Ancient Sites | Dowsing | Ritual

Rathcroghan – Seat of Kings

June 7, 2012

In the previous episodes of my Ireland Ancestor Quest, (Carrowkeel, Kilronan Abbey, Lassair’s Well, Lough Key and Boyle Abbey), I had learned that I would need to fight for the privilege to acquire the ancestor energies of my family. I sort of had to “fight for the right” and the right I would win would be to keep my ancestor’s energies. I suspected this would involve various stages of preparation and so I looked to the ancestral sites around the area of Tulsk to get myself ready for this encounter.

Tulsk seemed like an interesting place. It had a visitor centre called Cruachan Ai that seemed dedicated to talking about the many megalithic sites in the area, and the web site mentioned a modern druid school that did some teaching at the centre. Of course, this made me interested in visiting. A visitor centre with druidic links that was in the heartland of my ancestral region? It promised much.

The visitor centre was wonderful. The was so much packed into the small space – a cafe, a book and gift shop, an audio-visual presentation, and a series of exhibits and information boards that gave the history and archaeology of the various mounds and caves in the area. After spending an hour or so in there we had a pretty good picture of which sites in the area we could get to and which might be difficult so we put about four or five sites on our agenda for this day.

Little did I realise at the time that this day would see the eventual psychic battle that had been foreseen in the vision at Carrowkeel. Here is the story of how that battle was prepared for.

The first place I became interested in as we walked around the centre was the Rathcroghan mound (or ringfort). I have a problem with designating these mounds collectively as ring forts. I understand why this label may be useful in an archaeological sense, but it is my experience that the psychic impressions and the dowsable history of such places are always far more revealing, and rarely does the information correlate with the idea of the space being a military establishment. If the fort is considered in the more general sense of a protected space or a sacred space that may once have been enclosed then such appellations can be tolerated.

Rathcroghan (Irish: Ráth Cruachan, meaning “ringfort of Cruachan”) is a complex of archaeological sites near Tulsk in County Roscommon, Ireland. It is identified as the site of Cruachan, the traditional capital of the Connachta. While it is debatable whether this was a place of residence, it had huge importance as a cemetery and also hosted some of the main ritual gatherings in ancient times. It is an important site in Irish mythology, in particular as the seat of Ailill and Medb, king and queen of the Connachta in the Ulster Cycle. It is the setting for the opening section of the Táin Bó Cúailnge and the Táin Bó Flidhais. (source: Wikipedia)

I was particularly interested in the association with Queen Maeb. I had come across the spirit of Maeb in England, now I was encountering her historical or mythical presence here in Ireland too. In England she was “Queen Mab” and I had met her when looking for a stone circle in the complex of cairns and mounds at Priddy, close to the Cheddar Gorge in the county of Somerset. Here again, in a complex of large circular earthworks, there was an association with this name.

The Feast of Queen Maeb

Another interesting association of the sacred mounds in the area was the battle between the warriors of the brown bull and the white bull – a tale known in the Ulster Cycle of tales as ‘The Cattle Raid of Cooley‘. Obviously, Ireland being a large agricultural area with a strong basis and history in cattle and livestock trading there were going to be some stories about battles over land and livestock, yet that was just the framework that held the stories together.

For me the important element was the symbolic use of colour – I have seen many occasions where two opposing colours have been fighting. Here it was the “brown” and white (although the brown cows are more ginger, and one could say, red). In Welsh mythology Merlin watched the battle of the white and red dragons at Dinas Emrys. I saw similarities between the two epic tales of the movement of power between male and female alignments.

Rathcroghan – The Seat of Kings

I keep calling Rathcroghan ‘The Seat of Kings’ because it was the mythological seat of King Ailill and Queen Maeb. I suspect that many others down the line used it for the same purpose – as a symbolic seat of power. We drove the few short miles down the road east out of Tulsk village and looked for signs for the rath. There were none! Only by chance did I happen to spot what looked like it might be a car park and pulled into it at the last second. Before us was the raised earthwork of Rathcroghan. We double-checked our maps – yes, this must be it. It was only when we got out of the car and looked at the faded information board that we knew were were probably in the right place!

I was eager to walk up to it but decided to let my dowsing rods choose the right path for me. For some reason this was the start of me being very cautious about entering such sites, and making sure that I did everything correctly. Something deep inside me was telling me that I only had one chance to get this right. I asked the dowsing rods to take me on the correct energetic path to reach the spot to which I needed to go on the mound. Kal, of course, walked pretty much straight up to the mound and began dowsing around it. I, however, was taken off to one side of the mound, seemingly on a completely tangential path!

I was tramping through the lush long grass wondering where the heck I was going, when suddenly, out of the green-ness, a sight appeared the completely justified my reliance upon the dowsing rods. It was the Mevan Maeth stone. From where I had started it was completely invisible. Only by following the rods could I have found this stone, and they took me straight to it, then looped all around it to come to a spiral half way along it. I stood atop the stone at the point of the spiral and pondered the wonders that are dowsing rods. Seemingly it was correct for me to come here first.

I felt like the stone was one of those cleansing types of stones that draws down the energy from the “real” world and dissipates it harmlessly into the surrounding landscape. As I was pretty relaxed and calm already this process happened quite quickly, and I was able to ask the rods to continue the journey after a minute or two. I felt ‘clean’ and ready for the next link in the chain.

From the long recumbent stone the dowsing rods took me to a prominent triangular stone on the ridge that separated two fields – a sinewy walk of some forty yards or so. Sheep had been lounging around the stone and they scattered as I got there. Seems like cattle are really attracted to stones that give out energy. Well, this one certainly did. I stood on top of the stone and moments later I was feeling the rush and tingle of bubbling energy rising up into my body. Nice! I was being re-energised with the “local” frequency, as it were.

