Volunteers repairing Slieve Gullion Passage Tomb

Slieve Gullion Cairn got your help! The ancient cairn on the summit of Slieve Gullion was in need of repairs as a result of the accidental damage caused by the thousands of visitors to the site each year. The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership, part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), had appealed for volunteers to help with the restoration of the Passage Tomb on the summit of Slieve Gullion, and lots of people showed up.

At around 5000 years old, the Passage Tomb on the summit of Slieve Gullion is one of the oldest in Britain and Ireland. It was built by Neolithic (New Stone Age) people, possibly to honour their ancestors and be closer to their gods. The passage is aligned to the setting sun of the Winter Solstice (shortest day), so that as the sun sets, the light shines down the passage and lights up the back of the chamber.

Over the last few years the cairn has begun to show signs of damage due to its increased popularity. The passage into the cairn was slowly becoming blocked with loose stones, as visitors made their way from the summit markers down the steep slope to the passage entrance.

Under the guidance and supervision of Martin Keery, Inspector of Historical Monuments for NIEA, volunteers helped protect the cairn by removing and redistributing the stones from the passage.

Check out this article and video by Conor Macauley BBC NI Agriculture & Environment Correspondent on the the volunteer day –