Táin Bó Cúailnge.

Rathcroghan Mound is the focal point of the whole complex. It's a circular mound with a slightly domed top artificially formed by scraping the soil around and piling up the material.
There are two ramps dug in the slopes of the mound to give access to the top, one on the west-southwest side, the other one on the east side.
For centuries this mound was an important ceremonial site for great rituals, such as the inaugurations of kings.
The mound has a diameter of about 90 metres at the base and is about 6 metres high.
Surveys have revealed that the mound could have been surrounded and retained by a timber palisade.
At about 140 metres north-northwest (340°) from the top of the great mound is a small burial mound with a square boulder measuring 1.20 metres by 1.90 metres. There are some cupmarks on its top surface. It is called Milleen Meva.
At the same distance from the main mound top towards north-northeast (10°) is a fallen stone pillar, with its main axis aligned east-west (90°-270°) and 2.57 metres long. This is called Misgaun Meva.
The site is easily accessible being it on the south side of the N5 between Tulsk and Bellanagare. It also has a large car park.

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