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Wakeman's 
    1882 watercolour of Cloverhill.
Wakeman's 1882 watercolour of the chamber at Cloverhill.

Cloverhill

Cloverhill is a small and unusual monument about 500 meters east of Carrowmore. The monument consists of a small megalithic chamber set into the ground, which mesures 1.6 by one metre and is oriented slightly west of south.

A page on Cloverhill from Borlase's Dolmens of Ireland, 1895.
A page on Cloverhill from Borlase's Dolmens of Ireland, 1895.

The chamber was discovered in 1830 when a plough hit the roofslab, which seems to have dissapeared. For many years Cloverhill was considered an anomoly among the other Sligo monuments. Four of the orthostats in the chamber have megalithic art engraved on them, but the technique used is closer to 'Celtic' art dating from the Iron age, rather than neolithic 'passage grave' art.

There are several indications of Iron age activity close to Cloverhill: a carving within the chamber of Listoghil, the focal monument at Carrowmore closeby seems to be carved with a metal chisel. There was Iron age activity within the largest of the Carrowmore circles, Number 27, where lots of human teeth were discovered. Finally there is the huge earthen monument known as the Caltragh, which is considered to be an Iron age monument.

A page on Cloverhill from Borlase's Dolmens of Ireland, 1895.
Art from Cloverhill in Borlase's Dolmens of Ireland, 1895.
A sketch of the decorated stones at Cloverhill by Margaret Stokes.
A sketch of the decorated stones at Cloverhill by Margaret Stokes. Source: National Library of Ireland.

The Cloverhill monument is not easy to find. The monument is in the corner of a field and is currently very overgrown with briars and brambles. The first time I visited, the farmer gave me permission to cross his land, but warned me to stay away from a skittish young colt in the field. I spent the next 90 minutes searching for the monument, all the while keeping an eye on the young horse who was standing on the side of the hill.

A horse at Cloverhill.
A horse at Cloverhill. Queen Maeve's cairn can be seen on the summit of Knocknarea in the distance.

Eventually I realised that he was standing by the chamber - as you can see in the picture - probably trying to tell me where the monument was all the time!

A watercolor of the designs at Cloverhill by Charles Elcock dated 1883.
A watercolor of the designs at Cloverhill by Charles Elcock dated 1883. Source: National Library of Ireland.

The megalithic art has been illustrayed and recorded by a number of researchers. William Wakeman visited the monument on 11 July 1882 during his tour of Sligo, when he painted two views of the chamber and took rubbings of the stones. The Belfast antiquarian, George Elcock illustrated the stones in 1883, and a copy after a sketch by Margaret Stokes is illustrated above. During renovations in the Cloverhill schoolhouse close by, another decorated stone was discovered; this stone is currently on display in the Sligo County Museum in Stephen Street.

The chamber was excavated by W. G. Wood-Martin, a local landlord and archaeologist. He thought the chamber had been emptied previously, probably by the treasure hunter, Roger Walker, who opened many of the ancient monuments on the Cuil Iorra peninsula between 1830 and 1850, but kept poor records of his excavations.

Cloverhill chamber, wild and overgrown, today.
Cloverhill chamber, wild and overgrown, today.