Loughcrew is a two-for-one deal—beautiful 19th-century pleasure gardens dotted with lakes, perfect for picnicking, and, just a short distance away, one of the biggest megalithic burial grounds in Ireland. The 30 passage tombs of Loughcrew are known locally as Slieve na Calliaghe, which translates as “The Hill of the Witch.” With such an atmospheric name, you'd expect something good to look at, and sure enough, the three hills topped like crowns with symmetrical tombs can be seen from miles away. The site is aligned with both the equinox and the pagan day of Samhain (Halloween), so that twice a year the dawn sun lights a heavily carved stone within one cairn. Crowds gather each year to see the phenomenon. Access to the cairns is free, but you need to pick up the key from the Limetree Coffee Shop, the wooden chalet-like building near the garden gatehouse. In summer it’s open daily from 11am to 5pm, in winter 10am to 4pm on weekdays, 11am to 4pm on weekends.
County Meath› Attraction
Loughcrew Cairns and Gardens
Outside Oldcastle, Co. Meath
Our Rating Hours Mid-Mar to Oct Mon–Fri 9:30am–5:30pm, Sat–Sun 11am–5:30pm; Nov to mid–Mar Sat–Sun 11am–4pm Transportation From N3, take R195 through Oldcastle toward Mullingar; 2.4km (1 1/2 miles) out of Oldcastle, look for signposted left turn and follow signs. Phone 049/854-1356 Prices Free admission to cairns. Gardens: €6 adults; €5 seniors; €3 children; €20 families. Tours €20 per group Web site Loughcrew Cairns and Gardens
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.