Straight walk to the rath now? No chance. I was taken on what can only be described as a “circuitous route” up to the entrance – an obvious break in the circular earthwork with an inclined path and some “rest” spots on either side. There lounged Kal on one of those spots, chilling and enjoying the occasional sunshine.

I asked for a power centre to use and was taken to one side of the entrance – opposite Kal – where there was a dusty hole in the grass. Here I laid out my elemental crystals.

As I stood in the crystal layout I felt like there was something for me here and my mind began to swim in a swirling formation as though I was going dizzy. I wasn’t – but the picture in my head was of my mind whirling. I asked the dowsing rods if the hill had energy still, and they practically swung to hit me the reaction was so strong. Was it the right thing to do to be here? The rods said YES. Was I supposed to get something from this place? Again YES. Was it connected with my ancestor quest? Very strong YES. The decision was made.

I then asked the rods to lead me somewhere that I could fully empower myself with the energies available in this rath, and I was taken to the very centre of the earthwork’s circular top. I took along my quartz crystal – the “spirit” element of the crystal set. As I placed the quartz crystal down I had an impulse – to dance. In my mind the steps to dance were visualised and I stood for several minutes plucking up the courage to do such an unusual act (for me).. Kal would have had no trouble. Luckily, he couldn’t see me, so I began a sort of circular dance following this movement:

Spiralling dance pattern at Rathcruachan

I had to face outwards as I spun and soon I was getting dizzy – just like the feeling I had felt some minutes earlier when I was standing in the crystal layout at the rath’s entrance. Every time I turned to face inwards I was getting a faster and faster spinning glimpse of the grass and it was producing this incredibly hypnotic pattern. I felt at once sick and full of energy! During the dance I felt I should chant the four element in turn: “Earth, air, water and fire“. I did this over and over until I fell over in a whirling sickening heap of laughter and exuberance. Madness!

It was great fun and I felt as though I had truly interacted with the forces that inhabited that place – if only for their amusement! Now that I had been energised by the elements it was time to see what the next stage in my battle preparations would be. On to the next sacred ring of earth.


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  1. Hi Gwas
    I’ve come across your blog due to some google-ing – because I’ll be visiting Ireland in a couple of days, hopefully Rathcroghan included and basically just wanted to check about the visitor center.
    I’ve vistited there a couple of years ago and prior to that *tried* visiting twice before (but always was prevented one or another way, as in *no, you’re not going there today. Longer story, I guess).
    When I read your description here I remembered that when I visited Rathcroghan I did my usual thing – walk wherever I felt going. The way didn’t lead my anywhere to Rathcroghan, but around the mound. By the time I’d come to stand behind it, the skies opened up and it rained for Ireland. For about 5 minutes. Needless to say I was soaked (well, it was summer, so never mind :)), so next thing I waded on to the left since I thought ok, I can get changed in the car, then explore some more. And left seemed the shorter way. This way I came to the Mevan Maeth stone which else I would have never found at all since I didn’t even know it existed.
    It just struck me as interesting… seems to me as this stone is the first one to visit here, before you walk on. Just an idea on my side, I’ll see how it goes this time around, in a couple of days!

    1. Hi Naurwen,

      Welcome to the site. Good to hear you’re visiting Rathcroghan again soon.

      Having only been there once I can only talk about that one experience. On that visit I was drawn to the Mevan Maeth stone as the first step on the journey around the site. For me, therefore, on that particular ‘quest’ that I was on at that time it was the right thing for me to do. Whether it is the same for all people at all times on any quest – I rather doubt that. I don’t think these sites are so simply constructed. I think the ancient sites are a complex cluster of energetic hot spots and the path between these power points can depend on many factors, making it difficult to choose a ‘right’ way for anyone before they actually visit, and they have an intention in mind.

      Would love to hear about your experiences, though. Please do post a comment once you’ve explored this interesting place again!

  2. Hi Gwas, I’m gald you had such a good time at the centre and found some of the little secrets of the monuments yourself. It always impresses me how people can connect to these sites and most of the time these connections follow a similar story. There are always people who come from different backgounds and experience the essence of Rathcroghan. There is always a slight change to the stories you hear, but there is always a grain of common ground, which alludes to the true nature of the area. Your post contains much of the essence of Rathcroghan, which I have heard from many people, sometimes with different names and connections, but as I say the real essence is always there. If it is ok with you, I would like to link to this post from our site and facebook.


    Education Development Officer
    Rathcroghan Visitors Centre
    @ Cruachan Aí
    Co. Roscommon

    1. Hello Gary,

      Very nice to hear from you. Thank you for your kind response. It’s nice to have someone’s opinion on the information who has got such a broad overview of the sites and the visitors that come to them.

      I would be delighted if you would wish to link any of the posts that relate to the area to your site or to Facebook. Please do spread the word about these fabulous monuments, and the good work you do to promote, protect and educate people about them.

      My take on the sites may strike some as quite unusual or individual, but I hope that they inspire others to at least see what these worthy places offer them in terms of the feelings and thoughts they evoke. I very much enjoyed my time in the area, and the Cruachan Aí centre was a pivotal part in that enjoyment.


  3. I’ve quite often found myself ending up dancing or singing on sacred sites (when they’ve been empty of people of course!) Sometimes powerful, joyous energies can only manifest through us by doing something physical, to express the spirit that is singing through you. Meeting with your ancestral paths, is probably one of the most profound journeys ever you’ll make, so it seems little wonder that you felt compelled to move and ground that energy 🙂

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