Loughcrew Cairns (Loughcrew Passage Tombs) Tours
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Loughcrew Cairns—a series of Neolithic passage tombs scattered among the green hills of Ireland’s Boyne Valley—date back to about 3,000 BC. The Stone Age monuments are thought to have been used as burial sites and for ritual and ceremonial purposes. Though many are on private land, Cairn T is open to the public.
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.
Address: Meath, Ireland
2 Tours and Activities to Experience Loughcrew Cairns (Loughcrew Passage Tombs)
Travel through mystical Celtic Ireland on this full-day bus tour from Dublin! With an expert guide, journey back in time to Boyne Valley, home of the ancient Loughcrew Celtic Tombs, the Hill Of Uishneacht, and the Hill of Tara—a hotbed of archaeological treasures. Along the way, view primeval sites across Meath and Louth counties.
Nature and Wildlife
Get up close and personal with one of Ireland’s most important historical landmarks on this small-group tour of Loughcrew. Just an hour and a half outside of Dublin, Loughcrew is renowned for the 5,000-year-old Megalithic tombs found in the area, as well as its wildly beautiful scenery. On this tour, venture inside one of the burial grounds, climb to the highest point in the Boyne Valley, visit an 18th-century thatched-roof cottage, and finish with coffee and scones.
Frequently Asked Questions
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