Above the treetops of the Clogher Valley lies Knockmany Passage Tomb, the resting place of Queen Áine, and, possibly, Queen Baine. Queen Áine, is an ancient Irish deity, a goddess, and of the Tuatha Dé Danann race. Áine has been viewed at various times as a Sun Goddess, a Moon Goddess and Queen of the fairies. She is seen as the patroness of medicine and literature, goddess of love and fertility; she had command over crops, animals and agriculture. She is also viewed as the goddess of summer, wealth and sovereignty. The tomb is also connected with Queen Baine, from where the place takes its name – Cnoc mBaine (‘the Hill of Queen Baine’). Queen Baine was the wife of the first century King Tuathal Techtmar. The monument has never been accurately dated, but it is likely to have been built sometime in the c.3000-2000BC, i.e. thousands of years before Queen Baine lived.
This is one of the great royal sites, steeped in the energy and legends of prehistoric Ireland. Given that Clogher was the centre of the Kingdom of Oriel, perhaps we should not be that surprised that this is a royal burial place. It’s remarkable to think that over 5,000 years ago, a community expended such effort to construct an elaborate tomb without the aid of mechanisation. This burial place was an important one to our ancestors. The stones of the tomb are inscribed with spirals, cups, rings and other megalithic designs that are among the finest from this period. The upright stones vary in height between 1 and 2 metres, and the mound is around 25 metres in diameter.
The world of the sidhe is here. The sidhe is described in the Book of Invasions as a parallel universe in which the aos sí walk amongst the living. In the Irish language, it means “people of the mounds”. There is a significant energy at this royal place, like stepping in and out of time. Inside the tomb itself, put your hand in front of the stones and feel the energy coming from the spirals and circles. One is a sun shape, with beautiful rays to either side of it. One of the stones feels warm to the touch, and another feels cooler. A third stone has energy which seems to be vibrating from its side. Outside, standing on top of the hill, it’s possible to feel a vortex rising from the ground, a very strong fairy, magical presence is here. A benevolent Royal Queen and her energies are still very much in evidence. It’s a great place to meditate, to relax and to feel at one with the world.
The tomb is enclosed inside a structure that has been built to protect the stones therein. It’s not aesthetically pleasing, being functional more than anything else. However, that doesn’t prevent you from glimpsing the stones and sensing the energy of the hill. (To gain access to the tomb, you’ll need to contact staff at Peatlands Park, Dungannon for the key).
It’s a bit of a walk from the car park below, but then visiting royalty was never going to be without effort! So take your time going up, take in the atmosphere of the forest and view the wildlife. After connecting with Queen Áine and making a wish, enjoy a well-earned rest; take in the wonderful views of the valley below.