Summer Solstice Spots In Ireland
For at least 5,000 years, the Summer solstice has been celebrated on June 21st, the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Summer solstice was seen as a sacred time, associated with fertility, nature and new beginnings.
Choose to walk in the footsteps of legends, heroes and high kings of Ireland at four summer solstice spots that are worth exploring:
The Carrowkeel Cairns, Co. Sligo.
On the Wild Atlantic Way near the village of Castlebaldwin, County Sligo, and beautifully situated in the Bricklieve Mountains visitors can have the delight of exploring the historic Carrowkeel Cairns, a network of dolmens, standing stones and passage tombs. The sun enters the chamber of the passage tomb through the roof box at sunset on the days around the summer solstice, illuminating the back of the chamber.
Turn up the sound, and watch the short Tourism Ireland video below as the sun sets during the Summer Solstice at the more than 5,000-year-old Carrowkeel Passage Tombs in County Sligo, illuminating the inner chambers. It’s an incredible feat of engineering considering the tombs are older than the Pyramids.
Carrowkeel Cairns Summer Solstice Sunset Video © Tourism Ireland’s YouTube channel
Dowth Henge, Co. Meath.
Dowth Henge, in the Boyne Valley in County Meath in Ireland’s ancient east, is a huge earth embanked enclosure located in a field north-east of Dowth Passage Grave. It is one of the largest henges in Ireland and has banks reaching to 5 metres in height and is 165 metres across. There are two openings in the egg shaped enclosure and these are aligned with the summer solstice on June 21st, although they may not be part of the original design. Henges like this are thought to have been constructed around 4,000 years ago in this area of Ireland.
While you are in the area you can also marvel at the three great tombs of the Brú na Bóinne Megalithic Cemetery, which includes the ancient grassy mound of Dowth Passage grave, Knowth and Newgrange, the best-known monument of the World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne, predating the ancient pyramids by 400 years and Stonehenge by 1000.
Hill of Tara, Co. Meath.
The Hill of Tara in County Meath, known as the seat of the high kings of Ireland, is one of the most popular places to celebrate the summer solstice. Each year a different theme of celebration is chosen. Back in ancient times, the Hill of Tara was known in Irish as “Temair” and worshipers believed that it was a sacred place of dwelling for the gods and the entrance to the world of eternal joy.
Lough Gur, County Limerick.
Lough Gur in County Limerick is at the heart of a remarkable archaeological landscape, featuring sites that represent every major period of human history in Ireland. Physical evidence of occupation from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Early Christian, Medieval, Early Modern and Modern eras has been found in the immediate vicinity. At one point in time Lough Gur was home to the largest concentration of Giant Irish Deer in Europe. The Grange Stone Circle at Lough Gur is the largest and most impressive of its kind in Ireland. Comprising of 113 standing stones, Grange Stone Circle was built around 2200 BC and is aligned with the rising sun of the summer solstice on June 21st.
Journey into Ireland’s historic past.
5000 years of history… take a journey into the past, hearing the stories and secrets to be found around every corner in Ireland. Contact Specialized Travel Services to explore the beautiful landscapes of Ireland at the peak of summer, when the land is alive with life and greenery, and the joy within nature abounds.
Have a wander through Ireland’s Ancient East carpeted by scenic landscapes, historic sights and idyllic towns, and framed by the Irish Sea and the River Shannon. There is lots to see and do so where you go is up to you. Bring your curiosity, a sense of adventure and get ready to make memories that will last a lifetime. Stop almost anywhere in the scenic landscape, and you’ll find proof of Ireland’s ancient past close to hand. You just need to know what to look for and our experienced driver guides will be more than happy to share their vast knowledge of Ireland with you.
Specialized Travel Services look forward to welcoming you back to the Emerald Isle when the time is right. Take a look at some of our private chauffeur drive tours for some inspiration and to keep the travel fire burning!
There are so many special places to go here and our “Gift of Ireland” gift certificates allow you to choose your own customized vacation in Ireland. They are valid for 5 years from date of purchase and there is flexibility to use our gift certificates for any of our travel services, including escorted tours, private group tours, accommodation, airport transfers, attractions, a round of golf, or a medieval castle banquet ….. The list is endless. To plan your Ireland vacation of a lifetime contact Specialized Travel Services by completing the Contact form or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Featured image at the top of the blog is of the Hill of Tara, Co. Meath © Macmillan Media
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