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.

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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. Cairn U measures 13 meters in diameter, with a ring of 16 kerbstones, most of which are standing upright like jagged old teeth. The cairn stones survive to the level of the orthostats, which is about 1.5 meters high. The passage and chamber are almost 7 meters long, and there are 13 engraved stones, which includes the two wonderful engraved panels illustrated below.

Looking out from the end recess of the chamber of Cairn U. The orthostat is decorated, as are the two recesses below. The chamber is oriented towards the November and Feburary quarter days.

Engraved stone in the right recess.

Engraved stone in the left recess.

The chamber is a kind of 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.

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.