Carrowkeel, in County Sligo, is one of the most evocative archaeological landscapes in Ireland. It consists of fourteen passage tombs located at different positions on the hilltops, with a further group of six tombs further west. Between exploring the monuments and wandering at the spectacular views, you really could spend the whole day here!
You can approach the complex following the signs from Castlebaldwin, from where a steep and narrow road (or should I say lane?) winds considerably upwards. At the end of it you’ll find a closed gate, but no worries… simply open it – but be sure to close it behind you – and drive up the hill. After leaving the car in the small area provided, walk along the track for about two kilometres until you’ll see the first cairn on the left. Leave the stony track and follow the rough one upwards through the bog.
The landscape is simply breathtaking and I’d recommend visiting the site though you may not be that interested in archaeology.
And this is what I’m talking about when I say passage tombs. They were all built around 5,000 years ago, in the Neolithic period, but fell foul of a team of antiquarians around 1910. Most of them are accessible and some are easier to enter than others, therefore care and respect are demanded of the visitor.
The rock below, known as the Rocking Stone, has been carried here by glacial ice over a distance of hundreds of kilometres some time back.
The day I visited the wind was very strong and I really struggled to compose every single image – for those who are not familiar with the Horizon camera that means rightly positioning the spirit level in the viewfinder to avoid distortions. I know I should have brought with me a tripod (although I’m really not sure how I could have managed in the bog), but luckily I had loaded the camera with a 400 ISO film and could shoot with the shortest exposure times.
Camera: Horizon Perfect
Film: Kodak FC 400
Location: Carrowkeel, Co. Sligo