Oldcastle

Loughcrew Cairns

Due to ongoing conservation works access to the interior of Cairn T is not possible at present.

The rest of the monuments on the hill are not affected by this necessary work.

OPW regret any inconvenience caused.

Loughcrew, with a concentration of around 30 passage tombs, is one of the most important prehistoric cemeteries in Ireland.

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Loughcrew Cairns

Oldcastle

The town of Oldcastle was the 18th century creation of the Naper family, who received parts of the Plunkett estate following the cromwellian wars. Due in part to the continuation of a Gaelic way of life, the area, suffered badly during the Great Famine (1845-‘9) in comparison with richer, more arable and more progressive areas in the southern part of Co. Meath. The poorest inhabitants were obliterated by starvation and emigration. Nonetheless, land patterns still visible today reveal a strong attachment to pastoral farming of ‘Gaelic Culture'.

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Oldcastle

Patrickstown View

It is possible to walk up Patrick's Hill from the viewing point at Patrickstown. Part of the Loughcrew complex of passage tombs, Patrick's Hill has several ‘'cairns'' (or mounds) which conceal Neolithic passage tombs. There are also the remains of several standing stones. Patrick's Hill is one of three hilltops that make up Loughcrew; the site itself spans a ridge of land that runs roughly eastwest across the middle of Ireland. The Loughcrew hills are the highest in Co. Meath, and are each peppered with various monuments.

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Patrickstown View

Loughcrew Cairns; Hill of the Witch

The grandest concentration of Neolithic passage tombs in Ireland can be found at Loughcrew. Local folklore maintains that the site is the work of the “monster woman” who once ruled the area. Loughcrew`s name in Irish is Sliabh na Callaí meaning “Hill of the Witch” or “Hags Hill.” The name of the ancient hag was Garavogue, known locally as An Cailleach Bhéara. This witch or hag may have had her origins in the Celtic goddess Buí, whom we encounter at Knowth in Brú na Bóinne. She was a Moon Goddess or Earth Mother.

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Loughcrew Cairns; Hill of the Witch

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