Rothar Routes

Cycle routes & pilgrim journeys in Ireland and Europe …..

Winter Solstice at Knockroe

I included a visit to Knockroe Passage Tomb in my book ‘Cycling South Leinster’ on route no 28 – ‘Ollie Walshe Way’. South Kilkenny is a treasure trove of heritage sites, many of which are not sign posted, including this very important 3000BC Passage Tomb.

With today being December 21st, the Winter Solstice, I took a quick drive down to be present for when the light from the rising sun lights up the eastern Passage Tomb, as it has done since Pagan times. Of course the morning was cloudy and overcast but it did not take from the sense of occasion; the passing of the shortest day of the year; the birth of the sun. It is an occasion wrapped up in mystery and spiritual meaning.It is no surprise that the Christian Church aligned the birth of Jesus with the time of the winter solstice.

The early farmers fully understood the importance of the arrival of the sun and the potential for new growth and survival.

Those beliefs and associations are as important today as they were then. Man needs to live in harmony with the natural world.

Anyway it was a lovely visit this morning. A nice crowd gathered to celebrate and witness the occasion.

Eastern and Western Passage Tombs with solstice celebrators

A necklace of quartz stones surrounds the eastern Passage Tomb

Facing sunrise at Knockroe from above eastern Passage Tomb

Not as well known as Newgrange but there is always a nice gathering of locals and public at Knockroe

Stone decoration visible in the passage tomb – spirals on centre standing stone

Enormous amount of art work on the standing stones in the Passage Tomb

2 Responses to “Winter Solstice at Knockroe”

    • Turlough

      South Kilkenny is dotted with unheralded heritage sites; close by here is the largest concentration of high Crosses in the country. Great for exploring and very quiet


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