Dowth the Fairy Mound of Darkness is about the same size as Newgrange and
Knowth and was built in the same period over 5,000
years ago. The mound was subjected to a very unprofessional excavation in 1847,
two passage tombs were discovered but the mound
was severely damaged in the process. The passage tombs are much less spectacular
than Newgrange or Knowth with shorter passages
and lower roofs. Both are on the western side of the mound, they are referred
to as Dowth North and Dowth
South. The Dowth North passage is 14 metres in length; the chamber is cruciform
in shape with an annex off the right hand recess,
the chamber roof is corbelled and is 3 metres high.
The Dowth South passage is only 3.5 metres in length with a simple circular
chamber and a single recess to the right; the original roof collapsed long
ago and has been replaced by a concrete roof. Dowth South is aligned to the setting sun of the winter solstice;
the setting sun illuminates the passage and chamber about 3pm on the days around the winter solstice.
Dowth is not on the official tour from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre.
Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth are all located north of the River Boyne however Newgrange and Knowth are
accessed through the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre located on the south bank of the river. Visitors
to Dowth can drive directly to the site on the north bank of the river, a couple
of miles from the Slane to Drogheda road. There is no public access
to the two passage chambers at Dowth; however visitors will be
rewarded with a real sense of a spiritual connection to this
ancient site as they ramble around the usually peaceful mound.
Anne-Marie Moroney has been observing winter sunsets at Dowth since 1997. From the
beginning of October to the end of February the sun sends its rays
from the south-west into the chamber. As the sun appears
progressively lower in the sky towards the winter solstice, the beam
travels first over the sill stone, then enters the chamber and finally shines
directly onto the stones at the back of the chamber.
Dowth Sunset Images.
Flythrough of laser scan survey at Dowth Megalithic Passage Tomb.
The sun symbols on Kerbstone 51 at Dowth are similar to those on the
backstone of Cairn T at Loughcrew. The
seven sun symbols must surely have an astronomical or calendrical purpose.
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