Wednesday 9 January 2019

Dowth Co Meath

                                                  Above Image: Entrance stile

                                                  Above Image: Approach path

                                     Above & Below Image: Main entrance passage

                                                 Above Image: Interior passage

                                    Above Image: Entrance stone with cup matks

                                       Above Image & Below Image: The summit

                                       Above Image: Secondary passage entrance

                                                    Above Image: Kerb stones

                                  Above Image & Below Image: Remains of holy well

This ancient passage tomb is part of the Boyne Valley network and heritage site which includes both Newgrange and nearby Knowth. While these two tombs are part of an organised tour, Dowth remains out on it's own, but public access to the site is permitted.
The tomb dates sometime between 2000BC to 2500BC and was only partly excavated in 1847 when dynamite was used and caused much damage to the original roof. This has been repaired with more modern concrete. While the interior is not open to be explored the site itself is a very atmospheric and interesting place to visit and walk around.
We found access from the road easily by way of a stile and a pathway. It is quite peaceful here and it's out of the way location ensures that you may only meet a handful of tourists at any given time. The mound itself is magnificent and can be climbed. Although the interior is locked you can get a good view in at the main passage entrance and truthfully I think you would have to enter crawling on hands and knees.The entrance stone appears to be some sort of super-bullaun as it is covered in cup marks. There are also some faint designs on it one being a spiral.Adjacent appears to be the remains of a holy well and a short walk will take you to nearby Dowth abbey ruins (see earlier post here)
As recently as July 2018 another tomb has been uncovered in the Dowth area and also the severe drought during that summer uncovered two henges near Newgrange that would not normally have been apparent. An exciting time for archaeologists then!
To find Dowth take the M1 heading North and at junction 10 just after the Boyne bridge take the exit for the N51 to Navan. Drive approx 1.8KM until you pass the gates of Townley Hall on your right. Take the next left hand turn onto the L1607. Drive down this road for about 1.8KM until you have passed two sharp bends to the right. Continue on for another 1.3KM and you will see the entrance stile on your left. There is room for a couple of cars to park here.