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The Baltinglass Hill

Baltinglass Hill is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites consisting of what many believe to be an ancient observatory, a ruined stone circle, and structures which up until recently were called ‘tombs’ but are now much more likely to be ceremonial sites aligning the earth to the stars. Currently, Baltinglass lies exposed and mostly unexplored, particularly the satellite stones and ruins which up until recently were covered by woodland. Thus, the potential connections to visually aligned nearby sites remain ignored, so the purpose and ritual significance of the chosen landscape is still a mystery.

The site is next to Coolinarrig and is located in Wicklow, Leinster, Ireland. It comprises remains of 3 small passage-tombs built at different times and partly-overlying each other, plus two single-chambered tombs. In the circular chamber of the latest passage-tomb is a large stone basin decorated with a double-armed cross within a cartouche. Some of the roofstones of its narrow passage survive.

The ruins of the passage tomb reveal a complex multi-period construction of three chambers and two later cist burials. The substantial circular wall surrounding it is a later addition, almost certainly built using stone taken from the cairn of the great tomb.

The passage widens into a chamber area where an enormous granite basin stone is partially protected by the single remaining capstone. To the south there is a more ruinous cruciform chamber in which some of the stones bear carvings of spirals and circles. On the western side there is the remains of a corbeled passage and chamber.

Surrounding the chambers are three or more circles of kerbstones which are not concentric. Some of the kerbstones also bear carved decoration.

It’s not clear which parts of the passage tomb were built first but the main use of the tomb was likely to have been centered around the centuries c3,300-3,200BCE. There is recent dating evidence for use of the hilltop centuries earlier but the report on these dates has yet to be published.


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