Rathcroghan – Bringing Ireland’s Past and Legends to Life
Rathcroghan (Cruachan Aí), is the oldest and largest unexcavated Royal Site in Europe. It is known as the Sacred Capital of Connacht, and is the location where the festival of Samhain (Halloween) is said to originate. Experience Rathcroghans rich archaeology, mythology and history through our interpretive rooms and expertly guided tours of this majestic landscape. The Rathcroghan Visitor Centre is home to our interpretative rooms and museum, and is located in the medieval village of Tulsk, Co. Roscommon.
The Rathcroghan landscape boasts over 240 identified archaeological sites, contained within an area of 6.5km², which range in date from the Neolithic Period or New Stone Age (c. 3500 BC), through to the late Medieval period, spanning a staggering period of over 5,500 years. It is the location of some 28 identified burial mounds from the Bronze and Iron Age, numerous ringforts (settlement sites) of early Medieval date, standing stones, linear earthworks, stone forts, a great Iron Age ritual sanctuary, and even a Gate to Hell! In truth, an archaeologist’s dream.
Tread across Rathcroghans ancient landscape, in the footsteps of the great warrior Queen Medb, who ruled all of Connacht from her home here at Rathcroghan. Listen to the epic tale of the Táin Bó Cuailnge, featuring a host of legendary heroes including Medb herself, the Battle Goddess Mórrígan, Connacht warrior Fráoch, and the boy hero Cú Chulainn, whose names and deeds are inextricably linked to the landscape that surrounds Rathcroghan.
Experience the legendary Oweynagat (Cave of the Cats), described as Ireland’s “Gate to Hell” and entrance to the Otherworld by fearful Christian scribes. Climb to the top of the majestic and enigmatic Rathcroghan Mound, which in the Iron Age was impressively topped with wooden ramparts and ceremonial henges, and whose secret heart remains an untouched mystery.
- B S
The staff was super friendly and helpful; they come across as being very fond of their centre in a nice way. We didn't even have the time to do a guided tour of the complete site as we were just passing through, yet Elaine explained...More
Being from Louth I'm obviously team Cúchulainn 😁, but I have to concede that Rathcroghan is a fascinating place. Mike took me on a tour to the mouth of hell and back. He had a wealth of knowledge about the facts and the fiction of...More
Our tour guide Mike McCarthy took us to Rathcroghan Mound, and to the Oweynagat Cave of the Cats. His knowledge of history and mythology was mesmerizing. His kindness and encouragement was inspiring. Entering into the Cave with Mike was exhilarating! We all felt reborn when...More
- Blythe K
We drove out here from Westport on a rainy day and took the tour with Michael. Michael proved to be a great tour guide and great storyteller and we really enjoyed ourselves. I have read the Tain, but my parents knew nothing of the history...More
We drove for several hours to get to the centre, looking forward to a tour, only be told in an unfriendly manner “we don’t go out in this weather.” It wasn’t even raining - more like a gentle mist. They cited health and safety concerns...More
- Ciara C
Really enjoyed this visit. Information is presented in a variety of videos and wall boards. Great artefacts on display. Nice focus on Queen Meabh and the Táin. Personal touch from the owner who talked us through some of the displays and was there to answer...More
I thoroughly enjoyed my few hours in the visitors centre in Tulsk and the Royal Site a few kilometres up the road at Rathcroghan. The visitors centre is staffed by wonderfully helpful and knowledgeable people, only too happy to talk to you about the site...More
- Steve B
I got up early the morning of May 9th and researched things to do in the area and thought it looked interesting. I love mythology, mixed with a bit of truth. We got in just a few minutes before 2. Mike was kind enough to...More
I was somewhat skeptical about stopping in and taking this tour. I WAS WRONG! Our tour guide, Michael was wonderful. He has so much knowledge of the area and Irish mythology and shares it in a most delightful way. He has a great way of...More