Banner: Knocknarea at Sunset.
The view from Knocknashee
The view to Knocknashee.

Knocknashee

Knocknashee is a beautiful table-top mountain in south west Sligo, which rises suddenly from the drumlin plain to dominate the surrounding area. It will be a familiar sight to anyone who passes up and down the N17 between Tubbercurry and Collooney. The road twists between Knocknashee and Muckelty hill, another neolithic hilltop enclosure and cairn. The area around Knocknashee is thickly dotted with ringforts and mounds and there are several ruined megalithic chambers in the area, all with commanding views to the mountain.

The 
    view from Knocknashee
The view from Knocknashee from Muckelty cairn. Beyond are Knocknarea, Benbulben and Doomore.

Two large neolithic cairns are located within a huge enclosure which covers the flat summit of the mountain of Knocknashee. Both cairns are composed of quarried limestone, and are about 20 meters in diameter and some 2.5 meters high. One of the cairns has a chamber composed of large stone slabs, which must have been opened in historical times; the entry slab was broken to get into the chamber.

The 
    chamber on Knocknashee
The megalithic chamber on Knocknashee.

This chamber resembles the large megalithic structure at Listoghil in Carrowmore, and also the monument just east of Cairn K at Carrowkeel. There are some scratchings, possibly dating from the Iron age, on one of the slabs. The floor is flagged with a large flat slab.

A great image of Knocknashee from Bing
A great image of Knocknashee from Bing Maps, clearly showing neolithic cairns, hut circles and the huge upper bank of the hillfort.

There are also about 30 hut foundations similar to those found recently on Knocknarea, and the large collection of huts at Doonaveeragh in Carrowkeel. Their diameters range from 7 to 10 meters, and several have doorways. The huts cluster around the two cairns. The monuments were investigated during very wet conditions over the summer of 2017; for more information see their FB page.

View from the  summit of Knocknashee.
View from the summit of Knocknashee, 300 meters above sea level.

Knocknashee is also in fact, one of Ireland's largest Bronze Age hillforts, having three huge ditches running around the hill, one at the top, middle and bottom. Building neolithic chambered cairns on hill-tops within stone enclosures in the west of Ireland seems to have been at least as common as building monuments within enclosures in the Boyne Valley There is also a ring of splintered limestone chips running in a ring around one of the cairns, a feature also found at Cairns Hill west, Listoghil, Queen Maeve's cairn and Knocknarea north.

View north from Knocknashee.

The view from Knocknashee. Queen Maeve's Cairn on Knocknarea and Benbulben form an artificial notch, which marks the extreme northerly lunar rising position. Picture © Leo Regan.

There is another cairn and enclosure on the summit of Muckelty Hill just a few kilometers south east of Knocknashee. For more about fairies and sites around Sligo click Here.

Cabragh megalithic monument
Looking due south to Knocknashee and Muckelty from the wedge at Cabragh on the slopes of the Ox Mountains above Coolaney.