Celebrating winter solstice at Knockroe

Grace, Francis and Margaret Phelan (Slieverue) at the winter solstice

Grace, Francis and Margaret Phelan (Slieverue) at the winter solstice

Knockroe Passage Tomb is located in a picturesque setting on the slopes above the Lingaun River in South Kilkenny, near the neat small village of Tullahought.
The site is just up the road from a public house called Delaney’s and through the old slate quarries which were abandoned in the early 1900s.
The site dates to around 6,000 BC and has many similarities to the far more famous examples such as Newgrange and Knowth in the Brú na Bóinne complex in County Meath.
Originally Knockroe would have been a similar tomb to Newgrange, albeit on a smaller scale. It is likely that it too would have had an earthen mound surrounded by large kerbstones. However unlike Newgrange, Knockroe has two burial chambers, located at the eastern and western sides of the feature. These tombs are exposed, and had long ago lost their earthen cover. Many of the stones lining the passageways of these tombs at Knockroe are highly decorated with megalithic art such as spirals, hollowed ‘cup marks’, and zigzags. You can still find them in their original locations. It is impossible not to wonder about the possible meaning of the decorations. You can also still see the quartz, which possibly would have formed a wall around the entrance to the passageways.

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