In 1968, six years after excavation of the Knowth site began; Professor George Eogan, with flashlight in hand, stood trembling and exhilarated in the large cruciform chamber at the heart of the ancient Megalithic tomb.

He and his colleagues had entered the mound for the first time that day. They walked almost forty feet up the passage before progress became difficult. Near the end of the passage Prof Eogan saw a void, and crawled into it, disappearing into the darkness.

He emerged into another passage and was able to walk the length of it. Flashing his lamp around he was amazed to discover an expansive void several meters below his feet, and a massive stone ceiling over twenty feet above his head. With great excitement and without caution, Prof. Eogan leaped into the darkness to the void below. In so doing he leaped thousands of years into Irelands rich and mysterious Megalithic past.

The last people to see that same chamber had departed the site (and life) many centuries before. Now, in 1968, breathless with exhilaration, Prof George Eogan once more bred life into the The Great Mound at Knowth; bring to light an almost forgotten and important part of Ireland’s and Europe’s ancient heritage.

Age And Location Of Knowth

Knowth mound is located in County Meath, Ireland, close to the village of Donore and near the South bank of the River Boyne. It is positioned Northwest of Newgrange and aligned on a minor lunar standstill North 56 degress west at a distance of 1.3 kilometres..

The two passages, Eastern and Western sides, lead into the mound and are aligned with sunrise and sunset at the equinox. Knowth, combined with its neighbouring megalithic mounds (Dowth & Newgrange) was built to a precise astrological plan. Many of the carved stones have been identified as sun or lunar maps or calendars and reveal a people with extensive knowledge and understanding of astrology.

Radiocarbon dating of the Knowth mound dates its construction over five millennia ago to approximately 3500 BC; making it the oldest building in Europe. The wealth of stone-engraved artwork discovered within the Knowth passage mound comprises a quarter of Europe’s megalithic stone artwork.

A total of eighteen satellite tombs were discovered around the great mound and other artefacts including evidence of flint use, pottery and dwells were unearthed in the vicinity and are dated back to 4000 BC to the early Neolithic period.

The construction of Knowth mound required exact planning and large-scale cooperation of the prehistoric inhabitants over an extensive area and period of time. The mound is probably a magical dwelling place of an Irish deity and would have been held in the highest regard as a sacred site by the prehistoric Irish population.

Since 1993 Knowth is a designated World Heritage Site (UNESCO). Access to the site is by guided tour only. Guided Tours of Knowth are from April to October. Contact the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre at +353 (0) 41 988 0305 for more details.


The Puck Fair Festival In Kilorglin

Killorglin, Co. Kerry is the venue for one of the oldest and definitely most unusual festivals in Ireland. The festival is held every year in early August for three days, when King Puck is honoured over three raucous, wild and amusing days and nights.

Before the festival begins, a group of people go up into the mountains and catch a wild billy-goat, the goat is then brought back to the town and the Queen of Puck Fair, who is a sixth class student form Scoil Mhuire, Killorglin crowns him ‘King Puck’. The goat is then placed in a cage and hauled up high over the town and the festival commences. The most common story relating to the origins of King Puck, relates that while Cromwell’s roundheads were pillaging neighbouring villages, they routed a herd of goats, the billy goat or ‘puck’ broke away and headed towards Killorglin. His arrival in the town, soaked with sweat and exhausted alerted the townspeople to the coming danger and gave them time to protect themselves and their stock.

Another legend relating to the festival details that an Act of British Parliament empowered the Lord Lieutenant in Dublin to make an order making it unlawful to levy tolls at horse, cattle or sheep fairs. Tolls in Killorglin were collected by Mr. Harman Blennerhassett. He enlisted the services of the young Daniel O’Connell who directed Blennerhassett to hold a goat fair as goats were not covered by the legislation. Thus the fair was held with a goat hauled high over the town to show to all that the fair was indeed a goat fair. Blennerhassett collected his tolls and the town gained a king.

Nowadays the festival contains a very comprehensive list of events which includes a horse fair, cattle fair, traditional Irish music sessions in countless taverns and on stands in the town, Irish set dancing, street performers and national and international acts on stage trucks around the town.

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source:

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