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.
- Christa N
Standing on the site of such an important and pivotal place in Ireland's ancient history was a humbling experience. Add to that the incredible care taken by the knowledgeable ... read more
- Ann H
The visitors center here is built with nothing but what tourists can buy. However, the food and gift shop was quite good. It was a good place to relax after... read more
Visited this interpretive centre and site on the way back from Sligo. Very impressed with the centre - it is small but very well designed and has something for... read more
My husband, 3 and 5 year old visited Rathcroghan visitor centre last Saturday. We had a fantastic day there. The centre itself has a nicely sized museum with lots of... read more
Excellent tour with Mike our guide highly recommended went down into the cave of cats the birthplace of Halloween. Superb stories so well told managed to keep my 6 and... read more
Tuesday morning. We had a wonderful Irish breakfast at the lovely cafe in the centre. I booked the guided tour for 12 noon the next day. Arrived at 11.30 am... read more
We spent several hours with our guide, Elaine, who was incredibly knowledgeable about Celtic history and folklore. It was fun to begin our trip to Ireland by learning so much... read more
- Alison R
This Visitors Centre is a real find for anyone interested in the Celts and the Iron Age or generally any aspect of Ireland's rural heritage. I was so impressed with... read more
This site is nominated as a Unesco World Heritage Site for a reason. This is the epicenter of the greatest oral epic in Irish History - Ireland's equivalent of the... read more
Our visit to Rathcroghan combined myth, history and archeology to provide a wonderful appreciation of this exceptional site. Our guide, Mike, gave us a lively account of the Táin and... read more