When I say, from the very old to the very new, well how old is very old? How about something or some place that pre-dates the pyramids by 800 years. Yes, Sligo has an ancient site that dates between 5400 and 5100 years old (3400 to 3100 BC.
Carrowkeel is a Neolithic passage tomb cemetery in South Sligo, not too far away from Boyle, Co Roscommon. It is one of the biggest passage tomb cemeteries in Ireland. Another passage tomb cemetery is also in Sligo, and it is called Carrowmore. There are two other similar sites, one called Brú na Bóinne, and Lough Crew.
But we will talk about Carrowkeel here. It is set on high ground which is part of the Bricklieve Mountains. To get there, you would have to take a very narrow road which is near a little village called Castlebaldwin. It is not well signposted but the locals know where it is. You travel up this narrow road, going up, up all the time, until you see a sign pointing to yet another narrow road, which leads you to a gate, which you must open and then close behind you. You then drive a short distance where you must park you car or small bus. There is a very narrow pathway up the side of the mountain that you must take, all the time, going up. It is not a hard walk, and what makes it easy for the walker is the scenery all around and for as far as you can see. It is stunning, so much so that it would take your breath away. But when you arrive at the top and walk as far as you can, you get to see all the way around the mountain, and then you see much more than you did on the way up. You get to see Lough Arrow, Lough Key, Lough Gara, and all the scenery inbetween.
There is 14 cairns on top and there is a climb up to the first one. You can crawl into this passage tomb, and once you get inside, it is amazing. You can stand up in the main chamber and you can see three smaller chambers off the main one. This is built totally by stone, there is no cement, no nails, no wood, just stone. This is a perfect building and has lasted over 5000 years. One wonder's about the knowledge these people had when it came to building, because looking at some of the buildings now, they don't last 100 years never mind 5000 years.
Just down the road near Lough Arrow, which by the way, is a great fishing lake, there is a another giant passage tomb, and that is situated in a place called Heapstown. This is part of the legendary Maytura, site of battles between the Tuatha Dé Danann, the ancient Gods of Ireland and the demonic Fomorians. It is said that if you take a stone from the cairn in Heapstown, it will make it's way back, but it will bring you bad luck. So the locals would never tamper with that site. This site is right beside a farm and a house. It is on private land and the people that own the land do not like visitors going into the Cairn.
So going from the oldest site in Sligo, and actually in Europe, we go to Sligo town and we have an Hotel in the middle of the town called The Glasshouse. It is sitting beside the Garavogue river and sits on the site of what was known as the Silver Swan hotel. It is glass front and sides, with a very modern look.
Inbetween the very old and the very new, we have the ruins of 11th and 12th century Abbeys, Castles, and Estate houses. There is so much history in this part of the world, and by going from one place to another, visiting all of these beautiful buildings and sites, you learn about the life and times of the people who lived there. You learn about the way people lived and how they worked. You can walk into some of these buildings and feel the way it was years and years ago. But there are always local stories that are attached to all of these building, and the beauty about Secret Ireland Tours LLC is this, your guides know all these places and all the stories that go along with them.
So check out out website and book your trip with us. www.SecretIrelandToursLLC.com .