The great mound at Rathcroghaun, a massive bronze age monument, said to have been the palace of Queen Maeve. Rathcroghaun was the ancient capital of Connaught and is covered with ancient monuments. The mound is about 90 meters in diameter, or about the size of Newgrange.
 
Main Page
Tour Guide
Sacred Island
Email me
Knocknarea
Queen Maeve's Cairn
The Glen
Carrowmore
Carrowkeel
Shee Lugh
Sliabh Dá Eán
Cairns Hill
Abbeyquarter
Doonaveeragh Village
Caves of Kesh
Cairns Hill
Moytura
Knocknashee
Sheemor
Kilclooney More
Newgrange

 
 
 
 

Rathcroghaun

This is one of my favourite sites, and the first place I visited when I began to research ancient monuments. Rathcroghaun is also known as Cruchan Ai, and is the ancient capital of the provence of Connaught. Though the site is best known for its associations with the celtic or Iron age Queen Maeve, several of the monuments there date from the neolithic and the majority are most likely from the Bronze age. Rathcroghaun is mentioned in a huge number of mythological tales, and plays a central part in the Táin Bo Culainge, and was the abode of gods and creatures from the Otherworld.

Beranger's record of the mound of Rathcroghan from 1779.

Rath Croghan and the nearby site of Carnfree covers an area of about 100 square kilometers of fine farming and grazing land. There are about 200 monuments in this rich region, which include ringforts, barrows, mounds, ancient roads, standing stones, earthworks, ogham stones, caves and megalithic structures. The largest and best known structure is the mound of Rathcroghan itself, the palace of Queen Maeve and ancient capital of the provence of Connaught.

The 14 meter structure at Rathmore, Rathcroghaun, Tulsk, Co Roscommon outlined by John Waddell using very cold Archeology students from St Angela's, on our field trip, 16 Feburary, 2002. A similar structure once stood on Queen Maeve's Palace.

Queen Maeve's Palace is easy to visit, located right by the main road with a car park. The huge mound, which measures about 90 meters in diameter, is probably built on a natural hillock, and was probably enlarged several times until it reached its present size There is a large fallen standing stone nearby. Archaeological geophysical research has found traces of several features under the surface of the mound. At one stage it probably had a large wooden building or henge on the top. The remains of a smaller mound or pinnacle can be seen at the center of the flat top. Two causeways lead up to the platform.

Daithi's pillar stone and barrow. The stone is said to mark the grave of the last Pagan High King of Ireland. Legend has it that Daíthí was struck dead by a bolt of lightning while raiding in the Sliab Alpha, which could either be the Alps or more likely, Scotland.

These features may date from the Bronze age period after 2500 BC when the Irish made the transition from stone to metal. As yet, no excavations have taken place, all surveying being done with electronic scanning devices. There is a detailed presentation on the recent surveys at the visitor centre in Tulsk.

Relig na Ri, a large circular enclosure, is said to be the burial ground of the Kings of Connaught. Queen Maeve bucked the system when she elected to be buried within the majestic neolithic mound on Knocknarea.

 
Main Page
Woodcuts
Tour Guide
Sacred Island
Email me
Knocknarea
Queen Maeve's Cairn
The Glen
Carrowmore
Carrowkeel
Shee Lugh
Sliabh Dá Eán
Cairns Hill
Abbeyquarter
Doonaveeragh Village
Caves of Kesh
Cairns Hill
Moytura
Knocknashee
Sheemor
Kilclooney More
Newgrange

 
 
 
 

Rathcroghaun

Other monuments are The Cave of the Cats, said to be the home of the Morrigan, and one of the entrances into the Otherworld. This is a limestone fissure with a man-made opening, which recycled an ogham stone from nearby Relig na Righ. There is a large ringfort called Rath na Tarbh, the Fort of the Bulls, where the final combat between the great bulls took place. Daithi's mound is a barrow with a pillar stone (shown below) placed at the centre. Daithi, who is said to be buried here, was to be the last pagan king of Ireland. There are several roadways in the area, which may have once carried chariots. It is likely that in Celtic times a road would have linked Rathcroghan to Tara.

In recent years archaeological research has thrown new light on Rathcruchan. Geophysical surveys have turned up evidence of structures which are no longer visible on the surface. Several large enclosures, including one which encircles the great mound, riddle the area. This is certainly a complex complex!

The Cave of the Cats at Rathcroghan.

Rath Croghan and the nearby site of Carnfree covers an area of about 100 square kilometers of fine farming and grazing land. There are about 200 monuments in this rich region, which include ringforts, barrows, mounds, ancient roads, standing stones, earthworks, ogham stones, caves and megalithic structures. The largest and best known structure is the mound of Rathcroghan itself, the place of Queen Maeve and ancient capital of the provence of Connaught.

The Tain by the Decemberists, a 20 minute animated film set to music.

Other monuments are The Cave of the Cats, said to be the home of the Morrigan, and one of the entrances into the Otherworld. This is a limestone fissure with a man-made opening, which recycled an ogham stone from nearby Relig na Righ. There is a large ringfort called Rath na Tarbh, the Fort of the Bulls, where the final combat between the great bulls took place. Daithi's mound is a barrow with a pillar stone (shown below) placed at the centre. Daithi, who is said to be buried here, was to be the last pagan king of Ireland. There are several roadways in the area, which may have once carried chariots. It is likely that in Celtic times a road would have linked Rathcroghan to Tara.

In recent years archaeological research has thrown new light on Rathcruchan. Geophysical surveys have turned up evidence of structures which are no longer visible on the surface. Several large enclosures, including one which encircles the great mound, riddle the area. This is certainly a complex complex!

 

Daithi's pillar stone and barrow. The stone is said to mark the grave of the last Pagan High King of Ireland. Legend has it that Daíthí was struck dead by a bolt of lightning while raiding in the Sliab Alpha, which could either be the Alps or more likely, Scotland.

These features may date from the Bronze age period after 2500 BC when the Irish made the transition from stone to metal. As yet, no excavations have taken place, all surveying being done with electronic scanning devices. There is a detailed presentation on the recent surveys at the visitor centre in Tulsk.

Queen Maeve's Palace, the great mound of Cruchain viewed from a large medieval ringfort to the south. This whole area is littered with monuments from many time periods.