As part of my Wild Atlantic Wayfarer I paid a visit to the Rathcroghan Visitor Centre in County Roscommon. The centre is modern and welcoming with interpretive rooms, a gift shop and what looked like a great cafe. If you visit when Mike is there he will tell you all about the place and it’s clear that he is passionate and enthusiastic about the vast history in Rathcroghan.
Rathcroghan Visitor Centre has focused on interpreting human interaction in Roscommon and Ireland through all the phases of Irish Archaeology. Rathcroghan boasts evidence of Ireland’s first farmers (4000 B.C-2500 B.C) through to the early modern period, when it served as an inauguration site for O’Conor chieftains.
There are two films that are shown in the centre so not only will you find out all about the various monument types located at Rathcroghan, you will also find out about the Cattle Raid of Cooley (The Táin). What struck me most was the life story of Queen Maeve, now I knew a bit about her before but on watching one of the films I found out she was killed by a piece of cheese! Strange but possibly true!
As is usually the case I picked the only day of the week to visit when there are no tours of the sites around the centre taking place but it was fine because Mike told me where to go and I went off exploring by myself. Well I say by myself but there were a few onlookers.
I would really have liked to go inside Oweynagat Cave or the ‘Cave of Cats’ which is located at Rathcroghan but this is only done with a tour guide. The cave is said to be the entrance to the ‘other world’ and the home of Halloween (as it originated from Ireland), where all the creatures and spirits used to come from. I really hope to see inside it one day.
So that was my day in Rathcroghan, a very interesting place and well worth a visit. Thanks to Mike for his help. You can find out more about the visitor centre here.