Knockroe Passage Tomb, Kilkenny

 

Knockroe Passage Tomb  is one of the most impressive megalithic structures I have seen around Ireland. In another country, or even in Northern Ireland, it would be a celebrated and promoted attraction; here it is just down a muddy lane with no signage from the road whatsoever. Of course, that is perhaps part of the attraction for me. Like Newgrange, Knockroe is aligned with the sun on the winter solstice, except the setting rather than rising sun.

The above video is a resolutely amateur attempt to capture something of the appearance and atmosphere. I first became aware of Knockroe just after Christmas, when reading about the December 21st solstice events – just a little too late, as I could have seen this:

And even more significantly the solstice sunset itself (I must admit to finding this soundtrack somewhat incongruous) :

 

The site features two OPW information boards and on the gate outside there is posted information on the anti-wind turbines movement. The site overlooks the Linguan river and nearby slate quarries (from which fairly loud quarrying could be heard) and certainly presents a view which great stonking wind turbines would destroy. It is also quite close to Ahenny, Co Tipperary, with its famous high crosses.

Knockroe is not quite a site you can stumble upon, requiring a certain amount of determination to find (and ultimately the desire to simply head down a muddy lane) – yet there is something awesomely unexpected in coming across it. Part of the power of these sites is their sheer size. Another is the setting, and one’s imagination can fairly easily transport back to the site as it once would have been.

 

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