Rathcroghan Visitor Centre

Rathcroghan Visitor Centre

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.

Exploring the monuments

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.

Tulsk statue

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.

7 thoughts on “Rathcroghan Visitor Centre

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  1. Very surprised they could not find someone to accompany you down the cave. You do need to go with someone, though, as the rough stone steps going down can be slippy so you need someone with you in case there is an accident. I’ve never heard of anyone having an accident there but the precaution is wise.

    Worth going in as its like a cathedral deep inside, but make sure you have a change of clothes. I always get covered in mud all over each time I go in.

    While there. it is also worth calling on Davey Patton who lives in the bungalow beside the cave. He makes re-creations of ancient harps such as the Queen Anne and Brian Boru harps and he makes harps with bog oak. He generally has one or two in the house and does not mind visitors having a look. Very sociable man.

  2. Hopefully if I get over again I’ll get in there. I didn’t have a change of clothes so it was probably just as well.

    Davey Patton sounds like an interesting man. Thanks for the information.

    1. Also worth having a look at Rathra, the multi henge circle near Castlerea while over that way too. I’m sure the centre told you about it and showed aerial pics.

      Just remembered, on my way there, or that area, I sometimes pass through Monasteraden. A few years ago their beautiful Attracta’s well was smashed in by a fallen telephone pole and it seemed the village had no interest in restoring it. It was a popular watering hole for travellers for one.

      As I drove past to get my car repaired in Ballaghdereen, a few days ago, I glimpsed over and saw it has been restored now, but I was late for my car repair and could not stop. My way home was via Frenchpark and Boyle to see people so I still have not seen what work has been done on that well. I will make a special trip next week I think.

      Worth seeing as I am so upset with what has been done with St. Laziar’s outside Keadue. By trying to make it ‘tidy’, evidence of a lot of traditions have beentotally erased. I just hope that has not happened at Attracta’s well. I am a huge holy wells fan as well as native forests fan 🙂

      1. I know what you mean about St. Laziar’s I saw it some years ago and it was beautiful. I stopped by it a few weeks ago and it’s changed totally. I didn’t know about the one in Monasteraden so if I’m over that way again I’ll have a look.

        I don’t think I’ve ever been to Castlerea so that’s another one to bear in mind 🙂

      2. If you are at the Attracta’s Well Monasteraden, the Cloghan Iron Age Fort and Souterrain is very close by and not far from there the Four Alters. If you go to Cloghan, have wellies as its sometimes very boggy getting to it but not boggy inside it.

        If you are Keash way do visit our thatched cottage and tree labyrinth, 4 km from Keash towards Boyle. On the way is a beautiful spring holy well too 🙂

      3. We have a Bards In The Labyrinth Day tomorrow here, but with the weather forecast as it is I think it will be Bards By The Hearth instead 🙂

      4. We have a Bards In The Labyrinth afternoon tomorrow here, but with the weather forecast as it is I think it will be Bards By The Hearth instead 🙂

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