Banner: Knocknarea at Sunset.
The fine dolmen at Cloghcor at the end of the Magherow peninsula to the north of County Sligo. The view is to a hazy Benbulben in the east.

Cloghcor portal dolmen

This fine dolmen is found on the summit of a drumlin near the end of the Magherow peninsula, to the west of north County Sligo. The dolmen is in an unusual location: typically they are found in sheltered locations, usually in a valley near a stream. The Cloghcor dolmen commands fine views of the surrounding countryside, especially to the south, where Knocknarea and Queen Maeve's Cairn stand out across Drumcliffe Bay.

The collection of quern stones found near Cloghcor dolmen. They are now in the National Museum.

The monument consists of two massive portal stones, each more than three meters high. The stones are of an ingeous rock, perhaps gneiss, and have many fine veins of quartz crystals running through them.

The colossal capstone of the Cloghcor dolmen.
The colossal capstone of the Cloghcor dolmen.

The massive sandstone capstone has slid backwards off the portals, and now lies behind them. When complete it would have been a truely imposing monument, highly visible from many miles around. Leo Leyden, the landowner is an enthusiastic archaeologist and has found many monuments walking the local landscape. A collection of quernstones he has found have been donated to the National Museum.

Cloghcor dolmen from an illustration in Dolmens of Ireland.
Cloghcor dolmen from an illustration in Dolmens of Ireland.

Recently, an exciting discovery was made at the dolmen. At sunrise on the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, the sun emerges from the cliffs of Kingsmountain on the northern side of the Glencar valley. This is a spectacular visual alignment, especially as portal dolmens generally do not exhibit astronomical orientations.

There are two other megaliths in the area: the central court in the filed near Maugherow church, a few hundred meters to the north, and a largely ruined, unclassified monument near the shore not far to the east. The impressive promontory fort at Knocklane is close by.

The impressive cliff-edge fort at Knocklane in County Sligo. Knocknarea is visible across the bay.