Court cairns like the one at Carrowkeel, Co. Sligo are almost exclusively found in the northern part of Ireland, with large concentrations in northern Connaught and across southern Ulster. Over 350 court cairns have been recognized to date.
They are generally recognizable as a long mound of stones, with a forecourt at one end leading into a long and often subdivided chamber. Considerable variations on this basic scheme are known.
Cremation burials have been associated with court cairns, but it is not clear whether their primary function was that of a place of burial. It is worth knowing that court cairns are never grouped together like cemeteries, and in their isolation, may have served as the focal cult center for a scattered population.