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Cairn U at Loughcrew
Cairn U, a neolithic chambered cairn on the summit of Sliabh na Cailleach in Loughcrew. The image is taken from the top of Cairn T, the central monument on this hill.

Cairn U

Cairn U is the first monument many people see at Loughcrew, as you pass it on the way into the fenced off enclosure on the way to the summit. The monument is quite close to the edge of Cairn T and the wonderful Hag's Chair. Cairn U measures 13 meters in diameter, with a ring of 16 kerbstones, most of which are standing upright like jagged old teeth.

View from Cairn U at Loughcrew
The passage and chamber of Cairn U, a neolithic chambered cairn on the summit of Sliabh na Cailleach in Loughcrew.

The cairn, which is about 1.5 meters high survive to the level of the orthostats. The passage and chamber are almost 7 meters long, and there are 13 engraved stones, which includes the two wonderful engraved panels illustrated below.

View from Cairn U at Loughcrew.
Looking out from the end recess of the chamber of Cairn U. The orthostat is decorated, as are both recesses, below. The chamber is oriented towards the November and Feburary cross-quarter days.
Engraved  stone in the left-hand recess of Cairn U.
Engraved stone in the left-hand recess of Cairn U.

The roof of the passage and chamber are missing, probably quarried away during the years before 1840, when much land in Ireland changed hands, and many field and boundary walls were built.

Engraved  stone in the right-hand recess of Cairn U.
Engraved stone in the right-hand recess of Cairn U.

The chamber is a double cruciform with a larger right-hand recess. The left-hand recess is divided by a slab, and some think that the right hand side may have been similar, with the stall stone now missing. You have to cross a high sill stone to get into the passage. The orientation is roughly the same as Cairn L, towards the November and Febuary cross-quarter day sunrises.

View east from Cairn U.
Cairn U looking over to Patrickstown Hill in the east, where up to twenty monuments are said to have been removed during land clearance in the 1800's.