Looking south from the ramparts of the huge neolithic enclosure on Turlough Hill. About 1 km to the south is Turlough cairn, an unopened neoltihic stone mound. The enclosure is circular to slightly hexagonal and has six openings, which appear to be original. There are about 40 hut sites between the enclosure and the cairn.

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The Burren cairns

There are several large mounds of stone, probably neolithic cairns on the tops of the mountains, or their north-facing shelves, which bear all the hallmarks of chambered cairns like those at Cong, Knockma and Ballinrobe. These cairns are found on Sliabhcarran, Turlough Mountain and Blackhead on the northern edge of the Burren. The large cairn on Turlough Mountain is surrounded by a collection of some 100 round hut foundations, quite similar to those at Carrowkeel, Knocknashee and Knocknarea in Sligo.

None of the Burren hilltop cairns have been excavated. They are not counted in the inventories of Irish chambered cairns, since their internal structures are not known. However, they appear to form an east-west pattern, a feature of the large and more famous collections of passage mounds. As most of them are on the north ends of the mountain, thay may have a similar relationship with Knockma as the Carrowkeel cairns do with Knocknarea.

The cairn on the summit of Turlough Hill.

The Poulawack Cairn was excavated in the summer of 1934 by the Harvard Archaeological Mission. Poulawack has been dated to about 3,300 BC, around the same age as Newgrange. The site was reused several times, and it's period of use stretches to about 1,500 BC. It may have been used in later medieval times as an inauguration mound.

A map of the main central area of the Burren, showing the profusion of neolithic sites. Poulawack cairn, which is at the centre of the Burren, is at the bottom, centre.


The large cairn known as Seefin on the summit of Blackhead on the northwestern extreme of the Burren. This unopened monument has fine views across Galway Bay to Knockma and west to the Aran Islands.