Knockroe Passage Tomb is unique due to its two chambers
Crowds are expected to gather on the shortest day of the year to watch the sun set at Knockroe, on the borders of Kilkenny and Tipperary near the village of Ahenny, at this year’s Winter Solstice on December 21.
Nestled in the Lingaun Valley in the foothills of Sliabh na mBan, Knockroe Passage Tomb, known locally as ‘the Caiseal’, is unique due to its two chambers capturing both the sunrise and the sunset during the Winter Solstice.
Constructed by the first farmers, Knockroe Passage Tomb is part of a large collection of interconnected megalithic sites in the area, including Bawnfree, the Kilmacoliver Stone Circle, and the cairn on Slievenamon. Along with the two chambers with a dual solar alignment, archaeologists have uncovered the greatest collection of megalithic art outside County Meath.
This year the sun rises at approximately 8.40am to light up the eastern chamber signalling the start of the shortest day of the year.
The setting sun lights up the western chamber at approximately 3.40pm, illuminating the stones decorated by our ancestors over 5,000 years ago.
Professor Muiris Ó Súilleabháin, UCD School of Archaeology, who excavated the site in the 1990s, will give a talk before the evening solstice.
Information will also be available at the site about Knockroe and other sites of interest in the Lingaun Valley region.
Light refreshments, sponsored by Marty’s Pantry, Café West, Supervalu Carrick-on-Suir, Iverk Produce, Kilkieran Cottage Restaurant and Kilkenny County Council will be available at the morning and evening solstice, and volunteers from the Caiseal Conservation Committee and the Suir Valley Environmental Group will be on hand to help with parking.
Visitors are advised to arrive at least half an hour before the sun sets at 3.40pm to allow time to park and walk to the passage tomb site. Wellies are also advised.