Fourknocks ridge from the air

Fourknocks ridge from the air

Irish passage-tombs are generally built on mountains, hills, ridges and upland areas. The small but very impressive Neolithic monument of Fourknocks, in County Meath, is a good example of this.

This aerial photo of Fourknocks shows quite dramatically how it is situated on the western end of a long east-west ridge in southern Meath. The ridge is about 2 miles (3km) in length and there are a number of other recorded monuments along its highest parts, including a second small mound close to Fourknocks.

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Drones are proving to be an excellent tool for archaeological research and reconnaissance. I have never seen an image of Fourknocks like this, from the west looking east towards the Irish Sea, so decided to rectify that deficiency myself with my DJI Mini 2 drone.

Aerial view of Fourknocks mound

The views from Fourknocks are impressive. From the top of the mound, one can see Slieve Gullion to the north (with Ireland's highest passage-tomb on its top), as well as the Cooley and Mourne Mountains. The Irish Sea is visible to the east, and the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains (The Great Sugarloaf is a particularly noticeable peak) to the south. Although there are trees blocking the view to the west, the hills of Garristown (Rath Esa) Tara (seat of the High Kings) and Loughcrew (Slieve na Calliagh) would all be visible.

Fascinatingly, the passage of the great monument of Síd in Broga (Newgrange) at Brú na Bóinne points to Fourknocks, although neither mound is visible from the other due to intervening hills. Archaeologist P.J. Hartnett, who excavated Fourknocks in 1951, says it was built by the same people who built the Brú na Bóinne monuments.

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1 comment

Sea view is a key feature of Fourknocks, seen first from road overlooking entire coast, it oversees all activity from there; great photo, making wider context clear!

Una Sheehan

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