Loughcrew Equinox Sunrise - March 2019

All are welcome to assemble outside Loughcrew Cairn T for the sunrise at 6:30am on Tuesday March 19th, Wednesday March 20th and Thursday March 21st. Cairn T will not be open for this year's Equinox sunrise due to ongoing conservation work.

Breakfast will be available each morning from 7am at the Loughcrew Megalithic Centre.

Other events at the Loughcrew Megalithic Centre

Loughcrew Spring Equinox Video

The progress of the sunbeam on the backstone inside Cairn T at Loughcrew was video recorded at sunrise on the morning of March 23rd 2005. The 50 minute video has been compressed to 1 minute 46 seconds and included in the following YouTube Video.

Video of sunbeam on the backstone inside Cairn T at Loughcrew

Loughcrew Autumn Equinox 2009
Loughcrew Equinox - September 2009

Days to get longer as spring officially begins

An article by Pamela Newenham of The Irish Times - March 2010.

Spring officially begins today, the day of the vernal equinox, when the rising sun penetrates the passage of cairn T at Loughcrew, illuminating the backstone. The vernal equinox, like its autumnal counterpart, is not fixed on any certain date, although almost by definition it comes around at yearly intervals. This year, it will occur at 5.32pm today.

Aligned with the equinoxes is cairn T, the interior of which is illuminated by a shaft of sunlight, exposing elaborate engravings on the stone inside at dawn on the equinox days. As the days become longer and we bid farewell to winter, cairn T at Loughcrew, also known as Sliabh na Callighe meaning the hill of the witch, located at the northernmost point of Co Meath near the village of Oldcastle, will welcome the sunrise of the spring equinox.

From today until Monday, members of the public willing to battle early morning starts will be able to to see the sun light up the ancient tomb between 6.15am and 7.30am. Clare Tuffy, manager of the Brú na Bóinne visitor centre, said: “It's great because it's such a high hill, there's a sense of pilgrimage climbing it, knowing that people were also climbing here 5,000 years ago”. Just as the December solstice at Newgrange heralds the beginning of the slow death of winter, the March equinox brings with it the promise of the coming summer, Ms Tuffy said.

Loughcrew is one of four Neolithic complexes in Ireland, all dating from the late Stone Age. The extensive hilltop cemetery spans three relatively flat summits and consists of the remains of about 30 passage graves constructed from 3,000BC to 2,000BC and used well into the Iron Age.

Loughcrew - Alan Betson
The sun illuminates the passageway and an internal chamber at the cairn T, Loughcrew

Boyne Valley Private Day Tour

Boyne Valley Tours
Immerse yourself in the rich heritage and culture of the Boyne Valley with our full-day private tours. Visit Newgrange World Heritage site, explore the Hill of Slane, where Saint Patrick famously lit the Paschal fire. Discover the Hill of Tara, the ancient seat of power for the High Kings of Ireland. Book Now