Kerbstones on the south side of the great mound at Dowth. 15 of the kerbstones have art on them, while others are still buried, especially around the north side of the mound.
The Boyne Valley
Sites A and B
Sites K and L
The stone circle
Art - The Entrance Stone
The Newgrange henge
The Newgrange Cursus
Article by Tom Ray
The Great Mound at Knowth
The East Passage
The West Passage
Satellites 3 - 5
Satellites 6 - 8
Satellites 9 - 12
Satellites 13 - 15
Satellites 16 - 18
The chambers at Dowth
Art at Dowth
Dowth is said to be the oldest of the three great cairns in the Boyne Valley and is a truely fascinating site. The highest of the three monuments, the top of the mound is 87m above sea level. Dowth sits on the west end of a long ridge 2 km east of Newgrange. The mound has never been excavated properly, and has suffered a lot of damage over the years from various 'rude' excavations, one of which has left a huge crater in the top of the mound. Like the other two massive mounds in the Boyne Valley, it probably dates to around 3,500 - 3,200 BC.
A watercolour of Dowth by Gabriel Beranger in 1775. The mound appears to have been the tallest of the three big cairns, and has Lord Netterville's tea house sitting on the summit in the illustration. Today the site has a gaping crater where is was extensively quarried.
Dowth is mentioned several times in the annals and in various myths such as the Ulster Cycle, where Cuchulainn come to Dowth and fights a giant, one of three brothers in the river.
The Irish name for Dowth is Dubad, which means 'Darkness'. In the mythology of the Boyne Valley, Dowth is the Brú of the Druid Bresal, who is attempting to build a great tower which could reach up to the heavens. Bresal employs all the men of Ireland to build the tower in a single day, and to this end his sister casts an enchantment that the sun will not set until the tower is complete.
plan of Dowth from 1969 survey by Claire and Michael O'Kelly. The mound
ia about 90 meters in diameter.
The cairn is of similar dimensions to Newgrange being about 85m in diameter and 15m high. It is bounded by a kerb of up to 100 stones, some 15 of which are engraved. The site is somewhat dishevelled and neglected - the mound was extensively quarried in the past and there is great crater at the centre, the result of an excavation in the last centuary. The illustration by Gabriel Beranger in 1775 shows the cairn with nearly twice the volume of stones present today, with Lord Netterville's summer house perched at the top. The kerb is covered by mound slip in many places, and the original entrance to the North chamber is buried in the ajoining field to the west.
A photo of the mound of Dowth from the 1960's. Taken from Newgrange, the book by Michael O'Kelly.
The site has not been excavated yet, though the National Monuments Service purchased the site in 1998 and are planning to begin work on the mound in the near future. There are several monuments nearby: two small ruined chambered mounds lie to the east, and beyond them is a massive henge type enclosure, one of the largest in Ireland. To the south west of Dowth are three chambered mounds in a line, two circular and one long mound which may be related in form and structure to Cairn E at Carrowkeel.
The Great mound of Dowth. This photo was taken about 2002, before the OPW cleared scrub from the mound. There is a huge crater in the east side where the mound was used as a quarry. The engravings from kerbstone 51, the Stone of the Seven Suns are pasted into the sky.