The Mysterious Engravings of Ireland’s 5,000-Year-Old Megalithic Tomb



Image: Danuta Stawarz

Cairn T with an adjacent smaller mound

For thousands of years they have stood, high on the windswept hills, with views of a gentle green landscape rolling away on all sides. Before the first pyramids were even built in Egypt, this wild and rugged land was home to Neolithic people who carved strange patterns into the stones. And yet it is the mystery that enshrouds this tomb site in Loughcrew, in Ireland’s County Meath, that is the real secret to its appeal.


Image: Danuta Stawarz

A ring of stones marking an ancient cairn

There are more than 30 cairns (or stone monuments) and mounds scattered around the two hills of Carnbane West and Carnbane East at Loughcrew – known locally as “Slieve na Calliagh”, or Hill of the Witch. Legends say the cairns were created by a giant hag who strode the hills holding stones in her apron, with the stones she dropped becoming the rock monuments of today.

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