Carrowkeel Cairn G Passage Tomb




N 54° 03' 22.08"   W 008° 22' 40.14"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

G 75262 11952

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Friday 26 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

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Cairn G is the first tomb to be found at the beginning of the trail on the mountains. Seen from the north with Cairn H and Cairn K behind.

This is one of the most amazing places we have ever seen in Ireland. It's a neolithic cemetery atop Carrowkeel Mountain. From up here there's a fantastic view over the surrounding counties. No vehicles are allowed at the site, from the last allowed spot for cars the walk is not less than 20 minutes long, and it's difficult to remember that there's a civilized world down there.

There are 14 cairns on the top of Carrowkeel and Keshcorran Mountains, along with a dolmen and a kist.

The site was discovered by the Irish naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger in 1897. He returned at the site in 1911 with Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister to excavate the monuments, which had been untouched for about 6,000 years, and still have an intact look.

Cairn G is the first tomb along the trail from the car park to the top of Carrowkeel. It's very well preserved, it has a diameter of about 22 metres with a lintelled entrance at the northwest (300°). A shorter lintel is 20 centimetres above the main one and the space between them forms a roof-box that allows the summer solstice sunset light to reach the far end of the central chamber. The only other roof-box known in Ireland is the one at Newgrange, where the sunlight enters the tomb at the winter solstice sunrise.
The entrance level is lower than the surrounding ground level, due to the fact that over the centuries the bare rocky soil of the mountain has been covered by the bog. The main lintel is at only 80 centimetres from the present ground level. The short passage leads to the rather large central chamber whose walls are made with large rectangular orthostats. The interior of the tomb has a cruciform arrangement, like other tombs in the Boyne valley. There are three burial chambers, one to the east, one to the south-southeast, one to the southwest. Their walls were made using large squarish stones, as to form three boxes. The orthostats that form the walls of the central chamber have spaces among them that give access to these burial chambers. Like in other cairns of passage graves, the roof is corbelled.
During the excavations in 1911, typical objects of the neolithic era were found, like cremated human bones, stone beads and fragments of pottery.

We came here for the first time on May 8th, 2002.

My recent visit at Cairn G has been disturbed by a couple, man and wife, who did their best to appear in every photo of mine, to ruin my pictures, to hinder me from entering the cairn or walking around it and to distract me with shallow chats and silly questions. They wasted most of my time. I am sure that they acted this way intentionally, as if the site was their own!

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