Dowth is the least visited of the Passage Tombs of the Boyne Valley Complex (Bru na Boinne) and is not part of the tour from the Bru na Boinne visitor centre. Dowth is similar in size to the two other great passage tombs of this megalithic complex, Newgrange and Knowth. Dowth has two tombs, the entrance to these tombs are both situated on the Western perimeter, the largest of these tombs, Dowth North has a passage approximately 27 feet long, leading to a cruciform chamber. The other tomb, Dowth South also on the western side has a single side chamber off a large circular chamber. These chambers are closed to the public at the present time.

The picture right shows the entrance to Dowth South, the smaller tomb. Outside the entrance you can see a large kerbstone protruding from the ground. This kerbstone has cup marks and is inscribed with spiral motifs. I personally think it is a shame this kerbstone is left in this condition.
The image on the left was taken from inside the chamber of the smaller tomb looking out over the sill stone towards the entrance. The smaller tomb at Dowth is aligned to the setting sun at winter solstice which also indicates the longest night of the year, the period of greatest darkness, Dowth is known as the house of darkness, also the Irish name for Dowth is Dubhadh which means 'Darkness'
The picture right shows the kerbstone numbered 51, this stone is inscribed with seven solar symbols, six of which are enclosed in a circle. This rock art is quite weathered but can still be clearly seen in the right lighting conditions. Shown in the image below is a close up of one of these sun symbols with another sun motif in the top left of this image, these kerbstones on the northern side are now protected by rather crude fencing.

The photograph below was taken facing north and shows the kerbstones encircling the tomb on the eastern side of the mound, some of these kerbstones are decorated with rock art but due to weathering maost of the motifs are quite difficult to see.

The image bottom left was taken from the top of the mound looking towards Newgrange. If you do visit Newgrange or Knowth then I recommend you take the time to visit this wonderful megalithic tomb.

Folklore: The Druid Bresal tried to build a mound that would reach up to heaven and agreed to pay the workers one days pay, his sister cast a spell so the sun would not set till the job was finished, but Bresal committed incest with his sister and the spell was broken and the sun set before completion of the mound. Bresals sister announced that from that day the mound would be known as Dubad (Darkness).

Newgrange from Dowth

Situated: Dowth is situated in the Bru na Boinne complex approx one and a half miles North East of Newgrange, from Slane take the N51 East towards Drogheda, after about 5 kilometres you will see a sign for Newgrange take a right here, drive to the end and turn left, then take another sign-posted left, approximately 1 kilometre down this road on your right is the great tomb at Dowth.

Discovery Map 43. O 024 738. Last visit April 2008.

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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