• Ali Isaac

Heapstown Cairn

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

Heapstown Cairn is located near Castlebaldwin in County Sligo, and is a passage tomb 60 metres in diameter and 6 metres high. It is the largest monument of its kind outside of the Boyne Valley. It is believed to have once been much bigger, but much of it was removed through the ages, and used to build walls and roads. Most of the limestone kerbstones are still visible around its base.

A drawing by George Petrie in 1837 shows a standing stone on its summit, but this has long since disappeared.

It is said that the cairn covers a well that possessed special healing powers. The Tuatha de Danann used this well to heal their warriors during the Second Battle of Moytura, so that they were fit, healthy and strong enough to return to the fight.

Their enemies, the Fomori, took boulders from the River Drowse and threw them into the well until eventually a huge cairn covered the pool, thus preventing the Danann from using it.

heapstown crossroads

Heapstown Cairn is associated with the Battle of Moytura, and is thought to be the site of the legendary Well of Healing in which the Danann revived their wounded warriors every night ready for battle again the next morning.

Gate at Heapstown Cairn

As can be seen from the picture above, the cairn can be readily accessed and is free to visit.