Knocknarea is a large hill west of Sligo town in County Sligo, Ireland. The 327-metre high limestone hill is visually striking, as it is monolithic in appearance and stands in a prominent position on the Cúil Irra peninsula between the bays of Sligo and Ballysadare.
Knocknarea dominates the skyline of west Sligo and is well known for its huge flat topped cairn which is believed to be the resting place of the legendary Queen Maeve of Connacht. The tomb has been classified as a Neolithic passage tomb and is estimated to be the largest in Ireland outside of the Boyne Valley measuring some 55 meters across and 10 meters in height. A large number of hut sites have also been found. This is a very rewarding climb with spectacular views in all directions, including the Ox Mountains, Lough Gill, and Slieve League in Donegal and on a clear day Croagh Patrick in the west.
Take the neatly paved path from the car park. The walk to the summit of the mountain takes an average of 40 to 45 minutes. Once you reach the top there lies the cairn of Queen Maeve of Connacht. The cairn is about 10 metres high and is visible for miles around. It has not been excavated, but it is thought to cover a passage tomb similar to that of Heapstown Cairn. Queen Maeve and Knocknarea Mountain are mentioned in several of Yeats’ poems and are of keen interest in Irish myth. There are spectacular views around County Sligo.
Always take care when climbing rugged or mountainous areas. For further information contact the tourist office.