5 Reasons Why Fourknocks is better than Newgrange

The Fourknocks Passage tomb dates back 5000 years ago to the Neolithic period. While less well-known compared to Newgrange, there are aspects of Fourknocks that make it better and worth a trip.

Fourknocks comes from the Irish term, “Fuair Cnocs” meaning “Cold Hills”. Its unique pear-shaped design features a wide central chamber with distinctive carvings. Rediscovered in the 1950’s, the tomb yielded human remains, pottery fragments, and other artifacts consistent with Neolithic funerary practices.

Visiting Fourknocks requires retrieving the key from a nearby house, so you can unlock the steel door to the tomb. Let’s see what awaits:

Tue, Aug 8: Meath, Ireland

zigzag rock carving near front part of tomb
As you enter the Fourknocks tomb, there’s a rock carved with a heavy zig-zag pattern.

Fourknocks has no lines or crowds compared to Newgrange

Most visitors to Dublin aren’t aware of Fourknocks, and some of those that do, don’t want to bother with getting the key beforehand. This means there are no tickets or lines to deal with. When we got there there were a couple of people who were hanging around the site, but did not get the key.

Fourknocks has a greater variety of carvings

There are carved faces at Fourknocks, which is rare among passage tombs. There are also zig zags, circles, and diamonds all in this one tomb. One face, doesn’t look quite human. You be the judge.

A face-like carving in the Fourknocks tomb
Some say this lower rock carving is a human face. To me it looks reptilian, like a turtle.
leonardo, the blue teenage mutant ninja turtle
Leonardo, the Blue Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

You can touch the stones at Fourknocks Tomb

At Newgrange, there are ropes to keep you from getting too close to the chambers. They don’t allow photos in the Newgrange tomb — annoying. At Fourknocks, you can respectfully inspect the chambers and take all the photos you want.

No buses or chaperones at Fourknocks

The only way to see Newgrange is through their guided tours that involves long walks, hopping on a bus to get to the sites, and a strict schedule. At Fourknocks you can take your time, reflect at your own pace, and not have a chaperone watching your every move. This lets you feel the energy of the site in peace.

Fourknocks is among scenic surroundings

The area around Fourknocks is a rural countryside with wheat and barley fields. It’s an immersive view of the Irish countryside. There were blackberry vines, providing for a free snack, on the path to Fourknocks.

But… The dark secret of Fourknocks

All is not perfect at the Fourknocks Passage Tomb, despite the five reasons why it is better than Newgrange. Under the grass covered roof of the mound is concrete that was poured back in the 1950’s as part of a restoration and conservation effort. The original roof, made from large stone slabs had collapsed long ago.

While purists do not like the concrete, it was a necessary compromise for the safety of visitors and to preserve the site for future generations. As a bonus, There are holes placed strategically in the roof to provide natural lighting into the tomb.

Getting to Fourknocks

Here’s the Google Maps location of Fourknocks so you can plan your trip there.

map to fourknocks
Map to Fourknocks

Go ahead and compare Fourknocks to the Newgrange Passage Tomb Tour and compare and contrast for yourself. What are your thoughts about the Fourknocks Passage Tomb? Let us know in the comments below.

Part of the ToursByLocals Ancient Ireland Tour

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