Loughcrew Cairns (Loughcrew Passage Tombs)
To see Loughcrew Cairns in Ireland’s Boyne Valley, join a tour departing from Dublin that makes stops at Cairn T, Norman-era Trim Castle, the ruined 7th-century Fore Abbey in Westmeath, and Hill of Tara—where legend says Ireland’s ancient high kings were inaugurated. Whether you visit independently or with a group, don't miss the exhibits at Loughcrew Megalithic Center. Some guided tours include access to the interior of Cairn T to see ancient carvings.
Things to Know Before You Go
Most of the 30-odd cairns sit on private land and can’t be accessed, but Cairn T on the hill of Carnbane East is open to the public.
Cairn T is not wheelchair accessible.
It is a steep climb from the parking lot to Cairn T, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes.
The Loughcrew Cairns are a quieter alternative to the more popular Newgrange passage tomb.
How to Get There
The Loughcrew Megalithic Centre is about 3 miles (6 kilometers) southeast of Oldcastle in County Meath for a 10-minute drive. From Dublin, it's 53 miles (86 kilometers) for a 70-minute drive. The walk from the parking lot to Cairn T takes about 15 minutes.
When to Get There
The most rewarding times to visit are for the spring and fall equinoxes in March and September, when light pours into the interior chamber of Cairn T. Even in summer, the cairns rarely draw crowds, so you can expect a peaceful atmosphere no matter when you go.
Brú na Bóinne
To reach the most well-known Neolithic passage grave in Ireland, drive 34 miles (53 kilometers) from Loughcrew Cairns to Newgrange. The 50-minute trip takes you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne with a prehistoric passage tomb that is older than Stonehenge. The structure is known for its careful construction and alignment, which allows the sun to stream into the interior burial chamber for about five days around the winter solstice.
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