Carrowmore megalithic city together with Carrowkeel are on the Coolera Peninsula, and are Europe’s largest megalithic civilisation.
Carrowmore Megalithic Monuments
Located a couple of miles south west of Sligo town, these are thought to have contained over 200 passage tombs at one time.
At the heart of this well preserved megalithic landscape, you will find Carrowmore in the peninsula’s centre. It is one of the most magnificent Irish ancient megalithic complexes. Although there was extensive damage in the early 19th century due to quarrying and land clearance, today there are 27 monuments remaining, of the original 100 or so monuments of Carrowmore.
The Carrowmore monuments are considered to be early examples of chambered cairns or passage graves.
Yet we cannot be entirely sure and they could be the ancestors of various monument types. They are boulder circles and many of them have central dolmens (rudimentary passages).
Constructed from a gneiss, which is a hard local stone which originates from the Ox Mountains, each circle has an average of between 30 to 35 stones. The one that is in the best condition these days is Carrowmore 7. It’s circle of boulders is around 11 metres in diameter, and it features a lovely graceful dolmen at the centre.
Although some dispute that the earliest discovery of Carrowmore dates to 5400 B.C., the general concensus believes that this is too early and instead the site is dates to the period when the mesolithic hunter gatherers were begining to turn into neolithic farmers.
- Tomb 1 c.4300 cal BC: charcoal from stone socket.
- Tomb 4 c. 5400 and 4600 cal BC respectively: from charcoal in foundation sockets in cist;
- c. 4100 and 4000 cal BC respectively: charcoal from stone sockets;
- c. 3800 cal BC charcoal from stone socket of passage;
- c.3000 cal BC: charcoal from secondary inner stone circle;
- Five dates between 3300 and 2500 cal BC.
- Tomb 7 c. 4200 cal BC: charcoal from post hole in central chamber.
- Tomb 19 c. 3950 cal BC: charcoal from cremation in central chamber.
- Tomb 27 c. 3950, 3900 and 3850 cal BC respectively; charcoal from stone packing outside the central chamber.
- Tomb 51 c. 4100 cal BC: charcoal from possible satellite south of kerbstone circle.
- Nine dates from charcoal in ritual type pits and burnt layers around central chamber, centring on 3550 cal BC.
- Tomb 55A c.3800 cal BC: charcoal in cremation layer.
- Tomb 56 c. 3500 cal BC: charcoal from stone packing outside central chamber.
- Primrose Grange Tomb 1 c. 6400 cal BC: charcoal in stone socket.
- Five other dates between c.4300 and 3000 cal. BC.
Burenhult, G. 2003 ‘Megalithic Chronologies’. In G. Burenhult (ed.) Stones and Bones: formal deposition of the dead in Atlantic Europe during the Mesolithic-Neolithic interface 6000-3000 BC.