Carrowmore

Carrowmore is one of the four major passage tomb complexes in Ireland and is located at the geographical centre of the Cúil Irra peninsula in County Sligo, 3 km west of Sligo town. This is one of the largest (in terms of number of monuments) complexes of megalithic tombs in Ireland and is also among the oldest used passage tombs, the earliest depositions approximately 3700 BC.

Carrowmore Megalithic Tombs, Sligo

Placed on a small plateau at an altitude of between 36.5 and 59 meters above sea level Carrowmore is the focal point of a prehistoric ritual landscape which is dominated by the mountain of Knocknarea to the west with the great cairn of Miosgán Médhbh on top. To the east is Carns Hill with two large cairns overlooking Lough Gill, and along the eastern boundary of the peninsula the Ballygawley Mountains have four passage tombs at their peaks.

30 monuments survive in Carrowmore today. There may have been more monuments in the complex originally, but some fell victim to quarrying and field clearance during the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. The complex is about one kilometre north-south and 600 meters east-west. Most of the sites are “satellite tombs” which surround the largest monument, placed on the high point of the plateau, the cairn (now restored) called Listoghil.

In 1989-90 the State purchased approximately 25 acres, on which stood a number of monuments and a small cottage. The cottage was developed for use as a basic visitor interpretative facility run by the Office of Public Works, this development marked the first stage in developing the Carrowmore archaeological complex for public access. Later land purchases means that most of the site is now under public ownership.

The small farmhouse is close to the R292, approximately 2 kilometres east of Ransboro crossroads. It houses an exhibition, and from March to October provides both guided tours and multi-lingual self-guide options for the Carrowmore megaliths. Admission is €3.00 for adults, and there are discounts for seniors, groups, students and families. Most of the tombs can be accessed from there. The centre is open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m during the summer.